back to article Vehicle spy-cam data to be held for five years

Authorities will store details of car journeys surveilled by the new national Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system for five years, the Home Office has revealed. Senior police officer had said the data on millions of vehicles would only be kept for two years, the Guardian reports. The Information Commissioner's …


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  1. Andy

    If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear

    I just wanted to be the first to say that.

    So that I could then say "b*ll*cks".

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Rest assured...

    There will be a boom in numberplate thefts over the next couple of years.

    Hell, it'd be worth robbing Halfords just to get hold of the equipment and blanks.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Did I miss something?

    Half the police CCTVs in the country are already hooked up to a central "ANPR center" which will be "fully operational" in January? As in, *all* the CCTVs hooked up? Then the big computers can track any car? w00t. We're not sleepwalking into a surveillance society, we're sprinting!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Two Words

    Show Plates

    I even thought of using hot-swap plates, like Jame Bond.

    All these so called "security" measures will simply feed the already sizeable black market for freedom. False documents, ringed cars, and crims swapping cars from person to person on false details, to give the pigs the runaround. There's plenty more but that covers the basics.

    The increasingly opressive State will create a split lower-class: Those who obey, and those who are free.

    The one with the 1-way ticket...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's none of your business

    5 Years? 5 minutes is too long, if the vehicle is not on the stolen or untaxed list and not wanted in connection with a crime, then you are not entitled to store the information under the right of privacy.

    Where innocent people go and what innocent people do is none of your fooking business Jacqui and ACPO. They have the right to privacy, you can't PRESUME they will be guilty of a future crime to simply remove that privacy right. That's the presumption of innocence right.

    When you start tracking faces and matching up the faces to a biometric passport record and logging the movements of individuals, it will also be none of your fooking business.

    When you start centrally recording all emails sent, phone call numbers and web visits, and all credit card transactions and linking those back to the individual, that will be none of your fooking business too. Which innocent person talks to which innocent other person is also none of your fooking business.

    And when you're out of power and the next person seeks to use it, I hope you are the first target they use it against, because you, Jacqui Smith Home Secretary, are the biggest threat the UK faces now. Not terrorism, not crime, not disease, *you*. You are the one attacking ordinary people in the street, you are the one removing freedoms, you are the one undermining their rights, you are the threat Britain faces.

    This should have been agreed and discussed in Parliament, yet again it seems to have been discussed in a secret meeting and only revealed by force of the judicial Freedom of Information request. Why is it, the *laws* are kept secret, if they're doing nothing wrong why do they hide these? What happened to the democratic controls?

    And yet again it looks like Brown is not in charge, stuff happens and he does a speech and there's no sense that he's got any idea of the bigger picture or any control over what's happening.

  6. John Macintyre

    "fully and strategically exploit"


    exploit being they key here, much like the 'exploiting' of terrorism laws to protect our citizens from people who breath in the wrong place.

    And 5 years from when? the beginning of the tailing or the end? if they update the information (for the hell of it; lets assume they're crafty buggers trying to get around the law, new concept I know) every year, does that reset the 5 years each time?

    blast it, let em store it. Lets give them so much bloody data that the incompetent bastards get lost in it and stop using it. They're clearly better now than they were before, they're more profitable, so that must mean they're doing good.





  7. Anonymous Coward

    This will tie in nicely....

    ....with the inevitable 'National Road Pricing' project they are so desperate to foist upon us.


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    So all roads now one big Spec's zone

    Average speed cameras everywhere.

    That and the complete erosion of our right to privacy. This putrid isle is just getting too fascist to live here any more. Children recuited by councils to rat on their parents for so called eco crimes (Bury Council today - tomorrow the world). Snotty McGobbler Brown has go to go and his merry band of feckwits. When does the revolution start cos I'm in.

    Paris - cos we're going to storm the Bastille together!

  9. John

    So it's wholesale surveillance then.

    I am not afraid of terrorists.

    I am not afraid of paedophiles.

    I am vaguely concerned about being hit by an uninsured driver, but not at any price.

    I am afraid of those who trade my freedoms for their control; presenting it with moral justification is a sleezy marketing tactic worthy of the Taliban.

    Must we wait to vote to vote these bozo's out, can't we just throw them out?

  10. Stuart

    So long man?

    42 days would be too long. Oh sorry, that's only for terrorists.

    Mines the one with a super-reflective tabard ...

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I seem to recall that when they first started to introduce ANPR system the government stated that information wouldn't be kept for any period of time. Yet again this government says one thing and then does something completely different.

    It's finally 1984.....

  12. Jeff Deacon
    Black Helicopters

    Re: So it's wholesale surveillance then

    No, we can't throw them out now. That is why the army is in Iraq and Afghanistan, to prevent them kicking the door of No 10 down.

    This isn't a problem. Its part of the solution, the final solution.

  13. Owen Milton

    RE: It's none of your business

    While it's perfectly true that it's wrong to store and track the plates of people who are not guilty, thanks to the widespread range of ill-defined laws everyone is already guilty of something. Given the recent theme, probably of several things involving the word "terror". Welcome to the new and perfect world. Now please pass over all that data so that we can tell just what you are guilty of in case we need to detain you.

  14. spam

    A call for grass roots level system-bucking

    Quite a few times now I have seen the pigs camped up on main roads with their ANPR van on a session of money gathering from people who might have made a mistake, and who's actions probably haven't hurt anyone.

    The main road from Redditch into Birmingham seems to be one of their favourite spots, just about where the arrow is on this map:,277070&st=4&ar=Y

    The pigs park their van on the grass on the right of the road (I must remember to go and dump the contents of a box of nails on that grass), where they can hide the van in a dip and it can't be seen by a driver until the last minute. I've seen them on the A38 just north of Wychbold too. To me, based on where I have seen the police doing their mobile ANPR from a van they appear to be trying to cover major routes across the country that aren't the motorways: Basically the m'ways are covered by ANPR and people know it, therefore those who don't want to be tracked will be avoiding the motorways.... best get the cameras watching the major trunk roads too, and mobile ANPRing the best they can manage at the moment.

    My call for grass roots action is that if we are all going to be treated as if we are guilty by the government, then we should behave as if we are guilty. It is very obvious when you are approaching somewhere where the pigs are doing mobile ANPR, as there will be many bikes or cars hiding in gateways as you approach, and you may see a car or two that has been pulled over.

    As it is so easy to spot the pigs doing this, when you see the ANPR van, just turn your car around and find an alternate route (usually as simple as a quick trip around the block, then carry on the way you were going). If even a small number of people start doing this, it will make the mobile ANPR searches infeasible to manage, as it will take up far too much police time dealing with system-buckers.... the police will no-doubt go tearing after people who turn their cars around when the driver sees the ANPR van. The police's arguments will boil down to "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear". Anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows what BS that is, and should be able to point that out to the police. Protest isn't illegal yet, nor is turning your car around.

  15. Keith T

    on the up side

    Remember that this data could be used to prove alibis, i.e. to reduce false convictions.

  16. Nebulo

    @AC 'It's none of your business'

    100% agree. These people terrify me.

  17. Charles Smith
    Black Helicopters

    This Service needs a suitable acronym

    How about:

    Simple Traffic Archive System Implementation


  18. Outcast
    Thumb Up

    Porkers ?

    @ spam

    Whilst I agree with your sentiments do you think you could lay off the childish "pigs" comments please?

  19. Lord Nikon

    Generate Report [OK]

    When everything is in place, all they've got do is a simple click to generate the report with all your journey information. haha, just make sure that the anarchist meets you attend are in camera blackspots!

    It doesn't matter if brown goes now or not, things will still go down the tubes.. Every new government we've had has sold off or given away the things we need and value most. The new person to take up number 10 will be no different.

    This is nearly 1984! When we are in the thick of it (living in the 1984 scenarios) the people that did not have any issue with what is happening now, will feel pretty stupid but will not be able to speak out, as they will be committing thought crimes!


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It does the job

    This seems like a clear incentive not to drive if you don't have to.

  21. James


    The right side of that map you linked too...

    Subliminal messaging?

  22. George Oommen


    brilliant. $200 for a full tank of diesel....i was in the states a couple of years ago and was paying about $20 a tank...and drove back from the ukraine, through slovakia, czech republic, poland, germany, netherlands, belgium and france..then dover and to west london.... in the 2200km prior to london, i counted 2 speed cameras, in the 80km across it there were about 40....that's almost one for every mile....

    and not including the joys of congestion charging cameras (i've been prosecuted!), parking cameras, yellow box cameras(120 pound fine, I got one!), and bus lane add the dna database(highest percentage of populace in the world), tv licensing harrament(50% discount for the blind, seriously? this is 2008), talking cameras (google it)....i've always wondered why brits bend over and take all this shite from their own government, coz if this happened back home, people would riot and protest next to the guvenor's why don't you do that? oh sorry i forgot that's illegal :o)

  23. Tim Schomer

    @ on the up side

    " Remember that this data could be used to prove alibis, i.e. to reduce false convictions. " - Except that you'll never be able to get your hands on the data (unless you're a politician trying not to get caught doing something you shouldn't have been).

    The existing data protection laws will stop access, and if they won't the government will simply claim 'National Security!' and lock out all access.

    Interesting point though, under the data protection act can we ask to see what images and data the government holds on us? If we all start regularly requesting this data they'll be totally swamped with requests and hopefully they won't have time to use the data to prosecute anyone.

  24. Wayland Sothcott

    @Prove Alibis

    "Remember that this data could be used to prove alibis, i.e. to reduce false convictions."

    Yes it *could* be used to prove alibis. If the lawyers get good at getting hold of it then it could be a very good tool in your defence. However look who owns the information and who controls it. If the evedence is unhelpful for their case then it won't be available.

    There was a case of a police car running down a girl. There were loads of witnesses who said the police car was doing 100mph with no police lights or siren. However the police are going to examine the cars computer to find out the truth.

    Computers can be very acurate but those in control of them can lie. It should be normal to have systems independantly examined.

  25. Dave
    Black Helicopters


    @ Keith T "Remember that this data could be used to prove alibis, i.e. to reduce false convictions."

    You'd find that they had lost the data, or that they couldn't justify the release "in the Public Interest "


  26. Anonymous Coward

    @on the up side

    Surely you jest?

    There is nothing good going to come from this for the average Joe tax payer. To use those devices for anything other than surveillance for money gathering or big brother activities would be self defeating for the govt.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    See where the cameras are...

    However, some of the cameras are either not working or have been blown by the wind to point at the nearby hedgerow.

    Presumably, they just need to go round and sort those cameras out, and then the system will be "full operational".

  28. Anony mouse
    Black Helicopters

    Hands up

    If you didn't see this coming a mile off...

    you at the back is your hand up? no.. ok

  29. Steve B

    Don't like this new layout where you don't see the comment titles until you go looking.

    Don't like this new layout where you don't see the comment titles until you go looking at the comments themselves. And there is still no update notifications...

    BTW you lot, don't you realise it is now a "terrorist" offence to "think ill thoughts towards" Brown and co.

  30. Paul Banacks

    Give them an inch...

    ... they'll take a mile.

    We need to say NO from the outset. Why can "they" have even two years of surveillance data? In fact, why can "they" build a surveillance network? Did you agree to that? Did I agree to that?

    Bring on the revolution.

  31. ElFatbob


    We now have plod making extensive use (and therefore assumptions of criminality) on the basis of a database that is considered to be no more than 75% ish accurate at any point in time.

    As this technology is used more and more, expect to see the letters coming through the post with fines for 'evading' the congestion charge cos some dirty fecker has cloned you..

  32. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    What you need to do...

    What you need to do to avoid these is to get some blackout plates. How about some of that glass that turns black when current is run through it? (Or is it black *without* current? Whichever..) If you are getting pulled over in person, flip the switch, "Huh, I didn't realize my plates were that dirty". (Hilarity then ensues when the officer sees the plates are quite legible.) I *would* have some, but here in the midwestern US, the 5-0 actually go out in person to pull people over -- if you're not paying enough attention too see a black Ford Crown Victoria (or Chevy Impala on newer ones) with police lights installed and stop speeding for a minute, probably a ticket is warranted. If we had speed cameras etc., I'd rig up this system in a second.

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