Feeds

UK car tracking database delayed to boost capacity

While Yorkshire police plan handheld checks

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The police have delayed crank starting their national car tracking database so they can keep more data about more people for longer periods of time.

Meanwhile, bleeding edge top coppers in West Yorkshire are working out how to arm bobbies on the beat with links to their local auto number plate recognition (ANPR) system. They want bobbies to have savvy intelligence that can tell law abiding citizens from rule breakers at their fingertips.

By now the national system, which grew out of an existing MI5 ANPR camera network, should have been clocking 35m registration plates a day with cameras placed on roadsides in town centres and major roads throughout the country. Yet the national centre is a mess of wires while police techies boost the system's capacity to 50m spooks a day.

The national ANPR database was due to be fired up in March but will not see life now till mid-summer because the original blue print has been extended, said John Dean, National ANPR co-ordinator for the Association of Chief Police Officers.

The central database will also keep details of peoples' car journeys for five years, said Dean. A limit of two years will apply only to data kept by regional forces.

Police ANPR records, which note who's gone where in their car, have caused concern on both sides of the surveillance cameras. Deputy Information Commissioner Jonathan Bamford is rewriting the CCTV code of practice to account for the bells and whistles that computers have added to Britain's network of surveillance cameras.

The CCTV user group, which represents local authorities and other proponents of surveillance such as shopping centres, has also begun to feel out of its depth.

Peter Fry, director of the CCTV User group said he was "concerned" about the links being created between town centre CCTV systems and ANPR systems, both of which are often operated by the police.

"Retaining images is fair enough if someone has committed a crime, but if not its an issue of how long the images should be kept," said Fry.

ACPO has also consulted the Information Commissioner, Britain's privacy guardian, and come up with a set of rules to restrict the use of the data collected by ANPR cameras.

However, it appears the restraints on police use of ANPR data have been dictated by pragmatism rather than a concern for civil liberties.

Giving every bobby free access to the system would overload the system, "make it unstable, slow it down", said Dean. With 50m clocks a day, over 18 billion ANPR records would be snatched every year. Queries of such a database might prove demanding if they were not managed properly.

ANPR records younger than 91 days would "probably" therefore be available only to police analysts, said Dean.

Anyone accessing older journey records will have to seek the signed authorisation of a police superintendent. Data between two and five years old would only be available to sleuths with permission from a chief officer, "and only for the utmost serious crime or terrorism." Audit trails would also record every query that was made.

Nevertheless, the West Yorkshire police force, which last month gave beat bobbies handheld computers with links to intelligence databases, is trying to add its ANPR database into the mix.

Paul Friday, director of information systems at West Yorkshire Police, said he had asked RIM, maker of the Blackberry handheld computer given to his coppers, about the technicalities of an ANPR link.

The police have most streets of Bradford covered by ANPR cameras, while Leeds is being wired. "Once that's stable we'll look at taking it onto BlackBerry," said Friday.®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.