NEW REPORT EXPOSES THE DANGER OF AUTOMATIC NUMBER PLATE RECOGNITION (ANPR) CAMERAS
The anti-surveillance group No CCTV has today launched a report  that exposes the real story of police use of number plate recognition cameras as a mass surveillance tool in the UK.
The report, "What's Wrong With ANPR?", looks at the development of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras since they were first deployed in a secret experiment on the M1 in Hertfordshire in the 1980s, through to the still secretive modern network of cameras that is capable of storing the details of 50 million number plates per day.
The report follows the recent Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) decision  in response to a complaint  made by No CCTV, Privacy International and Big Brother Watch with regard to an ANPR "ring of steel" around the town of Royston in Hertfordshire. The ICO found these ANPR cameras to be unlawful and gave Hertfordshire police until 13th October to comply with an enforcement notice.
Charles Farrier of No CCTV said:
"Number plate recognition cameras have been mis-sold to the public. Back in the 1980s it was claimed that the cameras were developed only to find stolen vehicles. Then as a nationwide network of thousands of cameras was quietly constructed in the early 2000's it was said to be for finding incorrectly registered, untaxed or uninsured vehicles.
However another little noticed use was stated in the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) ANPR Strategy documents, that of tracking vehicle movements. Not just vehicles linked to ongoing criminal investigations but all vehicles, with the information to be stored in national and local databases for two years . This is a mass surveillance tool which was constructed without any public debate. Notions of "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" show a ludicrous degree of naïvety."
The No CCTV report spells out that ANPR is primarily a mass surveillance tool and demonstrates this by showing that alternative models for number plate recognition systems exist that meet all of the objectives used to sell the cameras to the public without mass surveillance.