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Search and indignify: Automatic number plate recognition in Europe

: Ball, Kirstie; Dahm, Sebastien; Friedewald, Michael; Galetta, Antonella; Goos, Kerstin; Jones, Richard; Lastic, Erik; Norris, Clive; Raab, Charles; Spiller, Keith

Ball, Kirstie (Ed.):
Surveillance and democracy in Europe
London: Routledge, 2018 (Routledge studies in surveillance)
ISBN: 978-1-138-19552-3
ISBN: 978-1-315-63835-5
Book Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()

Chapter 4 examines the harms and controversies associated with the deployment of Automatic Number Plate Recognition in Belgium, Germany, Slovakia and the UK. The chapter explains the surveillance practice, how it is formally governed and any evidence of surveillance harm. In the case of ANPR, it is evident that it was initially deployed in a closed institutional setting and its use was only questioned after implementation, following controversy and as a result of adversarial power relations, such as legal challenges and public enquiries. Using the participatory lens, the case of ANPR demonstrates how institutions can become open to scrutiny in a variety of ways and how surveillance practices can sometimes be renegotiated. However, in practice the power to renegotiate ANPR is reserved for political and regulatory elites, rather than ordinary citizens.