Automatic License Plate Recognition is spreading worldwide like a cancer as governments become eager to track the movement of their citizens, many times under the guise of homeland security.
Arizona has become a hot testbed for such technology, starting first when Show Low decided to track their population like tagged cattle by using Redflex scam cams. One month later, CameraFRAUD discovered the technology being secretly tested in Scottsdale by American Traffic Solutions. The public exposure led to the equipment being quietly removed.
Of course, the Grand Canyon State’s largest and most advanced system for potential tracking would be the statewide automated ticketing system run by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Redflex. Composed of fixed and mobile units, Redflex has made it clear within the contract with the state that license plate tracking is available at the flip of a switch (assuming they aren’t testing it now like a kid in a candy store.)
Our friends across the pond are even further down the Orwellian rabbit hole, as the BBC reports:
A national network of cameras and computers automatically logging car number plates will be in place within months, the BBC has learned.
Thousands of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras are already operating on Britain’s roads. Police forces across England, Wales and Scotland will soon be able to share the information on one central computer… A number of local councils are signing up their Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems to the ANPR network. As long as the cameras are technically good enough, they can be adapted to take the software…
But not everyone thinks it is such a good thing.
John Catt found himself on the wrong side of the ANPR system. He regularly attends anti-war demonstrations outside a factory in Brighton, his home town. It was at one of these protests that Sussex police put a “marker” on his car. That meant he was added to a “hotlist”. This is a system meant for criminals but John Catt has not been convicted of anything and on a trip to London, the pensioner found himself pulled over by an anti-terror unit.
“I was threatened under the Terrorist Act. I had to answer every question they put to me, and if there were any questions I would refuse to answer, I would be arrested. I thought to myself, what kind of world are we living in?”