A proposal to apply audio recording in cabs in Queensland has been lodged for public opinion by the state government.
The state government is currently working on its Queensland Taxi Strategic Plan 2010-2015, wherein it believes the installation of audio recording in cabs plying the routes of its state would lead to more security not just for the cab drivers but for the passengers as well.
Under the policy paper Taxi Security Camera Program, the proposal to use an audio and video recording, if approved, will run on a 72-hour loop.
"The camera will synchronise each audio recording made with the image to which it relates. The audio will be stored as encrypted data which is not readily decrypted into a clear audible sound without using the download program which is only accessible to authorised parties," the policy paper said.
The Queensland government so far has invested $8.4 million to fit more than 3,000 taxis with security cameras, which have been of great use in preventing crime as well as providing evidentiary value to police investigations.
The proposal stipulates that audio will be wired together with the security camera and will continuously record audio within the interior of the taxi.
"Each year in Queensland, there are hundreds of assaults recorded against taxi drivers. There are also occasions where a driver may assault a passenger," the policy paper said.
"While it is acknowledged that conversations held in taxis might be perceived to be more private (and consequently more liberal) than those held in buses, it can be argued that the need for, and subsequent value of, audio recording is greater for taxis than it is for buses given the issue of workplace risk. It could also be argued that on the basis that audio recording is already in existence in Queensland buses in the interests of passenger and driver safety, the same should be applied to Queensland taxis."