Privacy Commissioner consulted on number plate recognition trial
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Trialling of automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) by the Police was accompanied by consultation with the Privacy Commissioner and the drafting of a privacy impact assessment [PIA], says Police spokesman Ross Henderson.
This contradicts reports last month, which suggested the Privacy Commissioner was not consulted.
A spokesperson for the Privacy Commissioner’s office, Annabel Fordham, confirms “we have found we did receive a draft PIA on the proposal back in 2010, and a longish memo or note of some sort at the start of 2011. Ross’s comment is correct. I gather that both documents were actually under a Ministry of Justice header/logo rather than Police, although I believe [Police] is where they originated.”
In any case, says Henderson, “Police have qualified legal experts who were involved in development of the procedures for the ANPR trial to ensure they are consistent with privacy law and all other legal requirements as appropriate.”
Although the ANPR equipment can gather information from scores of vehicles in one period of deployment, the numbers retrieved are matched specifically against a database of “vehicles of interest” being sought in connection with possible offences. “All data obtained from ANPR deployments automatically drops off the ANPR database after six months,” says a Police manual.
“ANPR is an effective operational tool which has been successfully implemented by enforcement agencies around the world. It is designed to assist police to identify vehicles of interest (not individuals) without disrupting other road users,” Henderson says. “It is not used to detect minor traffic infringements.”
ANPR is “simply the automation of a process that would normally be done via a conversation between an officer and a communications dispatcher on the police radio,” says the spokesman, so ANPR should give little additional cause for privacy worries.
“If however, people have concerns regarding their privacy being breached, then contacting the Privacy Commissioner is one of the options available to them,” he says.
The ANPR trial has finished and the results, which are currently being evaluated, are expected within two months.
Posted by Anonymous at 20:24:56 on August 31, 2012
A more interesting conversation would be about automatic face recognition. The technology exists and is getting better all the time.
Posted by MikePearsonNZ at 8:51:42 on August 31, 2012
Posted by Anonymous at 13:09:10 on August 30, 2012
I would hope the system would be used to target individuals who have outstanding warrants, are driving a stolen car or have not paid their registration.
The police roading unit has been given a budget freeze for the next year which really means a small cut after rising costs are factored in. Any technology that can be used to make them more efficient is welcome. After all it is you and I who are paying their wages.
Posted by Andrew at 10:00:50 on August 30, 2012
I'm also appalled at the suggestion that LPR/ANPR systems are no more of an invasion of privacy than when the police radio in to check a license plate. That's absurd, every license plate the system sees will be checked and recorded. There's a massive difference between processing every license plate seen and targeted spot checks on suspicious vehicles. It's like the difference between hand-fishing and drift netting.
Finally, it's a blatant lie to claim the system won't be used to target individuals. How annoyed would the public be if they found out that a murderer wasn't pulled over in his own vehicle because the police "don't use LPR/ANPR to identify individuals".
So much lying from the people who are supposed to maintain order and honesty in a society, it's no wonder so many people hate the police when they treat the public with such contempt.
Posted by Steve K at 9:26:35 on August 30, 2012
Posted by heringgull at 23:16:44 on August 30, 2012
Posted by Anonymous at 9:57:54 on August 30, 2012