Auto Number Plate Recognition (APNR) Being Abused

Monday, 2. May 2011

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.
Merseyside Police ANPR Car parked on double ye...

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In a report prepared by Auto Express they have revealed that motorists should be aware of the ways that automatic number plate recognition (APNR) is now being used. We have become obsessed with cameras watching our every move, whatever we’re doing from driving to walking down the street, buying a bar of chocolate or catching a train. But APNR takes surveillance to a whole new level according to Auto Express. Number plates are unique and can be used to identify the driver as well as his personal details and details of the car.

As we know the cameras are used to check if a car has Road Fund Licence, insurance and if needed an MOT.  But they are also being used by police for anti terrorist activities and crime fighting whilst Boris has his eye on you if you wander into a congestion charge area without paying.

However, it would seem that the DVLA will provide details of a car and its driver if the company or person enquiring can demonstrate ‘reasonable cause’. So forget about data protection it would seem that the one time clampers who have come back as ‘civil enforcers’ can now obtain details from the DVLA that will enable them to bring their bully boy tactics to your front door.

It has even been suggested that thugs will potentially turn up at your front door demanding payment of a parking ticket that is totally false. When questioned the DVLA said that they have a list of those automatically given access such as manufacturers (for recalls), insurance firms, police, local authorities and even petrol stations in order to help them catch drive-offs.

But surprisingly there are some others on their list such as bailiffs, housing associations, private investigators and parking enforcement agencies that cause eyebrows to be raised. Whilst there is a new code of practice issued by the British Parking Association it is still known that the old bully boy tactics are being used helped along by APNR cameras.

For those that like statistics there are 7.6 billion registration plate records stored at the national APNR centre. There are 34 million cars on the UK roads, the police record 10-15 million reg. plates every day, in 2010/11 the DVLA received 7.6 million free information requests, nearly 2 million paid information requests were received during the same period, private car park owners made 800,000 requests for data, there are now 60,000 general surveillance cameras in the UK according to BPA and finally whilst the police say they have 5,000 APNR cameras it is believed that they have 10,000. Have you been subject to bad practice or do you have views on these intrusive cameras? By Graham Hill

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