NZ: Police Use Of Private Sector Vehicle Plate Readers Undermines Accountability

New Zealand’s police force has received fresh guidance on deploying the automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras that are part of Safer Cities and Auror networks, capturing license plate data across supermarkets, service stations, shopping malls, and main streets nationwide. The backdrop: These ANPR systems are privately-owned and have been garnering increased attention for their usage by the police. The Privacy Impact Assessment recently rolled out by Simply Privacy, headed by ex-police chief privacy officer Mike Flahive, declares that the law enforcement needs “robust governance, policies, processes, and controls,” to ascertain that ANPR usage is “appropriate and lawful and the potential for misuse is limited as much as possible,” The New Zealand Herald reported. Dig deeper: The New Zealand Herald uncovered incidents where police officers deceitfully logged vehicles as stolen to harness the ANPR system for alternative motives. Notably, the police exploited this “stolen car” loophole to track two women suspected of being COVID-19 positive. What the assessment says: It is underlined in the assessment that while the ANPR systems can be vital in crime prevention, tracing missing or endangered individuals, and pin-pointing specific number plates, they are also intrusive and can facilitate a thorough record of vehicles or individuals’ movements. The assessment is emphatic on the importance of Safer Cities and Auror querying police on the rationale behind every search, in accordance with the Privacy Act. It also urges police to be more transparent about their utilization of ANPR systems. “In our view, police transparency around its use of…NZ: Police Use Of Private Sector Vehicle Plate Readers Undermines Accountability