European Data Protection Digest

Prevalence of Automatic Numberplate Recognition Raises ICO Concerns

SURVEILLANCE—UK

February 5, 2010

Police in England and Wales have confirmed they are feeding as many as 14 million reads per day from more than 10,000 ANPR-enabled cameras to a national database, a report published in The Register states. The Association of Chief Police Officers is "working with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to ensure that data retention is appropriate and proportionate," an association spokesperson confirms. The data, which includes cropped images of the plates, is stored for two years. The ICO has stated that while it recognizes the value of ANPR in the detection and prevention of crime, "it is important that where large amounts of personal information are collected and retained adequate safeguards are in place to protect individuals' privacy."
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