Skip to main content

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.