18 July 2007
A mistakenly released Home Office document shows plans to grant the police access to ‘real-time’ information from road traffic cameras. NO2ID (1) describes this as a tail on everyone’s car.
Guy Herbert, NO2ID General Secretary, said:
“The Home Office wants us to think that this is somehow different from an unmarked police car with plainclothes detectives who can tail you as they please. It is not. It represents a new power to record your journeys invisibly, secretly, without a warrant and without reason.
“In a free society, the police do not follow ordinary citizens around. But that is what the Government apparently wants”
The new scheme would represent a mass-exemption for the police from inconvenient parts of the Data Protection Act (2), and a new dominant purpose for existing camera networks, illustrating how the “safeguards” protecting personal privacy in other government databases and data-sharing schemes can be switched off at will. Government assurances are empty.
Guy Herbert added:
“If cameras built for speed monitoring and congestion charges can be turned into nationwide vehicle tracking system, then the National Identity Scheme and its database, unconvincingly claimed to be for our ‘convenience’, will easily become a means for officials to track and control you throughout your life.”
Notes for Editors:
1) NO2ID is the UK-wide, cross-party, non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing. NO2ID is affiliated to by the National Union of Journalists: http://www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=1595
2) BBC News Online http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6903902.stm