UK Liberty

Henry Porter on the ANPR

Posted in database state, freedom of information, surveillance society by ukliberty on September 15, 2008

In the Guardian:

The police ANPR database, which the Guardian today reveals will retain information from 50 million road journeys a day for five years, is a system that was never sanctioned or debated in parliament and which threatens the freedom of movement, assembly and protest. …

The article is worth reading, particularly:

The revelations in the Guardian today come from freedom of information requests [link doesnt work] made to the Home Office. In this context it is important to know that the dealings and discussions in Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), which has been largely responsible for pushing the ANPR system, remain hidden from public scrutiny. Because Acpo has limited company status and is not a public body, it does not have to comply with freedom of information laws.

It is bizarre on the face of it that a body with such influence over the public is not considered a public body for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act.  However, it may be worth noting that a chief officer of police in England and Wales is a public body under the Act, particularly given that the Home Office likes to pass the buck on to individual police forces when it suits.

Presumably at least one of the chief officers is privy to interesting information exchanged within his organisation and therefore we could extract it from him using the FOIA.


2 Responses

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  1. David Mery said, on September 16, 2008 at 4:25 am

    It is bizarre indeed and a concern when the ACPO takes over databases or processes that would or were otherwise on a strong legal footing. All state surveillance should go under the scrutiny of the Parliament and the Lords. Another example is

    br -d

  2. ukliberty said, on September 16, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Is there any statutory basis for anything the ACPO does?

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