UK car-tracking plans

By EDRi · October 8, 2003

The UK police are coming to the end of their second phase trials on
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and preparing to roll out the
technology nationwide next summer. ANPR tracks cars using the omnipresent
CCTV systems and specialised fixed and mobile cameras. It can use
government databases to detect untaxed, unroadworthy and uninsured
vehicles. It also means that over time a record of the majority of car
journeys around the country will be built up.

Privacy advocates have warned that ‘function creep’ will mean that these
records become used for many purposes unrelated to their initial
justification. They could allow the government to bring forward plans to
introduce congestion charging across the country, charging drivers for all
journeys according to the level of traffic on the road. They could be used
to enforce speed restrictions across long distances. And they will
certainly be used in all sorts of police investigations and even civil
cases such as divorce.

Number plate recognition poised for national UK rollout (21.09.2003)

(Contribution by Ian Brown, FIPR)