Skip to main content

Britain to Deploy Roadside 'Big Brother' System

ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras are being used to create a "24x7 national vehicle movement database" that will log the movement of every vehicle on the United Kingdom's roads. Your every move will be retained in the system for two years.

Besides "denying criminals the use of the roads", the system will also link to other databases to identify vehicles that are unregistered and untaxed. The system will be used in the war on terror; UK police have lobbied for detention periods of up to 90 days without charges for terror suspects. Once police have a tip or a suspect in custody, they can sift records of vehicle movement along with everything else.

The car waited for a break in the traffic, then dived into the high-speed stream and hurried north. Mary settled back for a nap. When its setting was about to run out, the car beeped for instructions; Mary woke up and glanced out. Lake Michigan was a darker band of darkness on her right. She signaled traffic control to let her enter the local traffic lane; it sorted out her car and placed her there, then let her resume manual control. She fumbled in the glove compartment. The license number which traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlways was not the number the car had been wearing. (Read more about Robert Heinlein's traffic control camera)

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com

Bill Christensen catalogues the inventions, technology and ideas of science fiction writers at his website, Technovelgy. He is a contributor to Live Science.