[Politech logo]

Politech is the oldest Internet resource devoted to politics and technology. Launched in 1994 by Declan McCullagh, the mailing list has chronicled the growing intersection of culture, technology, politics, and law. Since 2000, so has the Politech web site.

London tries facecams, recording all car license plate #s


From: Paul
To: <declan@well.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 13:22:40 +0000
X-URL: http://www.pocomail.com/
Subject: Observer article highlights dual purpose of London congestion 
charge system

[Please delete my email address and surname if you decide to post this.]

Hi Declan,

As readers may be aware, Ken Livingston, the Mayor of London, is 
introducing a scheme which he claims will significantly reduce road 
congestion in the capital. A ring of CCTV cameras has been installed which, 
from February 17th, will capture the car licence plate numbers of vehicles 
entering and leaving the central area of the city. The captured lists will 
then be matched against payments made for that day, and the results used to 
levy fines against non-paying drivers.

More information can be found here:

However, it seems that the intelligence services have been taking an 
interest in what, inevitably, must have looked like a fabulous 
"anti-terrorist" opportunity. See link to an article in today's The 
Observer below, followed by an excerpt.




Security role for traffic cameras

London's new charging zone helps to form 'ring of steel' guarding capital 
against al-Qaeda bombers

Mark Townsend and Paul Harris
Sunday February 9, 2003
The Observer

Security cameras will be able to zoom in on the faces of drivers entering 
London's congestion charge zone as part of a sophisticated 'ring of steel' 
around the capital.

The scheme, aimed at protecting the city from a terrorist attack, was 
developed with the intelligence services and allows hundreds of cameras to 
register individual faces.

Images will be cross referenced to intelligence and police databases of 

The Observer has discovered that MI5, Special Branch and the Metropolitan 
Police began secretly developing the system in the wake of the 11 September 

In effect, the controversial charging scheme will create one of the most 
daunting defence systems protecting a major world city when it goes live a 
week tomorrow.

It is understood the system also utilises facial recognition software which 
automatically identifies suspects or known criminals who enter the 
eight-square-mile zone.

Their precise movements will be tracked by camera from the point of entry.



POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
To subscribe to Politech: http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/
Declan McCullagh's photographs are at http://www.mccullagh.org/
Like Politech? Make a donation here: http://www.politechbot.com/donate/
Recent CNET News.com articles: http://news.search.com/search?q=declan

Enter your email address to join Politech, Declan McCullagh's moderated technology and politics announcement list:

Return to politechbot.com