Buckinghamshire CC ANPR cameras

Ian Mason ukcrypto at sourcetagged.ian.co.uk
Tue Jan 10 15:07:17 GMT 2012

On 10 Jan 2012, at 14:14, James Firth wrote:

> I'm not condoning it, just pointing out the absurdity of arguing  
> against one
> technology whilst another technology has arguably a far more  
> intrusive data
> capture regime in place.

There's nothing "absurd" about arguing about a lesser evil while a  
greater evil exists. By extension it would be absurd to argue about  
methods of preventing theft while murder, rape and other offences  
against the person still existed.

Moreover, in the case of mobile location data, it is held by telcos  
and the state has to request (and pay for it) on a case-by-case basis,  
they don't have a wholesale catalogue of mobile phone movements. In  
the current ANPR case we're discussing, the state (the police) have  
the full, un-anonymized, data set directly.

 From my own direct experience of seeing the police from the inside,  
once they have a set of data about people they will dip into it  
casually as it suits their purposes with little or no internal  
controls operating to ensure that the use is necessary, justified,  
proportionate or any of the other words we'd like to see associated  
with such use*. When they have to stump up money to a third party, or  
a third party knows that there is a possible liability associated with  
releasing data, both act as controls on the extent of abuse or misuse  
that is likely. Granted, that is not a primary application of the  
necessary controls, nor is it as desirable as proper formal controls,  
but it is better than unfettered access.

* I once watched a PNC terminal used to run a check on the  
registration of the Prime Minister's armoured Jaguar that had just  
pulled up in front of the nick, "Just to see what it says". The only  
extant control at the time was a paper log book next to the PNC  
terminal that had to be filled in for every query. Needless to say, no  
log entry was made for this query. The terminal next to it provided  
access to the whole of the UK's electoral rolls, the one next to that  
accessed BT's directory enquiries system including ex-directory  
numbers - neither of those even had a log book. Anybody with access to  
the incident room had access to any of these three terminals. I hope  
and trust that better controls exist nowadays.


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