The government is to ban the use of CCTV ‘spy cars' by councils to catch motorists parked illegally, in a move to curb a rise the in use of surveillance technologies against UK citizens.
The decision will mean that the use of cars fitted with cameras to catch out motorists and send tickets through the post will be banned. From now on parking enforcement will have to be done by patrolling wardens.
However, CCTV cars can still patrol "critical routes" such as schools, bus lanes, bus stops and red routes to ensure public transport systems can keep moving, the government said.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles said the decision showed that the government was clamping down on "greedy councils".
"Over-zealous parking enforcement and unreasonable stealth fines by post undermine the high street, push up the cost of living and cost local authorities more in the long term," he said. "Today the government is taking urgently needed action to ban this clear abuse of CCTV, which should be used to catch criminals, and not as a cash cow."
The move was welcomed by president of the AA Edmund King who told The Telegraph it would end the ‘Orwellian' spying on people going about their lives.
"Some local authorities have used spy cars as mobile cash machines to fleece the motorist. We are delighted that these Orwellian spy cars are being driven off the road."
The decision is another victory for those who want more privacy for UK citizens and less state surveillance.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has chided the police before over their use of CCTV and is currently consulting on new guidelines for CCTV use.
This will consider the implications of body-worn cameras and drones, as the continued expansion of monitoring systems poses questions around privacy. Google's acquisition of Dropcam on Friday for $555m will only raise these concerns further.
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