Police chiefs are under fire again after it was revealed today that the personal details of innocent motorists are being stored on a centralised database without their knowledge or permission.
The Sunday Times reported that up to 14 million photos of motorists are taken every day via a network of roadside cameras across the country and stored on a database in Hendon for at least two years.
The initiative uses automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) technology to track vehicle movement, and the database contains car registration details as well as photographs of the driver and front seat passengers.
The ANPR network was developed in 2006 and now comprises more than 10,000 CCTV cameras, although the system has expanded largely without parliamentary scrutiny, the report said.
The system has been used to help track and catch criminals, but privacy advocates and rights campaigners have argued that holding data in this way could put it at risk of being lost or stolen.
According to the report, Shami Chakrabarti, the director of civil rights group Liberty, is planning to launch the first legal challenge to the surveillance system
“It’s bad enough that images and movements of millions of innocent motorists are being stored for years on end,” she is reported as saying. “That the police are doing this with no legislative basis shows a contempt for parliament, personal privacy and the law.”
The news comes as public trust in the centralised storage of citizens’ data is at an all time low, after a series of high profile data breaches and an increased level of awareness of privacy issues among the public. The Conservative Party has pledged to move to a more decentralised system of storage.
IBM and Technical University of Munich team demonstrate how Shor's algorithm, which can't be cracked by conventional computers, can be solved quickly with quantum computing
Hubble Space Telescope finds superflares from young red dwarfs could strip away planetary atmosphere
Younger stars are 100 to 1,000 times more energetic than when they're older
Two of the big four supermarkets will use the system to control sales of restricted products
PUBG news and updates: November's Update #23 to bring new Skorpion pistol and changes to blue zone visibility
Genuinely useful side-arm coming to PUBG in Update #23