Recordings in Southampton taxis 'must be stopped'
Taxis in Southampton have been told to stop recording passengers' conversations.
In 2009, Southampton City Council required all taxis and private hire vehicles to have CCTV and audio recordings in cabs.
But the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has decided the policy breaches the Data Protection Act and said it was "disproportionate".
The council said it was disappointed and was taking legal advice.
Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Southampton City Council's deputy leader added: "Data is encrypted, kept very securely and only downloaded if there is a specific complaint against a driver or if the police request access in order to investigate an alleged offence.
"When we received the preliminary enforcement notice in May, the council responded to the Information Commissioner's concerns about privacy but these reassurances have not been take on board in this judgement."
An ICO spokesman said: "By requiring taxi operators to record all conversations and images while the vehicles are in use, Southampton City Council have gone too far.'Fair and lawful'
"We recognise the council's desire to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers but this has to be balanced against the degree of privacy that most people would reasonably expect in the back of a taxi cab.
"The Data Protection Act states that organisations can only collect personal data when it is fair and lawful to do so.
"For CCTV equipment in taxis, the ICO advises that images should only be recorded where it is clearly justifiable.
"Audio recordings should only be made on very rare occasions, for example where there are a high number of serious incidents and where recording is triggered due to a specific threat in a taxi cab."
An enforcement notice has been issued to the council which has until 1 November to comply.