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Road cameras 'pose privacy threat'

There is a "very real risk" that members of the public are having their privacy impacted upon by the network of roadside surveillance in the UK, the Government's new Surveillance Camera Commissioner has warned.

Tony Porter said it was "crucial" that police officers be given clear guidance on using roadside automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, which line Britain's streets.

He told the Independent: "There is a very real risk that if systems aren't adhered to innocent members of the public could be put at risk of having their privacy impacted upon.

"I can see the value of understanding how many ANPR cameras there are. There are other concerns that have been expressed ... the large data-grab of information and the period of retention of that information."

"I think there has to be very clear guidance to officers about the way in which ANPR is used and once it has been used, ensuring that data is removed or at least is updated to that effect. I think that's crucial."

The former North West Counter Terrorism Unit commander, who was named as the new Surveillance Camera Commissioner in February, also spoke of the issue of the growing number of people who set up surveillance equipment outside their homes, which is not regulated.

"I've got a great deal of sympathy for anybody who feels that their own private space is being invaded by the use of a CCTV camera employed by a neighbour," he said.

"Police have harassment legislation and there may be some potential relief in the High Court for invasion of privacy but they are fairly complex processes for a disgruntled member of the public to go through."


From Belfast Telegraph