All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis


ICO slams police for invading motorists' privacy with 'unlawful' ANPR camera use

24 Jul 2013
cctv22

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has sent a warning to police forces that use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras excessively, labelling one town in particular as a ‘ring of steel'.

Royston, in Hertfordshire, has received an enforcement notice from the ICO after its use of seven ANPR cameras branded as ‘disproportionate'. The notice said that they had "effectively made it impossible for anyone to drive their car in and out of Royston without a record being kept of the journey".

The investigation carried out by the ICO stemmed from a joint complaint from privacy activist groups Big Brother Watch, Privacy International and No CCTV. The ICO found that Hertfordshire Constabulary failed to carry out "any effective impact assessments" before the system went live.

The ICO ruled that this use was "unlawful" as it breached the Data Protection Act, and that it was not justifiable for Hertfordshire Constabulary to log every vehicle passing through the town on its system.

The ICO's head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley said: "It is difficult to see why a small rural town such as Royston, requires cameras monitoring all traffic in and out of the town, 24 hours a day. The use of ANPR cameras and other forms of surveillance must be proportionate to the problem it is trying to address."

He said that other UK police forces should be taking note of Royston's plight. "We hope that this enforcement notice sends a clear message to all police forces, that the use of ANPR cameras needs to be fully justified before they are installed. This includes carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the impact on the privacy of the road-using public."

Privacy group No CCTV hailed the enforcement notice as a "landmark decision" but said the crackdown should go further. "This can only be the beginning – our concerns go beyond regulatory frameworks, highlighting the detrimental consequences on our society of sacrificing freedoms without question and turning everyday life into a scene of crime," it said.

A Hertfordshire Constabulary statement said that it would not appeal the notice: "An enforcement notice was not necessary in this instance - not because we reject the Commissioner's concerns, but because we are already working towards remedying them.

The statement continued: "We have already undertaken considerable analysis of the justification for the use of these cameras in Royston and we have welcomed the Commissioner's offer of further advice on strengthening our privacy impact assessments. "

 

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Michael Passingham
About

Michael Passingham joined V3 as a reporter in June 2013. Prior to working at V3, Michael spent time at computing magazine PC Pro. Michael covers IT skills, social media, tech startups and also produces V3's video content.

View Michael's Google+ profile

More on Privacy
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus
Poll

BYOD vs CYOD vs BYOC poll

Which approach is your firm taking to managing employees' mobile devices?
20%
14%
4%
20%
30%
12%

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
Galaxy S5 vs One M8 video review

Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 video review

We see which Android contender is best for business

Updating your subscription status Loading
Newsletters

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button
hpv33

Data protection: the key challenges

Deduplication is a foundational technology for efficient backup and recovery

rdc2

iPad makes its mark in the enterprise

The iPad can become a supercharged unified communications endpoint, allowing users to enhance their productivity

Embedded C Developer - Bracknell

Job Title;- Embedded C Developer - Bracknell Description...

Software Development Engineer

Develop: Customise: Configure. Maximise your technical...

Developer (SharePoint and .Net)

To be an outstanding regulator, we need outstanding systems...

Service Desk Analyst

Service Desk Analyst - Central London Fragomen is...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.