Oct 16, 2013

Number plate Photography Queried

We receive regular queries from the public in our capacity as the private investigator Brisbane trusts. Currently our phones are buzzing regarding the NSW Police habit of photographing vehicle number plates - and whether this might spread to Queensland. The ABC reports that the NSW Privacy Commissioner is involving herself in the debate

Role of NSW Information and Privacy Commission

The main role of the Commissioner is investigating and disposing of privacy complaints regarding the public sector. Since 1999, it has developed a significant database of privacy case law, which is available via its website that contains a quantity of useful information and reports.

Subject of Current Enquiry

For almost four years now, the NSW Police have been quietly photographing vehicle numberplates. They have installed 3 separate digital cameras in 280 patrol vehicles that can take up to 1000 images each in a single hour and time-stamp them. Thus far, they have acquired over 200 million pieces of data about Australians without their permission.

According to the Police, this information is a powerful crime-fighting tool. They say it enables them to automatically scan for unregistered, uninsured and stolen vehicles, as well as those with outstanding fines. While this happening in the background, they can remain alert for other incidents.

The Heart of the Complaint

As a private investigator Brisbane based, we consider it our duty to post warning signs near our CCTV Cameras. This is because people might otherwise be caught displaying behaviour that they would not have, had they known that the equipment was present.

The Privacy Commissioner is on record as saying to Four Corners, “I think it's unlikely that the majority in the community are aware of the potential of that collection and I think many would actually be quite taken by surprise that that is occurring.

"To my mind this issue raises things which are fundamental in the legislation, and that's about transparency and accountability, and the matter that you're raising is one that I most certainly would be speaking further to police about."

Commentary by QLD Covert Investigations

According to the ABC, the NSW Police have stated that, “No personal information is stored and there are strict protocols and procedures in place for accessing and retrieving information”.

What they failed to add is that number plate registrations link to vehicle owners. The fact that they are building a dossier of the movements of private vehicle owners is at heart of the complaint.

Further Information and Advice

If you would like further information regarding to your rights to privacy - or have other concerns of a private or business nature – please contact QLD Covert Investigations  by calling 1300 553 788 or posting a web enquiry. We are known throughout Queensland and New South Wales as the private investigator Brisbane and other citizens know that they can trust. Please call us in closest confidence if you need support.

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