Monday, 26 October 2009

Schadenfreude is not the right word

Perhaps we need a new one, schadenreue?

For years now, people have been banging on about how great ANPR is, because it keeps uninsured fuckers off the road (no it fucking does not!) and achieves everything short of Gaia love. And all these years I've been wittering on about how the police could use them for nefarious purposes, like keeping track of us all?

Police ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Reader) units have been used before at Climate Camp actions to alert police to the arrival of ‘known’ activists. Police at Kingsnorth used ANPR to monitor and intercept activist cars as they arrived. It is possible that a similar strategy will be used in Nottingham.

The police have for some years been collecting the vehicle registration numbers of vehicles used to get to protests, gatherings and even meetings. If your registration number is on this list, it could be picked up by the ANPR system.

How does ANPR work?

Motorways have permanent ANPR cameras, but mobile units can also be used on minor roads. Mobile ANPR units can be covert and hard to spot, but they are usually transit sized vans marked with camera symbols.

The cameras automatically read the number plates of cars passing by. The on-board computer then checks the numbers against a number of different databases. This is usually car registration, insurance, MOT etc, but the ANPR units can also check if your car is on a list of ‘protest’ vehicles.

If the ANPR flags up a ‘hit’ the police can be instructed either to simply note the fact you have arrived (perhaps flagging you up for more targeted surveillance), or to intercept the car. If you are stopped the police have powers to search the car similar to those they would use on a pedestrian (see below).

So, we have police databases of "domestic extremists" and we have nationwide coverage of the roads, so they know where you are.

But really, it's quite cool because the police have safeguards so your data can't be mined without proper authorisation or anything. This information is not subject to misuse. You could never wind up in these databases if you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or anything.

If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.




MTG said...

It isn't as though the offence of failing to obtain prior police approval for a journey will heard in the courts any day now.

Such offences will be introduced gradually - allowing us a corresponding period of adjustment to the shameful burden of being accused of such a crime.

Pogo said...

I don't suppose that the average "climate camp crustie" would have the wherewithall to hire a different vehicle each time...?

Mitch said...

One of these poxy things cruised down the street where I work last Fri morning.A camera at each corner noting reg numbers.
This was just trawling for crims.

Captain Haddock said...

"Climate Camp Crusties" travelling to an Eco protest in a carbon-spewing motor vehicle ? .. Surely not ... Ha ha ..

The irony would be totally lost on them ..

Joe Public said...

"Mobile ANPR units can be covert and hard to spot, but they are usually transit sized vans marked with camera symbols."

Maybe Essex chavs have a stronger right-foot, they have to contend with Scooby WRXs & Mitsubishi Evos (EU55 JZF, EU07 OMD).

Anonymous said...

The ability of government to make you do something wrong is total: you will do something wrong and you have everything to fear.

One of the main jobs of the police today is to populate the DNA database - one day they will arrest you for something you didn't know was an arrestable offence and probably won't be, or even an offence at all, but once arrested, you are on the database and you have no comeback - the police won't even be guilty of false arrest. Oh no.

One day we will all be criminals. If fact we probably already are...

Anonymous said...

happy st crispins day

Leg-iron said...

You'll have to be careful who you buy a car from. If they look a bit, well, crusty, you could find you get stopped a lot.

Anonymous said...

I bought a car March 2008 and insured it with a well known company, in the April I tried to tax it online but the Database said it was uninsured, I informed said insurance company who apologised and promised they would put it straight on, despite lots of further calls it still shows as uninsured on the database. The car is used daily and so far hasn't been noticed by anyone so no it doesn't keep uninsured fuckers off the road .. but knowing sod's law I'm gonna get stopped today and have the book thrown at me!!!!!

Otto said...

In due course the list of domestic extremists will be expanded to include those well known rogues - Euro-sceptics. Whether the EU will issue an instruction to do so, or whether the police, ever willing to please their masters, will do so unbidden is a moot point.