Karen Dearne
Australian IT
September 29, 2008

CRIMTRAC’s planned automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system could become a mass surveillance system, taking as many as 70 million photos of cars and drivers every day across a vast network of roadside cameras.

State and federal police forces want full-frontal images of vehicles, including the driver and front passenger, that are clear enough for identification purposes and usable as evidence in court.

“All vehicles passing through a fixed or mobile ANPR camera will have the data recorded and available for interrogation,” CrimTrac told the Queensland TravelSafe inquiry into the use of ANPR for road safety.

“Existing camera applications, such as Safe-T-Cam, red light and speed cameras could be upgraded where necessary to provide constant live streaming to a central database.

“National connectivity would be achieved through secure digital networks for fixed cameras. Law enforcement agencies would also use mobile units.”

David Vaile, executive director of the University of NSW’s Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, warned that the ANPR “could become the next Access Card”.

“As a public surveillance system that could be linked to facial recognition, this has enough technology behind it to impinge on everybody’s daily life,” Mr Vaile said.

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