Monday, March 28, 2005

No hiding place?

Unlike the States, where they're seen as a hot topic, CCTV systems are pretty much a lost battle for privacy advocates here in the UK following widespread adoption in the early 90's. However recently I've started to come across CCTV cameras that do automatic number plate recognition, especially in petrol stations where they've presumably been deployed to try and prevent people driving away without paying for their petrol.

I didn't think too much about this, because if you live in the UK and you're out in public, you pretty much have to count on having at least one camera pointing at you these days more or less all the time. What I hadn't realised was that the government intends to roll out these cameras nationally and that they're being connected up to central databases which could lead to police armed response units being dispatched over small database errors. Not a pleasant thought.

While accuracy is supposedly improving, so those small database errors hopefully won't be too common, this yet another stone in the path towards a society I don't really want to live in...