back to article Nine million logs of Brits' road journeys spill onto the internet from password-less number-plate camera dashboard

In a blunder described as "astonishing and worrying," Sheffield City Council's automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) system exposed to the internet 8.6 million records of road journeys made by thousands of people, The Register can reveal. The ANPR camera system's internal management dashboard could be accessed by simply …

  1. dave 81

    Massive invasion of privacy

    By an increasingly authoritarian government. And yet we keep voting these monster in. So who is to blame?

    1. Tom Chiverton 1
      Mushroom

      Re: Massive invasion of privacy

      Well, I trust these folks with a database of everywhere I've been and everyone I've met...

      1. TomG

        Re: Massive invasion of privacy

        Do you know what they use the information for? Does everyone that you may interact with also not care? This seems to be a gross invasion of privacy.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Massive invasion of privacy

      It doesn't seem to matter who you vote for. These monsters are the 49 Labour, 26 Liberal Democrat, 8 Green and 1 Independent councillors of Sheffield City Council.

      1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Massive invasion of privacy

        It doesn't seem to matter who you vote for. These monsters are the 49 Labour, 26 Liberal Democrat, 8 Green and 1 Independent councillors of Sheffield City Council.

        The rule is that if you are out of power, then you call out whoever is in power for all their authoritarian actions. As soon as you get into power, you emulate them instead. The real truth of the matter is that most people who enter politics are cut from the same cloth - the one that likes to tell everyone else what to do.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Massive invasion of privacy

          "Hurrah for revolution and more cannon shot"

          A beggar on horseback lashes a beggar on foot.

          "Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again"

          The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on." (Yeats)

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            I doubt anyone changed places there.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              Read the post to which I was responding with a relevant quotation.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Massive invasion of privacy

      “ By an increasingly authoritarian government”

      I’m fairly sure the article stated Sheffield City council wanted and paid for this solution, not the national government.

      Blame should be attributed to the correct authorities otherwise staff in authorities will just deliberately mess up for political reasons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Massive invasion of privacy

        No paddle in this boat but... how are the council not part of the government?

        1. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Massive invasion of privacy

          The otherwise unqualified reference to "increasingly authoritarian government" is clearly intended as a poke at the incumbent Conservative government in Westminster.

          As such it represents a cheap and feeble attempt at political point scoring against the awful Tory child-eaters which ignores the Labour control of Sheffield Council as well as the raft of intrusive measures introduced nationally by the Blair/Brown Labour administrations from 1997-2010.

          In short: They're all as bad as each other and there's no political points to be scored.

          But you already knew that.

          1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            I don't care what colour arm-bands they wear, if they have the power, then they are part of the government.

            1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              Local councils are not part of national government, they are local government. They are part of "governance" in the abstract, but they are not part of "government" as it is usually used meaning Westminster.

              1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

                Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                What difference does it make whether they are local government or national government? They are both a collection of people who make rules to control us, and have both been shown to abuse their power and not act in our best interests.

        2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Massive invasion of privacy

          Not sure why so many down-votes. Must be the same who think that NI is not taxation. Councils are very obviously part of the government in all but name. As just one clue - they impose tax on us (council tax). Tax is money that is collected by and for the government.

          1. tip pc Silver badge

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            "Not sure why so many down-votes. Must be the same who think that NI is not taxation. Councils are very obviously part of the government in all but name. As just one clue - they impose tax on us (council tax). Tax is money that is collected by and for the government."

            look at it this way then:

            National Government = Party that leads Parliament

            Local Government = Party that runs the local city / county etc

            your conflating this issue with being the fault of the national government, when in fact its the local government who have instigated, bungled & are at fault for this.

            In this case local and national governments are from opposing parties, but even if it was the same party its still not an issue from national government when local government have done this against their own citizens without the knowledge or consent of the national government.

            1. The First Dave Silver badge

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              To be fair, Westminster _should_ have made it clear to local gov that this sort of thing isn't acceptable to the general public. (It would be very hypocritical of them, but they still should have done it.)

              1. Persona Silver badge

                Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                Westminster _should_ have made it clear to local gov

                One quite strong ways of making things clear is to pass laws. Have they not done that?

            2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              "

              your conflating this issue with being the fault of the national government, when in fact its the local government who have instigated, bungled & are at fault for this.

              "

              *I* have done nothing of the sort - you are confusing me with other posters. The fault of national government is only that it does little or nothing to punish those who abuse their power or are reckless about the use of confidential information that they are entrusted with.

              1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

                Alert Alert conflation detected

                @Cynic.

                Direct conflation from you here :

                "I don't care what colour arm-bands they wear, if they have the power, then they are part of the government."

                I'd stop digging. Otherwise all your downvotes will cause a negative reality inversion and before you know it you'll turn into Jake*

                *Insert other contentious commentard of your choice.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            Councils are very obviously part of the government in all but name

            That name is local government.

          3. dave 81

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            its weird. The commentards alternate between die hard socialists and liberals on here.

    4. Qarumba
      Facepalm

      Re: Massive invasion of privacy

      I find it hilarious that the authoritarians are Labour, Liberal and the Greens. Says something about the idiots who subscribe to right-wing = evil, left-wing = good.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Massive invasion of privacy

        Surely that means mass surveillance is ok, if the left and the greens are fine with it?

        1. Wilseus

          Re: Massive invasion of privacy

          "Surely that means mass surveillance is ok, if the left and the greens are fine with it?

          Yes, because policies like mass surveillance, identity cards, privatising parts of the NHS and the London Underground etc are all OK when they are introduced by the left because they are all done in good faith!

          1. AlbertH

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            Saddling our NHS with massive PFI debts to fiddle the balance of payments, selling off our gold reserves at the lowest market point in many years, plundering pensions, creating millions of non-jobs in NHS "management", spending like drunken sailors, then utterly crashing the economy......

            That was the fiscal legacy left by the people who had power from 1997 - 2010. We're still paying for it, and will be for another generation. The societal damage wrought by their bizarre "politically correct" actions, their interference in Police and Armed Forces that was clearly designed to do as much damage as possible, their manipulation of media (pace the "Dodgy Dossier" used to take the UK into a war), and their inability to ever apologise for the disaster they wrought.....

            Just remember: Socialism represents societal and state bankruptcy, which is exactly what it was designed to do; it is the sterile philosophy of those who wish to control the masses whilst pretending to have their best interests at heart.

        2. Andy 97

          Re: Massive invasion of privacy

          True 'green' policies are highly authoritarian and always have been.

      2. Graham Cobb

        Re: Massive invasion of privacy

        right-wing = evil, left-wing = good

        You need to go back to your Politics 101 course: you have the wrong axis.

        Economic policies are one way to analyse politicians, and leads to the left-right dichotomy. The analysis that I take into account, however, is authoritarian-liberal. That axis is perpendicular to left/right.

        There are plenty of left-leaning and right-leaning politicians who are authoritarian (after all, telling people what to do is very likely to attract those people!). Fortunately, there are also some left-leaning and right-leaning politicians who are liberal. Not enough, though.

        ANPR should be banned, or at least limited to destroying all data after at most 24 hours.

        1. Wilseus

          Re: Massive invasion of privacy

          "Economic policies are one way to analyse politicians, and leads to the left-right dichotomy. The analysis that I take into account, however, is authoritarian-liberal. That axis is perpendicular to left/right."

          Indeed. Hence why it is entirely accurate to label the BNP as left wing, for example.

          But that causes problems because other leftists don't like that!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            Um...the BNP is a nationalist party. It's right there in their name. It believes in the "racial superiority of white British people" (spit). And nationalism is purely right wing.

            If you're one of the lunatics who thinks the Nazis were left wing because Hitler infiltrated and took over a socialist party, then you don't know enough history to be worth bothering with.

            1. The Axe

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              And what do the letters in NAZI stand for? Clue, the word socialist is one of the words.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                Not this bollocks again. Yes they had "socialist" in their name, no they were not socialists. Just like the Democratic Republic of [North] Korea isn't democratic. The fact that Hitler was raised into power by the conservative elites to keep the socialists out of power should be a clue.

                Short form:

                https://www.snopes.com/news/2017/09/05/were-nazis-socialists/

                https://fullfact.org/online/nazis-socialists/

                Longer form: read the two-part biography (Hubris & Nemesis) of Hitler by Professor Sir Ian Kershaw (world expert on Hitler). It runs to about 2,000 pages, but is very good.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                  AC posted: The fact that Hitler was raised into power by the conservative elites to keep the socialists out of power should be a clue.

                  Really? What, all those Germans who voted him into power were conservative elites? All the factory workers, the railwaymen, the labourers, the ship-builders? Did they know this?

                  1. Evil_Goblin

                    Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                    Hitler never won enough votes to get elected into power, Nazi vote was in fact starting to fall in November 1932 (lost 35 seats), compared to 1930 and the earlier 1932 election.

                    No party had enough votes to form a government, so it was backroom dealings with Papen and Hindenburg that gave Hitler the chancellorship as part of a coalition with DNVP. Hitler then outmaneuvered Papen and started taking control. Despite all this (election tampering, state violence, terror campaign etc) Nazis still only secured ~44% of the vote in March 1933 so had to maintain the coalition.

                    Hitler then required a 2/3rds majority for the legislation to become a dictator so used emergency powers to arrest all 81 Communist Party representatives, and bar opponents from entering, and thus pass the Enabling Act, which made him a dictator..

                    The factory workers, the railwaymen, the labourers, the ship-builders, they were not enough...

              2. khjohansen

                Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                NAZIonal (Socialistisches Deutsches Arbeiter Partei)

                For your argument to work, use the NSDAP monicker

                BTW, their opposition at the time were known as the SOZIs

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                You do realise that one of the first things Hitler did was to wipe out the SA, and that's because it actually was somewhat socialist? And that he did it to keep the Prussian élite on side?

                Just start by reading Shirer and Golo Mann. There's a used copy of History of Germany Since 1789 on Amazon for about £12 and you can get both of Shirer's books on Kindle for a total of about £25. Or you can fork out for the paperback editions for £60 the lot. It'll give you something to do during lockdown other than recite tired old right wing memes that only people like you believe.

                I suspect you'll still be just as fact averse in your ideas after reading them, but you might be slightly better informed.

            2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              Nazies were left not just because of the name, but because of their economic policies. Economy-wise BNP is quite leftie-wing too.

              Comrade Stalin was quite mean to some of ethnic groups (like Jews or Chechens), but he is definitely not right wing.

              1. naive

                Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                Socialism = Stealing from one group, and give it to another group, minus what gets allocated to those who are "more equal than others".

                Communism = Class based socialism, they steal from people who have assets or an income.

                National Socialism = Race based socialism, they steal from people belonging to a race or group, like German National-Socialists did with the jews.

                The only difference between German National-Socialism and communism is that Russia, China, North-Korea and Venezuela did not lose a war, so they were able to hide the mountains of corpses that are the result of socialism, and even got so bold claiming National-Socialism is not socialism.

                Here an extensive analysis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCkyWBPaTC8

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                  we've found the alt-right moron.

            3. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              Hitler infiltrated and took over a socialist party

              Hitler infiltrated, took over, and was well supported and revered by whole swathes of the membership and governance of a socialist party. FTFY.

              Hitler was a lefty; its too easy and too lazy to pretend that the nationalist bit is more important than the socialist bit in the name NAZI. Orwell wrote 1984 about a future labour government. Labour rolled out the CCTV state (ANPR, town center cameras etc etc). Nazi's and the rest of the left share the same taste for controlling people, punishing anyone that disagrees with their bankrupt world view, and at their core, the same dodgy belief in the supremacy of white men. Remind me again how many women have led labour? How many black people? How many gays? And still you think its the party of diversity? Really?

              The cognitive dissonance of the left never ceases to amaze me. Its much the same as labour agitating for an end to lock down. This is what Corbynism looks like - half the nation dependent on the state, you can't leave, suppression of freedoms, massive debt, unparalleled state involvement in business - this is everything they ever wanted, and even they can't wait to be rid of it.

              Only the BNP and the Labour party have ever had to be investigated by the Equalities Commission, because their narrow totalitarian world views are essentially the same, its just that the BNP know they're racist where as the left persist with sophistry pretending that anti-zionism != anti-semitism != racism, when it very clearly is the same damned thing.

              That's before we get onto their disgraceful treatment of women, that they only ever elect straight white middle aged men for leader, and the utterly appalling way they talk about other members of their own party. We already know how they talk about their voters "bigoted woman", for instance.

              Its the same intellectual laziness that allows them to pretend that "Brexit started as an internal debate in the Tory party". No, no it didn't. Brexit started with Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy - when the working class finally got to see what "their party" really thought of them, and the two faced manner in which they spoke about and handled immigration. That's where Brexit came from, and why most former labour MPs sat in Leave voting seats.

              And yet still they don't see why people in the main keep rejecting their disgusting, lying, racist, sexist, misogynist little party at the polling booth.

              Immigration has been broadly positive for our country, but not universally so. There's a sensible debate to have been had, and I'm pretty sure the public would have come down broadly in favour of it with some reforms.

              Frankly labour supporters should be ashamed of their party, they should be ashamed of themselves, and they should apologize to the country. They won't of course, no shame you see.

              1. Wilseus

                Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                "Immigration has been broadly positive for our country, but not universally so. There's a sensible debate to have been had, and I'm pretty sure the public would have come down broadly in favour of it with some reforms."

                This is so true. If the left, not just in the UK but elsewhere as well, were willing to actually engage in reasonable debate about those things, then yes, it would likely have turned out positively for everyone. But no. Instead they decided to smear people whose views they didn't agree with as stupid racists.

                It turns out than when you insult people, it doesn't convert them to your way of thinking, it actually makes them vote for the other guy. Hence they got Brexit, Trump and the Tories enough additional votes for them to win. Surely, after all these drubbings, they must by now have learnt their lesson? I wouldn't bet on it.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                The NSDAP was a tiny party when Hitler took it over. 1984 is a satire on the BBC: Eric Blair considered himself a socialist and was writing about the use of black propaganda to control the population. The Labour Party at the time (and today) is marked by its large Jewish membership*, whereas Ingsoc is anti-Semitic (and not, obviously, the anti-Likud anti-Settlement ideas that consititute the "Anti-Semitism" of the Bod). Ingsoc is a direct reference to the "Socialist" in the Nazi Party.

                I can't be bothered with the rest of your nonsense, which is just a rant about the Labour Party, but your twisting of half-understood history marks you out as just another alt-right parrot.

                Keir Starmer has married in and his kids are Jewish; Ed Miliband is back in the Shadow Cabinet; Margaret Hodge is still hanging around. But no,the power in the Labour Party is held by verschluggener anti-Semites. In your imagination.

                1. LucreLout Silver badge

                  Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                  Keir Starmer has married in and his kids are Jewish; Ed Miliband is back in the Shadow Cabinet; Margaret Hodge is still hanging around. But no,the power in the Labour Party is held by verschluggener anti-Semites. In your imagination.

                  So your defense amounts entirely to a half baked parody of "I'm not racist because some of my friends are black". Really? That's what you come here to waste everyone's time with?

                  Do you really not see that they are an institutionally racist party? That their members and supporters are therefore racists themselves. Ignoring the issue and pretending it isn't real hasn't worked very well for your party thus far, but hey ho, another 5 elections in opposition for them will do the country no end of good.

                  I know socialists don't like to think of themselves as evil people, but then, neither did the Nazi's. Both are evil people whose morally bankrupt ideology belongs to the past century, and both must be vanquished in the modern age for the good of all.

            4. Wilseus

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              "And nationalism is purely right wing."

              Utter rubbish.

              If you really believe that then I'd suggest it's your opinions that aren't worth bothering with, not mine. I didn't even mention Hitler or the Nazis either.

            5. marktyers

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              And Godwin's Law is thus proven.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                Why? Someone else referred to the BNP, I mentioned that it is modelled on the Nazi Party. Godwin's Law merely says that eventually a comparison will be made to the Nazis. It says nothing about whether it is correct or not. (And, incidentally, one data point does not prove a universal law, a fact you learn in the first week of philosophy of science class. Did you miss that?)

                My special subject in history at school was to try to answer the question how a country as developed as Germany could fall prey to Hitler. I even waded through Mein Kampf, though I never managed to finish it. It is Dominic Cummings/Breitbart levels of awfulness. I never did get a satisfactory answer, though over the half century since I do tend to read books on the subject as they come out.

                The Germans slid into militaristic and nationalistic authoritarianism for a variety of reasons. Economic trouble; an upper class trying to retain its privileges; social conformity, and a narrow nationalism that led to the promotion of racist ideas (Untermenschen) being normalised.

                Those factors exist in this country (UK). There are authoritarians in the Home Office and police forces who probably sympathise with them. There are useful idiots like LucreLout who are wilfully ignorant of history because it doesn't suit their need to justify social inequality and their own privileged position, and easily fall into right wing tropes.

                Trying to score brownie points by a misunderstanding of what Mike Godwin said, doesn't contribute. The question at the moment is whether a period of economic and social crisis coupled with a government of the overprivileged which resorts to 1984-style propaganda to cover up its inadequacies is a threat to our individual liberties and securities. I happen to think that "it could happen here" and the BNP failed because it lacked the social background against which someone like Griffin could succeed. That is relevant, and not easily dismissed.

                1. LucreLout Silver badge

                  Re: Massive invasion of privacy

                  My special subject in history at school was to try to answer the question how a country as developed as Germany could fall prey to Hitler........ I never did get a satisfactory answer, though over the half century since

                  You've had the correct answer several times from several people in the course of this very thread. Socialism. That you prefer not to see it does nothing to change the fact. Socialists are evil. All of them. Its a morally bankrupt ideology for small minded, petty, jealous fools who are too lazy or slow to make a success of themselves, and that is all it has ever been.

                  There are useful idiots like LucreLout

                  Useful idiots is a term the left developed to describe themselves. It is applied as a term of disparagement by those forced to live under communism and socialism to those in the west such as yourself that choose to seek to live under it. So not me then, but to you. Happy to keep on educating you, because it certainly appears as though nobody else ever bothered.

                  it doesn't suit their need to justify social inequality and their own privileged position

                  Social inequality hasn't existed in Britain for generations. Equality of opportunity does exist and is absolutely the only fair system that can ever work. Just how much of results of my efforts do you feel belongs to you, and why? Equality of outcome is an awful idea espoused by thick and lazy people that lack the wits or testicular fortitude to go and make their own way in the world.

                  There was no privilege growing up in council estates the North East. My "position" and any "privileges" I enjoy have come about through my own hard work and effort, so if you find you don't enjoy the same then whose fault is that really? Here's a mirror, take a look. It'll answer your Hitler question too. If I can start in a council house with a state education and make myself a millionaire (5 more years) then a man of your age has no excuse for not being able to make rent.

                  That's the thing about you "useful idiots" - you never seem to realize you're just idiots. It's Tour-de-force of cognitive dissonance......

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Massive invasion of privacy

          right-wing = evil, left-wing = good

          Not this again.

          The political spectrum isn't a bar, with left and right poles, disappearing off into infinity both ends.

          It's a circle, with left and right meeting at the same place.

          turns out, the safe, 'liberal' band is a very narrow section indeed, and it's autocratic nutters central planning, selling off communal assets or goose-stepping morons a mere step or two either way.

        3. Persona Silver badge

          Re: Massive invasion of privacy

          ANPR should be banned, or at least limited to destroying all data after at most 24 hours.

          That would make it quite easy to contest a speeding charge when the prosecution fails to produce any evidence.

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            That would make it quite easy to contest a speeding charge when the prosecution fails to produce any evidence.

            and yet you say that as though it would be a bad thing.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              If you'd seen the result of a speed related accident maybe you'd be thinking about that a bit more clearly.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            "That would make it quite easy to contest a speeding charge when the prosecution fails to produce any evidence."

            So it's good to record *everyone, all the time, permanently* in case someone is doing a major crime of *speeding*?

            An excuse Stasi would be proud.

      3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Massive invasion of privacy

        You did notice that there are 49 Labour to 35 Others, meaning that it's a Labour council. And with the Leader And Cabinet model, even the Labour backbenchers have no hands on any levers of power.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So who is to blame?

      whoever voted these people in (and you ain't seen nothing yet ref. get the brexit done) - deserve all they get.

      That said, to wipe this glib smile off my filthy, EU-poked face, something tells me that a different lot I might have voted in, would do no better than the current ones. Perhaps they would have "borrowed" £1 trillion of non-existent money, rather than mere "225bn non-existent money, which would mean we're fucked somewhat sooner. Perhaps then, the current lot is not the worstest yet? At least the newly printed money is not made of trees, just long series of 1s and 0s, hurrah for the environment.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: So who is to blame?

        AMAFM1 posting A/C?

    6. Efer Brick

      Re: Massive invasion of privacy

      Doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.

      Now B&Q is open, time to pick up a few rattle cans?

    7. DaveLE

      Re: Massive invasion of privacy

      The dashboard's cameras were identified as belonging to Sheffield City Council after their descriptions were matched with a **November 21, 2018** council document and its weighty appendix **approving a "clean air zone" proposal**.

      Magid Magid is a Somali-British activist and politician who served as the **Lord Mayor of Sheffield from May 2018 to May 2019**. His appointment attracted significant media attention, as he is the first ethnic-Somali, the youngest-ever, and the first **Green Party** councillor to hold the role.

      Some might suggest these things were related.

      Maybe he was using it to enforce his Donald Trump Ban

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Massive invasion of privacy

        FWIW, the Lord Mayor is pretty much a ceremonial role. The real power lies with the Leader of the Council and whatever the inner circle is called this week.

        1. hoola Bronze badge

          Re: Massive invasion of privacy

          Just a thought:

          How did someone find it in the first place?

          This would suggest some form of snooping finding for open ports & then looking to see what is on them.

          The article then indicates that the recipient of this find was The Register. Whilst public notification of things like this can be considered to be in the public interest, a huge GDPR fine for the council will ultimately make things worse for those residents as yet more cuts are required to pay for it. There is no right answer in situations but certainly people and contracts need to be called to account properly rather than a slap on the wrist, carry on as normal.

          Sure, it should be secured and it is useful to find this BUT why the hell was it not pen-tested, at least once and then on a regular basis to confirm that security is maintained?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            "a huge GDPR fine for the council will ultimately make things worse for those residents as yet more cuts are required to pay for it"

            GDPR and the current DPA based on it allow for the officers of a corporate body to be held personally responsible for its failings. Where the body is a public one ITSM that this would be the appropriate route for prosecution.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            "How did someone find it in the first place?

            This would suggest some form of snooping finding for open ports & then looking to see what is on them.

            Yes, that's what whitehat "hackers" do. As per the article "The Register learned of the unprotected dashboard from infosec expert and author Chris Kubecka, working with freelance writer Gerard Janssen, who stumbled across it using search engine Censys.io. "

            It's no different to people bug-hunting through both open and closed source apps and OS'

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Massive invasion of privacy

          Not always. It depends on who the Lord Mayor is - in many Councils, they are hand-picked by the "ruling party"* so although some are pretty powerless, some are chosen because they will always agree with the Leader and his or her cronies.

          *It's supposed to be voted for by the whole council to prevent that sort of misuse/abuse of power but what should happen and what does happen are not always quite the same thing. And sometimes you find out the hard way when someone you thought could be trusted to do the best for the locals decides to do the best for their mates on the council instead...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Massive invasion of privacy

            In the case of Sheffield, it doesn't matter.

            "The Lord Mayor is unelected and chosen by fellow councillors each year. As a civic figurehead they have no real powers but raise money for charity. They should be impartial and non political while in office. And it's a completely separate role from the directly elected Sheffield City Region Mayor."

            Basically, it's a beauty contest for blokes.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Massive invasion of privacy

              "Basically, it's a beauty contest for blokes."

              Oops! My innate and subconscious misogyny seems to have reared it's ugly head. Oh course.ladies can also be "Lord Mayors" too.

    8. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Massive invasion of privacy

      Massive invasion of privacy

      By an increasingly authoritarian government.

      ANPR was rolled out by the last Labour government. Try to use facts to make points rather than simply playing politics in the worst sort of student common room manner.

      We've already changed government from left to centre coalition to centre right and none of them have wanted to address ANPR or CCTV. Mostly because millennial's and zombies don't want privacy - they want followers, someone to be watching, anyone really.

      Privacy has become an effort to maintain at an individual level, rather than a community default state, and it will now ever be thus.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

    Someone should go to prison over this.

    "Oh, we didn't mean for that to happen" really doesn't cut it.

    1. Adam Foxton

      Re: No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

      SEVERAL people should go to prison over this.

      A couple of Heads of local government, a local chief of police, whoever's in charge of the ANPR system, and whoever approved this contract without taking proper care towards privacy. And also whoever in 3M/Neology who didnt require top-end security as a default for this sort of installation.

      Make ANPR politically and commercially impossible to install or maintain unless it is safe and secure.

      After all, if the other implementers of this technology have done everything right they have nothing to fear. That's the line they like, isnt it?

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

        Blaming the bosses and sending them to jail isn't going to fix the problem - the data will still be collected and occasionally the PFY will forget to click on "Save" when the system is being reconfigured.

        Quit complaining about this - the benefit is that everyone now can see what the government (and also the companies involved) are collecting. What's the chance that the data collection and processing companies are selling information to advertisers - "anonymized" of course but someone at this address recently drove to the local IKEA store ...

        But maybe firing the police chief will have the bonus resulting in the replacement hiring a dozen PFYs to check security every day ... and work on selling the data to a few new social media companies.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

          I think a new "punishment fits the crime"

          Everytime a public body fscks up like this the chief whatsit gets all their data made public for the next year.

          All their web site traffic, everywhere they drive, their kids school reports, all their phone calls, all the photos on their phone - then they can just say "there is no evidence anyone was harmed" / "lessons have been learned"

          1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

            Re: No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

            Target the man... ok, sure. If that's the way you do your business.

            But target his family? Sorry no, that is clearly against the rules and just outright ungentlemanly.

        2. Adam Foxton

          Re: No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

          Blaming and jailing the bosses means people in those positions take these problems seriously.

          Fining doesnt work as they dont pay the fine. Firing doesnt work as they can quickly get a new job. Jail time for gross negligence, with a condition that it's not considered 'spent' for 10 years after the event, is something that's indelibly on their record.

          Give protection to whistleblowers and try to protect people from false allegations or set-ups. Maybe have punishments increase as a function of time the system has been open and time between them being informed and acting on it.

          But they need to get this right every single time. These systems should be installed only where they are so critically necessary, so well regulated and so well tested that teams of people will properly put their necks on the line to create and install them.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

            "Fining doesn't work as they don't pay the fine."

            If the fine is a personal one if would be wrong for the council to pay it. If it did then the councillors responsible could be surcharged.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

              "If the fine is a personal one if would be wrong for the council to pay it."

              Except that indemnification is a standard part of most employment contracts

              "If the fine is a personal one if would be wrong for the council to pay it. If it did then the councillors responsible could be surcharged."

              In a lot of cases the councillors responsible for such policies are dead and buried. In any case councils don't care because this invariably comes out of their public liability cover.

              AS SUCH:

              A better path is to find who underwrites the council's public liability insurance (Zurich?) and let them know that a: this is happening and b: It's extremely UNlikely to be isolated to one council

              One of the reasons liability cover is so cheap is because there are requirements to take full care to comply with legal requirements, etc and failing to do so blows the cover

    2. Efer Brick
      Thumb Up

      Re: No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

      Then, maybe they'll take this shizzle seriously!

    3. Graham Cobb

      Re: No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

      Yep. They can be sent to prison for H&S failures. Data protection, particularly if systematic, or large numbers of people are affected, should be treated as severely.

    4. LucreLout Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system

      Someone should go to prison over this.

      At the very least someones career should be over.... but it won't, because public sector init.

  3. Crypto Monad

    What address block was server's public IP address in? I am guessing it was a cloud VM, and somebody decided it would be a good idea to open HTTP/HTTPS access to the whole Internet.

    As for the cameras - were the IP addresses public or private (RFC1918)? I would expect sort of overlay VPN for those.

    1. sysconfig

      "As for the cameras - were the IP addresses public or private (RFC1918)? I would expect sort of overlay VPN for those."

      Don't bet your (furlough?) salary on that. Security obviously wasn't particularly important.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        It wouldn't surprise me if they were all 'real' IPs from a range Sheffield council was given decades ago by the UK gov. Dozens of /8 ranges were handed out to in the '80s/early 90s and the UK Gov picked up a few. This was before NAT appeared and direct internet access was the only way to go (before ISPs appeared).

  4. IGotOut Silver badge

    Well of course it was open...

    ....otherwise it would be hard to use when working from home.

    No joke icon, as this was probably the logic behind it.

  5. rmacd

    > "to the best of our knowledge, nobody came to any harm or suffered any detrimental effects as a result of this breach"

    Sorry but F off, this has just come to light - how are you possibly in a position to say that? Who knows how long this has data has been freely online / available for? Arse from elbow issue going on here.

    Charlatans.

    Shame we can only sue for "actual" damages in this country, I was in the area just a few weeks ago and am livid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "We take joint responsibility for working to address this data breach"

      The sentence started *so* well, and then ended up with predictable disappointment.....

      1. sysconfig

        Not sure if "joint responsiblity" is a good start. In practice that could just mean that each party involved points fingers at the other.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        I see they're not taking responsibility for causing it, even though there would probably be no personal consequences.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      DPA/GDPR lawsuits don't care about the actual consequences, they care about the potential consequences.

      Hospitals were sued for millions successfully because they posted a disc which was lost in the post and couldn't PROVE that it had been encrypted and/or that the data was not available to people it shouldn't be.

      Schools too. People are very lax on it, and yet the law is quite clear - the leak of actual data doesn't matter, it's the potential. Potentially even allowing you *theoretical* access (i.e. you could have got in without a password, but nobody ever did) is prosecutable under the same laws. This is one of my big-wig reasons for not giving local administrator access to any user. They can complain all they like, the letter of the law says I can't give it to them if it might reveal any data that they don't explicitly need to perform their job.

      I imagine government departments get the usual light slap, but I know if my reg was on there, I'd be filing a claim via the Information Commissioner's Office for a GDPR violation of personal data (and, no, it doesn't have to have my name on there - it just needs to be data that can be linked to a particular person or persons).

      1. rmacd

        Brilliant, thanks Lee ... will be doing that. Didn't realise it was "potential" damage for data loss.

      2. rg287 Silver badge

        It's also about attitude.

        You can have a sizeable breach, but if you took all reasonable steps - patched, segmented the network, enforced strong passwords, MFA, etc and someone got in because oh, say, a well-respected firewall vendor (*cough* Sophos *cough*) had a serious RCE bug being exploited in the wild, then ICO will take a very sympathetic view to you. You did everything you reasonably could.

        As compared to a web-facing dashboard with no auth and no attempt at auth, spilling out PII for years which clearly wasn't properly configured at installation and should never have been accepted by the customer in such a state.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "DPA/GDPR lawsuits don't care about the actual consequences, they care about the potential consequences."

        Which is the EXACT response any journalist worth his/her salt should be using when they get that canned bullshit routine, then listen for the sharp intake of breath

    3. eldakka Silver badge

      Who knows how long this has data has been freely online / available for?

      Well, we do have an upper bound, 6 years, since the ANPR system wasn't installed until 2014, with the 'clean zone' purpose being added in 2018.

    4. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      I was in the area just a few weeks ago and am livid.

      So what data are 'they' collecting from you, where ever you are, now?

      This is just the tip of the iceberg. And they wonder why we hate the snoopers' charter.

      Stay at home. Get your mistress on Skype -- no, wait, Zoom. That's apparently got better porn. :-)

    5. TonyJ Silver badge

      I came to say exactly the same. How the holy fuck can they claim no one came to harm?

      At least "lessons will be learned". God, I hate that sentence. Utterly meaningless.

      Next question - why are we being mass-surveilled in this way? What possible justification can there be? Oh yeah, terrorists.

      1. flayman

        Everyone in that system came to harm, because unauthorised disclosure equals harm under data protection rules.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        why are we being mass-surveilled in this way? What possible justification can there be? Oh yeah, terrmotorists.

        FTFY

    6. phuzz Silver badge

      I'd be surprised if whoever set up a publicly facing web portal with no security whatsoever actually had a working log setup, so "to the best of our knowledge", is probably not fucking much.

  6. MJI Silver badge

    If I lived there

    I would want to trawl it to look for my details

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: If I lived there

      It depends on the coverage. If it extended to the "smart" M1" it might not make much difference if you lived there, you'd just have to be travelling past.

      Smart but lethal.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: If I lived there

        Motorways are Highways England/Transport Scotland. Different people.

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: If I lived there

      Or your wife's details. Or neighbour. Or the pretty lass who works at the local pub. You could see where the boss really went when he left early to go to a business meeting. And your wife could see whether you really are working late at the office every Wednesday.

      If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, citizen.

    3. Graham Cobb

      Re: If I lived there

      Can I log a data protection query to find out if my registration number was stored on the database before it was secured?

      Can everyone in the country?

      How about the council just sending an apologetic letter, and a compensation payment (in lieu of having to handle all these requests and an ICO fine), to the registered owner of every vehicle which was stored in the database at any time before it was secured?

      That might start to concentrate minds on whether it was worth doing in the first place.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: If I lived there

        A colleague lives there.

        Currently DIYing as he does the installs.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: If I lived there

        "Can I log a data protection query to find out if my registration number was stored on the database before it was secured?"

        Yes

        And to make it harder for them, you can also request logs of when your data was accessed

  7. davenewman

    Sheffield is one of the (mostly Labour) councils who have used the Coronavirus crisis to delegate all powers to the CEO with no oversight at all from elected councillors (except the leader of the Labour group). Oxford is another. The Stalinists are taking over in local councils (as opposed to Conservative Ministers in Whitehall shitting on us).

    1. Wenlocke

      To be fair, coming from Sheffield, I can state that the authoritarian crap coming out of the chief executive has naff all to do with party politics, and everything do with with assholes given power.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        The People's Republic of South Yorkshire is alive and well.

        1. Wilseus

          My parents live in Warrington and it's pretty much the same there according to what they tell me. The Borough council can do whatever they hell they like, and boy do they.

  8. Lotaresco Silver badge

    Brownie?

    " along with the folding Brownie camera-like graphic"

    The bodies of folding Brownie cameras were much thinner than shown in the graphic. The graphic also doesn't suggest a folding camera. It's more like a medium format bellows camera such as a Mamiya RB67 although the tall shape is similar to a twin lens reflex. Mostly for some weird reason these signs are erected upside down with the bellows pointing to the left. I'm guessing most roadside sign installers have never seen one and the signs don't come with "this way up" markings on the back.

    1. trsanford

      Re: Brownie?

      I wondered too. It looks like a single-lens reflex with internal vertical rollfilm transport (e.g., Curt Bentzin Primar), but those didn't use bellows focusing. The designers of those little glyphs enjoy a good deal of artistic license.

      1. hmv Silver badge

        Re: Brownie?

        It may be that the designers were required to avoid making the glyph look too much like any one specific camera - just convey the idea of a camera. Given how outdated it is, and given the subject perhaps Sauron's eye would be more appropriate?

  9. BenDwire Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    Colour me surprised

    So, a system was put in with all good intentions to help 'solve' the current environmental issues by creating a cleaner air area, but had the unintended side effect of tracking all citizen's vehicles wandering in and out of that area. Us plebs might have expected some attention to detail in order to preserve some semblence of privacy.

    What then of the next system which is being installed to help 'solve' the current pandemic crisis by logging the lack of social distancing, which also has the intended (sic) side effect of tracking individual citizens at all times. Thankfully every country has realised the implications of things accidently or maliciously going wrong by decentralising that data. Oh wait, all apart from the NHS because they know much better, and nothing could possibly go wrong. A bit like the last scheme when heath records got given to Google.

    I dispair of the people making these decisions. They are clearly not worth their over-inflated salaries ...

    1. Julz Silver badge

      Re: Colour me surprised

      They are making decisions based upon criteria that weight choices in ways wildly different to what most people on this forum would use. But, yes, still probably not worth their self regulated salaries.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Colour me surprised

      "the current environmental issues"

      This is the council that, some years ago, had some representative appearing on local TV news bragging about how some new venture had brought so many new jobs to the area followed a few weeks later by another representative appearing on local TV news to bewail their traffic problems. The fact that there might be a connection between jobs and traffic never occurred.

      It's also council whose approach to environmental issues is to cut down a lot of its trees wnilst being quite aggressive to those citizens who opposed that.

    3. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Colour me surprised

      What then of the next system which is being installed to help 'solve' the current pandemic crisis by logging the lack of social distancing, which also has the intended (sic) side effect of tracking individual citizens at all times.

      Fortunately, monetizing this would be difficult. Local authority investment in congestion charging, clean air zones, cameras monitoring bus lanes, parking wardens etc is entirely geared to making those cash registers ring. Despite all the marketing bullshit, any environmental benefits from these schemes are entirely incidental to their purpose.

      1. BenDwire Bronze badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Colour me surprised

        I don't think monitization is the problem here, It's the incompetance factor, potentially leaking personal data when a decentralised approach would prevent that by design.

        Of course for the paranoid amongst us, "infected by association" quickly becomes "guilty by association". We'd never need a plod on the beat again ...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Colour me surprised

          The issue is a little more than subtle than thinking of guilt by association. It's the underlying assumption that the individual doesn't matter.

          Government - at all levels - then starts thinking in abstractions: hard-working families, the vulnerable, minorities, elites and the like. All manner of things can then be done in the name of supporting or opposing such abstractions because it becomes permissible to trample on the rights of individuals regardless of whether the action is supposed to be supporting those abstractions of which the individual might reasonably supposed to be a member.

  10. Dwarf Silver badge

    GDPR

    Looks like a candidate for a fine for incorrectly managing personally identifiable information (PII)

    1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      Ah yes, a 'fine'...

      ... and guess who'll pay said fine? That's right, not the Council Leader, not The Chief Constable, the people of Sheffield. Oh joy...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah yes, a 'fine'...

        It needs to be prison.

        Companies pay GDPR fines because it, in theory, hurts them commercially. They suffer a loss of face, and if they pass their increased costs onto customers they become less competitive.

        Governments though arent something where there's a market. You can't easily go to another council. So the cost should be non-financial and levied on the people who were responsible for the breaches.

        So, to gaol with them.

        1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

          Re: Ah yes, a 'fine'...

          "You can't easily go to another council."

          In the short term, probably not. But if people are deciding whether to move in (or out), this sort of behavio(u)r might weigh on their decision. Same holds true of businesses deciding where to open offices or production facilities.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ah yes, a 'fine'...

          AC posted: "You can't easily go to another council."

          Yes, you can. It's even easier than (prospective) MPs who live in one constituency but (want to) represent another. The trick is making sure that the staff who google you don't find out why you left the last one...

          I'm posting AC because we had a new department head brought in to cut costs because they had done so well at another council. According to their own web page they had reduced costs by being a good manager and organiser. According to the residents of that council, the costs had been cut by closing facilities and dumping staff. That department head is no longer with us, having moved on to their next victim - oh so sorry, employer. The staff they cut did not have the luxury of moving straight into new jobs and the rest of us are still doing the same work just with fewer people.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: GDPR

      Good luck.

      A number plate isn't classed as personably identifiable and as it was taken in a public place, you'll be hard pressed to get this through.

      You can try, but pretty sure you'll fail.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: GDPR

        > A number plate isn't classed as personably identifiable and as it was taken in a public place, you'll be hard pressed to get this through.

        Not when taken at random but it is when you know who the plate belongs to e.g. spying on the wife or the boss as was mentioned earlier in the thread.

      2. Barrie Shepherd

        Re: GDPR

        "A number plate isn't classed as personably identifiable and as it was taken in a public place, you'll be hard pressed to get this through."

        I am the only driver of my car, Sheffield Council will have access to the DVLC to identify registered keepers (hence drivers) and the cameras will also capture facial images in some cases. As a one off that may not hold much weight under GDPR but the entering all the collated information into a database with a mechanism to track individual cars (i.e. drivers) in real time, and historically, seems to be overreach. It is also unclear who has access to the data base and camera images, how they are archived, for how long and the security of that information.

        If I operate a home CCTV system, that covers any areas outside of my property boundary, I am open to GDPR Subject Access Requests and must respond to anyone making such a request. Sheffield City Council, as far as I can tell, do not have any exemption (in relation to this camera network) from individual Subject Access Requests.

        Lets hope that residents of Sheffield put in a few SARs to see what the response from the mandarins is.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: GDPR

        "A number plate isn't classed as personably identifiable "

        Where did you get *that* idea? It definitely is as personal as phone number or street address, according to GDPR.

        Another councilperson talking?

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: GDPR

      Unfortunately, fines in these situations are, in effect, paid by the victims. The money is Sheffield residents' hard earned.

      The actual perpetrators don't have to pay it out themselves.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: GDPR

        "The actual perpetrators don't have to pay it out themselves."

        No reason why not. GDPR makes provision for those with responsibilities to be prosecuted.

  11. Barrie Shepherd

    "However, it is important to be very clear that, to the best of our knowledge, nobody came to any harm or suffered any detrimental effects as a result of this breach."

    Oh that good makes it all a non issue the /s

    Not that they have any way of knowing

    1. Julz Silver badge

      But saying out loud puts a stake in the ground that since no fiscal damage was done, no grounds for suing the council exists.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Not true under the old DPA, let alone GDPR.

        Many, many, many organisations have been sued where no actual access of data could ever be proven, but where only the potential for such existed (e.g. posted a disc of data and losing it in the post).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Shutting down access means that I can't conveniently expunge my and my associates' vehicular movements from the records any more. I might suffer fiscal damage now it has been taken away!

        - Jon Q. Crim.

    2. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Having seen in the past that someone was caught out cheating on his wife when she spotted his car on Google Maps, outside the flat of the mistress he promised he had given up, which resulted in much nastiness I can't see how the leak of number plate and location information can be considered harmless. What he means is "We didn't ask, we didn't look and by not bothering to find out if anyone came to harm, we can deny it."

      Coming next that standard letter "Despite having built the system to the highest possible security standards a sophisticated attack by a network of hackers was able to exploit a rare software vulnerability that was the responsibility of the manufacturer. An innocent person employee has been disciplined for this unacceptable, but fortunately rare, lapse of professional standards."

  12. steviebuk Silver badge

    Always abused

    ANPR is always abused. I put in a right to be forgotten request to the management company of the local Waitrose carpark. I was told "You're not getting a ticket so have nothing to worry about. We keep the ANPR data for 6 months to help with crime prevention." To which I pointed out that is illegal and against GDPR. You are only allowed to keep the plates for the time required, not 6 months. My car is not getting a ticket so you no longer need to hold the data. And further more ANPR is NOT to be used for CCTV purposes as you're claiming you are using it for"

    They deleted the plate shortly after. I requested it be removed from their backups also. I was ignored.

    1. Barrie Shepherd

      Re: Always abused

      "I put in a right to be forgotten request to the management company of the local Waitrose carpark. "

      I like your style:-)

      I shall start doing the same. In fact if we all made GDPR take down applications, the day after being scanned by these money grabbing inventions, it may overload their systems.

    2. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: Always abused

      Always make a Subject Access Request. It costs them serious money to respond.

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Always abused

        Although with a subject access request they have to confirm your ID so you have to mail it in.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Always abused

          This raises an interesting point. For ANPR the data subject is the registered keeper. The proof of the right of the registered keeper is the current registration held by the DVLA.

  13. Barrie Shepherd

    The evil in me thinks that the Reg should have just published the errant IP so we could all have a look in at our wives/girlfriend/mistresses/boyfriends all going about their daily 'business'.

    That way far greater exposure, of the level our Authorities can track us, would have occurred and the 'embarrassment' (if indeed they have any) of the Authorities would have been far greater.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are you kidding?

      Find out the locations visited and paths taken by every council vehicle. Every senior councilperson's personal vehicle. Those of their spouses and kids.

      Put all this out in the open, like they did.

      An eye for an eye, in this case, would greatly improve visibility for all concerned...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nah. It would just add a field "Councillors and their rent persons/drug addicted childrens number plates go here for automatic deletion to protect their safety" box.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not wanting to point any blame here but

    Sheffield City Council's IT is run by, who else, but Crapita. What a surprise.

    Current contract was in place since 2009, and was renewed in 2015 till 2022, so they are still the incumbent and have been since the 90's.

    Bearing in mind the contract includes;

    ICT (Hardware, Software, Infrastructure, Communications, Security)

    o Hardware supply (desktops & laptops)

    o Software

    o System Maintenance & Access

    o Managed Print o Bulk Printing

    o Networking

    o Storage

    o Intranet, Internet & Extranet provision

    o Telephone Communication (landline & mobile)

    o Systems & Internet Security

    o Help Desk Service

    (Contract is here on their DAM - https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam/sheffield/docs/business/contracts-and-tenders/Contract%20Data%20Sheet%20-%20Capita.pdf )

    Surely Capita (under the 'Systems and Internet Security' banner) should have been aware of any services under SCC's purview and secured them properly? Even a simple regular external penetration test would have picked this up very quickly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not wanting to point any blame here but

      You'd be pointing it in the wrong direction.

      1) Capita ceased to be Sheffield's IT partner as of January this year

      and

      2) Capita were never contracted to work on Sheffield's CCTV or Traffic systems.

  15. Drew Scriver Silver badge

    The promises are always the same, and the failures are always predictable.

    And yet society plows ahead and increases tracking. Next stop: track everyone's personal whereabouts so COVID-19 can be controlled. How long before its use is extended to crimes?

    Years ago I attended a keynote speech by an FBI special agent who focused on cyber crime. One of the points he made was that in the past governments had to go through a lot of trouble to spy on people. "Not anymore", he said, as he held up a smart phone. "Today people spend a lot of their own hard-earned money on the best tracking device the world has ever seen".

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      And putting their whole lives on Facebook and job history on linkedin.

      I, in the 90s, being the idiot that I am/was and was looking for unique ideas for my website, posted my whole CV on the site. Because I'd seen someone elses "cool" site do it. I still have the files from the late 90s backed up. I cringe now when I see it. What an idiot for putting my CV details online and realising, after reading the rest of my site, that is most likely why I never got any work offers, the not state of the CV. I'm glad, in that respect, I've grown up (I'm still 12 in my head and am not ashamed to still love Lego. But that site, was god awful and embarrassing. I appeared to pretend I was like the characters from Men Behaving Badly yet I was far far from it :) despite liking the show)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes - it always amused me when people (journalists) about 10 years ago stated getting very exercised about 'yoof' committing crimes such as muggings and posting the film to the internet - A TERRIFIED girl of 12 cowered on the ground as a teenager rained blows on her - while the thug's friends filmed the attack on a mobile phone. . At the time I thought we ought to be encouraging yobs to film their crimes, as you think a film might just help the police prosecute.

    So the logical next step is mandate that cameras on all phones are on all the time. Because after all 'won't someone think of the children NHS?'

  17. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    FAIL

    Y'know, if the UK ever implements 'none of the above' voting

    There are going to be an awful lot of disappointed electoral hopefuls...

  18. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Never ascribe to mailce ...

    Never ascribe to malice or evil intent what can be explained by a combination of negligence and incompetence. These programmes are devised by people with one track minds focused narrowly on a single objective, the contracts are assigned to corporations to which only the financials are of interest, and the systems are implemented by folks who are scarcely competent in IT. Thereafter nobody ever checks whether things are robust, functional, or, commonly, even working.

    I very much doubt whether anyone, other than possibly a malicious outsider, would ever even look at the majority of the data collected. However that doesn't excuse the screw-up. Nor does it excuse extorting from motorists who can't afford newer cars for the dubious privilege of driving through Sheffield.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Never ascribe to mailce ...

      The reason for the breach doesn't matter. The fact that the data is being collected and stored in the first place is what's wrong. If the data is being collected for the purpose being given, then it could and should be stored in a format that anonymises the vehicles - e.g create and store a one-way hash of the plates before they are stored anywhere. Which could be done with just a single line of additional code.

      1. TimMaher Bronze badge
        Angel

        Re: Never ascribe to mailce ...

        That single line exists.

        It goes “// TODO Add hashing of plates. Check at next scrum; what size salt should I use?”

    2. Ordinary Donkey Bronze badge

      Re: Never ascribe to mailce ...

      At some point stupidity needs to stop being a get out of jail card. If you're that stupid you need banning from ever being near anything with edges. Chuck them in an oubliette and oubliez.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Never ascribe to mailce ...

      "These programmes are devised by people with one track minds focused narrowly on a single objective, the contracts are assigned to corporations to which only the financials are of interest,"

      And this is why we should demand more than anodyne statements when things go wrong.

      The possibility of personal punishment might lead minds to focus on more than one thing and a single contract worth less than a few percent of global turnover might make the financial return on implementing things properly worth while.

  19. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Trollface

    Another shining example of glorious modern technology being used to keep track of where everywhere is and fight crime!

  20. EnviableOne Silver badge

    Location of DPIA

    in the cellar, down the non-existant stairs, where the lights are off, on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard"

  21. jospanner Bronze badge

    Reasons why Jo is a libertarian socialist #2845672

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are ICO Fine with this?

    So will Sheffield Council have to put rates up to pay the ICO fine?

    If I was living in the area I would be kicking off.

  23. TheSkunkyMonk

    I don't get it I always thought these institutions spent hundreds of thousands on compliance if not millions? Not one person thought to read iso27001? Mind should you even need to read it to know to put a password on an external system. Just got to love these modern "experts" not a clue most of them.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Just got to love these modern "experts" not a clue most of them.

      Unless your idea of an expert is the cheapest pair of hands that can be recruited by the cheapest off-shored outsourcer there are no experts involved.

  24. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I remember in the early noughties the IT Working Group met in a basement room behind the central heating boilers.

  25. trindflo
    Joke

    Great news!

    "do everything we can to ensure it will not happen again."

    So they are going to rip out all the cameras then?

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Great news!

      Unfortunately, no.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Great news!

      "do everything we can to ensure it will not happen again."

      Given that this was the result of their duty to ensure it couldn't happen in the first place this isn't reassuring.

      I find it deeply annoying that those making such anodyne statements never get directly challenged on them.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A fait accompli

    All done and dusted in my neck of the woods. These heathen devices were installed without so much as a consultation or announcement. If you look closely, they are everywhere All the "A" roads into town covered, naturally, and quite a few rural roads that you might not expect them to be on. I think it's an affront to privacy.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well this will see the fall of Labour from Sheffield City Council, not many Labour councils still left standing. These Labour aficionados really must get up to speed with the use of technology, maybe they should take a leaf out of Boris Johnson's IT tech handbook and start keyword stuffing their speeches. https://gizmodo.com/did-boris-johnson-ramble-about-model-buses-to-manipulat-1835903361

  28. Vaughtex

    No shock

    Can't say as this surprises me about anything run by Sheffield Council. I've lived there most of my life and never seen anything except a string of useless individuals ruin a once great city. This you recall the council that built an airport, but didn't make it quite long enough to be commercially viable, safe in the knowledge that the original deal included the clause that sold the site back to the developers for £1 if it wasn't viable. Don't tell me that this didn't benefit someone, somewhere in the process.

    As for whoever gave the party political breakdown of the council, they failed to mention that the actual power lies with clique of 10 individuals, who take all the major decisions behind closed doors and there's currently a public campaign to force these decisions that affect over half a million citizens to be carried out rather more democratically shall we say.

    Sheffielder's usually decry those from and the city of Leeds, what they should be doing is looking why Leeds has thrived and follow suit, but fail to make the link that electing someone different just to see if they make the same mess as we have now might be an idea.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: No shock

      I am originally from South Yorkshire (not been resident for about ten years now), and it is difficult to appreciate just how useless the councils (Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham) actually are. Sheffield has done the best of the four post-Thatcher - there has been some actual adherence to a long-term plan to re-invent the place since the heavy industry went - but the others, especially Rotherham, have wavered and wobbled until they have made the major areas very unattractive. Complete ambivalence to, bordering on hatred of, motorists has killed town centres. This is made worse by killing the town-centre accommodation market, so that the centres are dead after 5pm. Rotherham, for example, has a lot of town-centre estate on waterfront, but every attempt to build residential property there has been killed by the council for no good reason. I could go on, but won't - I'll just leave it that, though in my heart I love the area I come from, and I miss it badly sometimes, I will never go back now that I have seen how other councils can work well.

    2. juice Silver badge

      Re: No shock

      > Can't say as this surprises me about anything run by Sheffield Council. I've lived there most of my life and never seen anything except a string of useless individuals ruin a once great city. This you recall the council that built an airport, but didn't make it quite long enough to be commercially viable, safe in the knowledge that the original deal included the clause that sold the site back to the developers for £1 if it wasn't viable.

      There was also Don Valley Stadium; when the council ran out of money in 2013, that was sold off and demolished indecently quickly (announced in January, sale completed and site demolished by November of the same year).

      And then there was Park Hill Flats (as seen a few times in recent Dr Who episodes)- a decaying, brutalist lump of social housing which had been hanging around the council's neck for years, partly thanks to the fact that it's grade 2 listed.

      Sold to a dodgy company - one of the ones which funds construction work by pre-selling the apartments-to-be. Sadly, this all happened just as a recession kicked in; combined with the fact that repairing grade 2 buildings is expensive, this led to the plans being massively scaled back. This was all kicked off back in 2009; over a decade later, half the flats are still pending refurbishment.

      Or the amazing "billion pound" deal with a Chinese construction company in 2016, which completely failed to materialise. Which is perhaps a blessing in disguise, as the same company wanted to purchase Sheffield's central library and convert it into a hotel.

      Or the move of Sheffield Market from Castlegate (conveniently next to the bus station and train station, as well as being on the tramline and just off the M1 access motorway) to the Moor (not near to any of the above). Oddly, footfall plummeted after the move!

      Mind you, we now have their latest brainwave - a 20-year, £1.5 billion investment for the area around the train station. At the minute, the tram-tracks go behind the station, while the inner ring road goes in front of it; from the renders, the main thrust of this plan is to swap these around.

      What the renders don't show is quite how this is going to work, seeing as there's probably a good 4 meters difference in elevation between the front and back of the station, and there's a tramline "hub" sat at the top of this elevation, just a few hundred meters from the station.

      Oh, and then there's a lumpen concrete tramline bridge at the far side, which takes trams an extra meter or so higher as they pass by Norfolk Park.

      So in this brave new world, trams will somehow have to drop 4 meters so that they can rumble alongside the front of the station. And then once they're past the station, they'll have rise back up 5 meters.

      And they'll have to cross the train tracks, at the same time.

      Still, with the council's track record, I'm sure it'll all be a blinding success!

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: No shock

        I wasn't aware of the regeneration plans for the station area. There is no way short of radically redesigning the entire place from scratch* that the outcomes can be met! The stupid seems to be fermenting and foaming out of the bucket!

        *Of course, the council could have taken "Threads" as a "disruptive idea". (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090163/ for those not familiar with the reference).

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: No shock

        "a 20-year, £1.5 billion investment for the area around the train station."

        As someone who has travelled into Sheffield on and off for the last 20 years or so, they only just finished the improvements around the front of the station in the last 5 years or so after YEARS of roadworks. Are you saying they are planning on ripping all that back out and starting again?

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: No shock

      "Don't tell me that this didn't benefit someone, somewhere in the process."

      That'll be the Robin Hood Airport?

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: No shock

        No, Dr S - the original post refers to Sheffield City Airport, which ran alongside the Sheffield Parkway. The entire history of the airport reveals lots of bad faith from the beginning (the site was a good, but not optimal, choice), and that reversion clause required a special type of genius ...

        Robin Hood Airport at Bawtry is the old RAF Finningley Vulcan bomber base with a runway to match. Its reason for severe under-performance comes from being owned by Peel Group.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: No shock

          Being in the middle of nowhere with poor public transport links probably doesn't help much either.

          Also, it's nearly as far east of Sheffield as Manchester airport is west.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: No shock

            Very true - whilst the A1 has been significantly upgraded, it isn't an easy journey from anywhere, except maybe Retford or Newark! However, the Peel Group have had a very... interesting time over the last decade or so.

  29. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Chewie Sweet

    I was wrongly blacklisted as a peace protester in 2002. You might already know this from the fact I never shut up about it. Calimero Syndrome set in and I quickly started protesting everything reflexively.

    ANPR cameras were just being rolled out on motorways, and being used against peace protesters. Every half mile on a motorway, especially on bridges, there'd be a camera mostly powered by a solar panel, linked to a power cell and communications cell. They all also had a metal plaque stating 'This is not a speed camera' presumably to protect them from vandalism.

    I taught people how and why to vandalise them. Some protesters were altruistic, fighting against mass surveillance. Some of them were just thieves. There were various options.

    You could just spray paint the camera or the solar panel - simple, quick and undetectable as long as you didn't park your car right in front of the camera. Or you could dismantle the components - solar panel, camera, cell, et cetera.

    There were three different companies installing these at the time, different boxes, different screws and nuts. One pupil asked me how they would judge the size of a nut on the box before they returned to strip it, and I pressed a soft candy on it to get the impression. Some had rare security fixings that you had to go to RS Components to overcome.

    A couple of you will think 'but will nobody think of the terrorists?' I refer you to the Glasgow Airport attack. The terrorists drove from London to Paisley after their first failed attack, and if the ANPR system worked then they'd have been intercepted. It's not to catch terrorists, it's to catch you out.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't matter if the information is publicly available...

    ...what matters is that the "authorities" have it, can process it, track you and can persecute you. That's it. End of.

    If some private bods can also see it ....who cares? The fact that the "gummint" can see it is all you need to be worried about.

  31. cam
    Trollface

    Those of us who cycle and don't use mobile phones watch, and smile.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As the algorithm fires up:

      moving object detected

      mobile signal = false

      ANPR = false

      engage dodgy character face recognition tracking protocol

      scramble black drone

  32. TheSkunkyMonk

    https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/penetration-testing

    Shame no one read the governments own guidance. https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/penetration-testing

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did they send a copy of the database to Cheltenham.....

    .....every week....or did GCHQ just hack it and take copies.....since it was just there out in the open?

    *

    Philip Hammond gave them a billion pounds (billion with a "b") to try to prevent this sort of thing, so they'd start by taking backup copies just in case....don't you think!!

    *

    I think we should be told!!

  34. autisticatheist
    Coat

    You couldn't make it up

    Britain is fucked, in so many ways. So glad I left many years ago. Icon: I got my coat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You couldn't make it up

      Good, at least that's one less smug, self-satisfied pillock in our society!

      1. TonyJ Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: You couldn't make it up

        "..Good, at least that's one less smug, self-satisfied pillock in our society!.."

        Another bitter, small-minded, anon coward posting. And it;s only Wednesday!

  35. razorfishsl

    The labor councils "jew/muslim" tracking database.

    Just mark the address of every mosque & synagogue, see how long they stayed in the area.

  36. Andy Denton

    Let's not lose sight of the real problem here.....

    ....the numbers on that website are LEFT-JUSTIFIED!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's not lose sight of the real problem here.....

      The numbers are sorted ALPHABETICALLY. That is why they are left justified.

      And even worse - the dates and times are in American format. Maybe God's Own Country wants to move across the Atlantic.

  37. NIck Hunn

    It's just practice for the Covid tracing app

    If you think 726 million scans a year is a lot, just wait until they've got the Bluetooth Covid tracing app out. That's going to generate around 2.5 trillion contact data points every year. Probably all stuffed into the cloud equivalent of a wet paper bag.

  38. flayman

    For actual fuck's sake!

    I'm sorry, but I find I'm unable to comment on this without swearing.

  39. Screwed
    Coat

    Random utterly unconnected thought.

    One for each bicycle in Beijing.

  40. juice Silver badge

    Ah, Sheffield

    Sheffield is a funny old place. At peak, it's the usual nightmare, especially when it comes to the roundabouts over by Sheffield Uni on the inner ring road.

    But off peak, it's relatively nice and easy to drive around, partly because the city centre is physically smaller and lower-density than places like Leeds or Manchester.

    On the other hand, the council has done it's best to make things increasing convoluted, with a few "carefully" placed one-way systems and bus-only lanes.

    West Street is perhaps the best example of this; the top end has had a peak-time bus gate rule in place since 2010. And in 2018, they switched on some ANPR cameras to enforce this rule.

    And to be fair, this is next to the aforementioned hot-spot on the inner ring road, so it makes sense to limit traffic at peak.

    But... the signage is highly confusing; the first sign appears about 300m before the junction, then there's a second "reminder" sign at 200m and a final "bus gate ahead" sign at 100m.

    So at a glance, you'd expect the rule to apply at the 200m - or possibly even the 100m - mark. But no, it starts at the 300m mark; the ANPR camera is actually mounted on the same set of traffic lights which the first warning sign is mounted on.

    Better yet, there's a car park just after the 300m mark, down a side road on the left. So to access this car park during peak, you have to turn *right* just before the 300m, then turn left to drive over a *pedestrianised* area just in front of the main entrance to a university building (which as a result is usually rammed with scurrying students) and then turn left again to cross back over West Street to get access to it.

    This has also had a not-so-nice economic impact as well; there used to be a number of shops at the top of West Street, as well as a traditional Turkish Spa. And ever since the ANPR cameras were activated, they've taken a huge financial hit and some have had to close.

    https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/politics/sheffield-spa-closes-over-bus-gate-fines-cash-scam-row-494323

    Equally/ironically, there's a covenant which means the council is responsible for keeping the Turkish Spa open. So between the loss of business rates and the need to subsidize the Spa, it's entirely possible that the council is losing more money than it's gaining from having the ANPR cameras switched on...

    (Disclaimer: I was caught out by the above ANPR cameras a while ago, when picking my car up after an MOT. Not that I'm bitter or anything!)

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Ah, Sheffield

      All cities are awful to drive in if you aren't from the area but even 20 years ago, Sheffield seemed to be taking a perverse anti-car stance.

      I remember trying to get to an HSBC office. It had a car park and a parking space had been allocated for my arrival.

      After circling the streets for around 25 or 30 mins - literally in view of said building - I could find no streets that I could legally drive down to get any closer. I ended up parking in a pay and display.

      I asked someone when I got there and he had to draw me a map. I remember it being one of the most convoluted little sections of driving I've ever done, and if I recall, it meant crossing a pedestrianised area that if you hadn't been told otherwise, you'd have bet real money you would be fined for entering.

      1. juice Silver badge

        Re: Ah, Sheffield

        > After circling the streets for around 25 or 30 mins - literally in view of said building - I could find no streets that I could legally drive down to get any closer. I ended up parking in a pay and display.

        Admittedly, the area around the cathedral is a royal PITA to navigate around unless you have the local "knowledge". F'instance, it's a 1.3 mile walk from where I live to the cathedral, but if I wanted to drive there, the quickest route would be 2.8 miles...

        Perhaps the best bit is by the bus station, which is sat at the bottom of one of Sheffield's many hills; there's a large concrete lump built into this hill, atop of which is an ex-nightclub which is now an O2 Academy venue.

        And there's a side road by the bus station called Pond Street, which has a vast swathe of parking which is free at evenings and weekends. And so I directed a friend there one night when they drove over for a gig.

        Except... they couldn't find the free parking area, and instead had to park up in the overly expensive NCP car park which is buried in said concrete lump.

        Turns out that there's actually two Pond Streets; these were once a single road, but when the bus station was put in place, this was cut into two and a pedestrian zone inserted between the two new (and heavily reshaped) halves.

        But no-one thought to rename either of these new roads, and modern GPS systems insist on taking you to the "bus-station" Pond Street rather than the "free parking" Pond Street...

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Ah, Sheffield

        That definitely seems to be a deliberate tactic in some councils. I used to work in Hackney ( pre satnav) and there were certain buildings I couldn't get to in the car. I could see them, a mere 50 yds to the right* (say).. But the road would be a No right Turn. As would the next and the next and the next for a mile or two. Then there would suddenly be a compulsory left turn that took me back the way I'd come from, in a parallel road, And all the (now left) turnings, that would take me back to where I wanted to actually be would end with a compulsory Left turn, that would take me back down past all the roads I'd already passed........

        I still wake up sweating from nightmares about this. Decades later.

        *Before you wonder, there were double yellow lines everywhere, so I couldn't just park and walk either..

  41. peterw52

    Too much credit

    I think replies here are giving the council too much credit for conscious intent. I generally judge things as "conspiracy or cock up" and I think this is definitely in the cock up camp. From my knowledge of local councillors they are not clever enough for conspiracy. People who are really good at conspiracy either become criminals or go into the city!

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Too much credit

      Yes and no. Judging by the pages of Private Eye there are definitely a fair number of councils where Cllr. Thingummy owns a development company, or his her spouse or their brother does. And said Cllr seems to be able to make sure that planning decisions to,say, build a block of ugly flats in front of a natural beauty spot get through despite much of the town protesting. Said Cllr usually getting re-elected because of membership of the party that is always in power......

  42. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The Beeb's report (it name-checks el Reg BTW) includes a reminder of past email problems at Sheffield.

    Perhaps there's a need for the ICO to be able to put a public body into special measures and appoint an official of their own choosing at the body's expense and with executive authority in the body to oversee all aspects of their handling of PII.

  43. fraunthall

    Fascists, but stupid

    Not only are the British politicians and bureaucrats in Sheffield nasty fascists, but they are stupid and incompetent. The latter is a good thing, isn’t it?

  44. codemonkey
    Go

    So what?

    Publish it. Who cares. Full broadcast. I don't care who knows where my car, or myself, have been.

    Can't do any harm, can it? Oh, wait, you're thinking robbers and stuff, and your house would get done...well, get cameras everywhere..see them get round that. Full publish. No harm.

    As long as we allow an elite to control this stuff, then there can be abuses. If we make it all open source and public domain, then there's nothing they can monetise that anyone else can't. And, more over, everyone would be on the system...

  45. Barrie Shepherd

    For anyone who has driven in Sheffield, and is concerned about the breach and the overreach it has revealed, Sheffield City Council have a Subject Access Request web portal;

    https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/your-city-council/subject-access-request

    You can make a request concerning CCTV footage. The response from Sheffield, when it comes, should give insight into what they do with the data, how long it's stored and who they allow to access the data.

    I hope their inbox is quickly filled!

  46. rcw88

    Don't think much to their camera numbering convention

    I thought 3M made sticky tape, not sticky databases.

    WTF is camera number 0. The Peoples Republic of Sheffield strikes again.

    Never underestimate the ability of a PUBLIC SERVANT to royally screw you over at any and every possible opportunity. They seem to forget who pays their wages and their pension. Local councils don't quite have a monopoly on this, but they sure get close for officials of councils ducking their responsibility and abusing their position when confronted with a legitimate complaint by a member of the council tax paying public.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ANPR has come a long way...

    It's been an age (late 70s?) since I first saw an ANPR setup. Cameras on the Watery Lane overbridge just north of junction 9 on the M1, with a Prime computer in a Portakabin in a layby just down the lane. I didn't fancy the idea much then either...

    1. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: ANPR has come a long way...

      It's been an age (late 70s?) since I first saw an ANPR setup. Cameras on the Watery Lane overbridge just north of junction 9 on the M1

      That seems unlikely. Although the concept was developed in the late 70s the prototype systems didn't appear until 1979 and those were installed on the M25 and A1, not the M1. Maybe some misremembering going on? Prototype systems were available in the 80s and Prime had 80386 based systems by the 80s.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ANPR has come a long way...

        You're right, brain fade, it was 1984 after an article in New Scientist prompted me to go and have a nose.

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