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Automatic number plate recognition now in car parks
We’re already one of the most surveillance-ridden societies anywhere in the world – but it seems even our parking habits are now under the scrutiny of big brother.
The Register is reporting that British car parks are increasingly being fitted with ‘SwishPark’ technology, which reads number plates and automatically deducts parking charges from car owners, or issues unregistered parkers with tickets.
With ANPR (number plate recognition) technology, every car entering a SwishPark site is automatically identified and tracked – then a company called Paythru collects the cash from registered users.
Unregistered users are given a bit of time to register an account and cough up, but if they don’t, will eventually receive a fine once the nice folks at the DVLA share their details with the companies involved in the scheme.
The problem is, with personal details linked to these accounts, Paythru has at its fingertips a lot of potentially valuable location-specific demographic data about the movements of registered users – like where and when they’ve parked somewhere for a start.
The companies involved claim to have no plans to use this data – but it does raise some privacy issues. The article in the Register claims Paythru highlighted a recent spike in car parking activity and realised it was due to the release of the latest Twilight movie.
And as they quite rightly point out, would you want that kind of information falling into the wrong hands?
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