New multipurpose traffic cameras in the EU

A new multipurpose traffic camera which can identify license plates, recognise the distance between vehicles, see whether or not a driver is wearing a seatbelt as well as detecting speeding is being created as part of an EU program, ASSET. The program is a research project which means there is no guarantee that any member state will actually take up the scheme, but it would seem to fit with the policies of a number of them, notably the UK, which has already a nationwide network of Automatic License (or Number) Plate Recognition (ALPR or ANPR) cameras.

The story has been reported in The Guardian which notes that, despite concerns about the automation of road justice, many of the UK organisations which currently oppose speed cameras seem to be tentatively in favour of this camera which is even more restrictive of the ‘drivers’ rights’ that such organisations claim to represent… which is somewhat curious.

Author: David

I'm David Murakami Wood. I live on Wolfe Island, in Ontario, and am Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Surveillance Studies and an Associate Professor at Queen's University, Kingston.

3 thoughts on “New multipurpose traffic cameras in the EU”

  1. As an amusing aside, it appears from the Asset website that no accidents happen in nature. (Illustrative of a Darwinism perspective?)

    More seriously I note that with the selling point of the system being safety, no mention is made of what happens with the data collected, which itself is useful for mapping vehicle movements.

    A European wide UK type tracking system, from a viewpoint of policing or state security — safety — would provide a more comprehensive internal security mechanism than currently available, but will it meet some of the expectations of the more citizen centric EU states without some other issue(s) intruding into those spaces and oiling the works as it were.


  2. Yeah, I loved that comment about accidents…

    On the, well, of course the data ANPR cameras in the UK already can be connected to other police databases, including the records on domestic extremists and radicals, so once again the UK is acting as a ‘bad example’ that other EU nations seem to want to follow.

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