Monday, May 25, 2009
Britain is to have a national network of cameras and computers that automatically log and track car license plates, in a move described as “secretive and unregulated” by privacy advocates.
The system will be operational within months, according to the BBC.
“Police forces across England, Wales and Scotland will soon be able to share the information on one central computer.” the report states.
Local councils all over the country are queuing up to connect their existing CCTV cameras to the national system. Any camera, if high enough resolution, can be adapted to work with the new software.
Critics have pointed to incidents where “undesirables”, such as people who have taken part in anti-war rallies, have already had their cars marked by police and added to a central “hotlist”.
Some have been stopped in their cars by anti-terror police units and questioned under threat of arrest for no good reason.
“This is a system meant for criminals but John Catt has not been convicted of anything and on a trip to London, the pensioner found himself pulled over by an anti-terror unit.” the BBC report states.
“I was threatened under the Terrorist Act. I had to answer every question they put to me, and if there were any questions I would refuse to answer, I would be arrested. I thought to myself, what kind of world are we living in?” commented Mr Catt, who regularly attends anti-war protests.
Police have refused to acknowledge the case and will not reveal details of the number and positions of license plate cameras, citing “operational reasons”.
Watch a BBC report on this story: