The UK road system is carpeted with these cameras. Every day, around 13,000 capture 55 million “readings,” ‘terrifying’ number plate camera decision as license plate identifications are known, according to figures from the Council of National Police Chiefs.
But nowhere are they more densely populated than in the capital, which is believed to have around 2,000 cameras, sending tens of millions of readings a day to its operator, Transport for London.
Now, the Mayor of London has given police access to more data from more cameras, and privacy advocates are on the warpath.
“It’s a bit scary,” says London Assemblywoman Sian Berry, who along with privacy advocates at the Open Rights Group is filing a legal challenge against the mayor’s decision.
They warn that while car license plate scans may look innocent, they are not.
First, because a vehicle trip record is an intimate view of the movements of a driver or passenger.
Second, because ANPR ‘terrifying’ number plate camera decision number plate camera decision not only scan for numbers and letters, they also take photos, including a “front of vehicle photo” that takes everything that happens when the image is taken.
This includes the color and make of vehicles, and potentially the faces of passing drivers and pedestrians, what London authorities refer to as “enhanced contextual data”.
“With a stroke of the pen, Sadiq Khan has made a decision that violates the basic privacy rights of millions of Londoners,” says Jim Killock, chief executive of the Open Rights Group, which is calling on the mayor to hold a large-scale meeting. public consultation on the fly.
Killock fears the worst is yet to come, as the mayor plans to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone to cover all of Greater London from the end of 2023, significantly increasing the number and range of ANPR cameras.