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New Publication: Surveillance and Democracy in Europe

Ball, Kirstie, Sebastian Dahm, Michael Friedewald, Antonella Galetta, Kerstin Goos, Richard Jones, Erik Lastic, Clive Norris, Charles Raab, and Keith Spiller, “Search and indignify: Automatic Number Plate Recognition in Europe”, in Kirstie Ball, and William Webster (eds.), Surveillance and Democracy in Europe (Routledge Studies in Surveillance), Routledge, London and New York, 2018, pp. 51-68.

ANPR is a surveillance practice in which digital CCTV cameras capture images of vehicle registration plates. These images are then matched to government vehicle licensing and other databases which contain information pertaining to the ownership of the vehicle, whether it is insured or whether it has been marked as suspicious in any police investigation. ANPR is also used to administer car parking and road toll charges. Users of ANPR are thus not only public bodies such as the police, city and regional municipalities and national government agencies, but also private companies who compare images from the cameras with their own customer databases. Fixed or mobile cameras can be used as part of an ANPR system and it can be deployed in an overt or covert way, depending on the legal regulation under which it is deployed. In our chapter we explore how ANPR is used in the UK, Slovakia, Germany and Belgium.

Living in Surveillance Societies – LiSS

About LiSS

The Living in Surveillance Societies (LiSS) COST Action is a European research programme designed to increase and deepen knowledge about living and working in the surveillance age, in order to better understand the consequences and impacts of enhanced surveillance, and subsequently to make recommendations about its future governance and practice. The underlying theme of the programme is that technologically mediated surveillance – the systematic and purposeful attention to the lives of individuals or groups utilising new ICTs – is a ubiquitous feature of modern society, with citizens routinely monitored by a range of sophisticated technologies. Yet, despite these developments relatively little is known about the depth of personal surveillance or how our personal information is used.

COST (European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research) and supported by the EU Framework Programme. The programme is facilitating thematic collaborative research in the field of technologically mediated surveillance through a series of active working groups, workshops, seminars, annual conferences, publications, short-term scientific missions and a doctoral school for young researchers in the field. To date, this collaborative venture has attracted over 100 expert participants from 20 European countries.

The LiSS Working Groups

The scientific work of the programme is sub-divided into four Working Groups, each of which is responsible for a coherent intellectual domain and the definition of specific research questions. The Working Groups act autonomously and independently but in accordance with the general strategy of the programme. Each Working Group meets twice a year and is led by a Working Group coordinator.

Working Groups:

» Working Group 1. Living in the Surveillance Age
Examining citizens’ everyday experiences of, and attitudes towards surveillance of both the surveilled and the surveillants.

» Working Group 2. Surveillance Technologies in Practice
Examining the development and diffusion of surveillance technologies in their institutional settings.

» Working Group 3. The Business of Surveillance
Examining the commercialisation of surveillance and in particular, customer profiling and the increasing role of the private sector in security.

» Working Group 4. Public Policy and the Regulation of Surveillance
Examining regulatory developments in surveillance, including constitutional and legal settings, privacy, freedom of information and data protection.

LiSS Experts