26 Mln Images Captured Daily By Road Cameras in UK

Written by | Saturday, January 25th, 2014

The number of police cameras installed in Britain’s roads has almost doubled over the last three years. These cameras capture up to 26 million images every day and provide the police and intelligence agencies valuable data.
According to Guardian daily, there are now more than 8,000 cameras. Security officials say more cameras will be installed because they help to cut crime and save lives. However, the increasing number of cameras spurs serious concern among privacy advocates.
A British national database that stores pictures taken by the automated numberplate recognition (ANPR) cameras currently has 17 billion images in its archive – thought to be the biggest of its kind anywhere in the world. That number is expected to increase over the next five years with advances in technology.
According to some experts, road cameras will be able to capture and store between 50 million and 75 million images per day by 2018.
Two images are taken of every vehicle – one focused on the numberplate, and a second of the whole car, which often includes the face of the driver.
These pictures can be kept for up to two years and cross-checked for “hits” against the Police National Computer and other “hotlist” databases, including the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.
The automated numberplate recognition system (ANPR) was originally meant to record the details of cars that were already on a police watchlist. But forces had now begun recording every vehicle that passed one of the cameras.
Though there are currently no plans upgrade ANPR cameras with facial recognition technology, privacy advocates and campaigners say the police are acting more and more like an intelligence agency, gathering details about people’s lives. Who knows what for?

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