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    Independent (UK): Vast network of roadside cameras pose ‘very real risk’ says surveillance regulator

    The Independent reports on privacy questions with camera surveillance on the roads in the United Kingdom:

    Members of the public face “a very real risk” to their privacy from the huge roadside surveillance network that captures millions of motorists every day, the Government’s Surveillance Commissioner has warned. In an interview with The Independent, Tony Porter urges that clear guidance be provided to ensure “innocent” people do not fall victim to roadside automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras which have been the centre of concerns over the rise of surveillance in Britain.

    The regulator for Britain’s state-run security cameras has put police on notice over their use of personal data after a series of investigations into the ANPR system, which has been described by campaigners as the “biggest surveillance network that most people have never heard of”. […]

    Local authorities control more than 50,000 cameras while thousands of roadside cameras collect owner information on more than 18 million car journeys every day, in a swift and unregulated expansion over the past 30 years.

    Police have declined to say how many cameras are used for the ANPR system, but it has the capacity to check information on up to 50 million cars every day, and cross-check it with other police databases to trace wanted offenders. […]

    “I think there has to be very clear guidance to officers about the way in which ANPR is used and once it has been used, ensuring that data is removed or at least is updated to that effect. I think that’s crucial,” said Mr Porter, a former senior police anti-terror officer.

    “There is a very real risk that if systems aren’t adhered to innocent members of the public could be put at risk of having their privacy impacted upon. I can see the value of understanding how many ANPR cameras there are. There are other concerns that have been expressed … the large data-grab of information and the period of retention of that information.”

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