From The Australian newspaper:
CRIMTRACâ€™s planned automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system could become a mass surveillance system, taking as many as 70 million photos of cars and drivers every day across a vast network of roadside cameras.
State and federal police forces want full-frontal images of vehicles, including the driver and front passenger, that are clear enough for identification purposes and usable as evidence in court.
Are question of privacy going to be the issue that shatters the illusion that the system of automobility is a system of freedom?
The system of automobility relies on the tight control of users down to the level of the very perception of the system itself. One of the triumphs of latter day governmentality is that drivers perceive the road and traffic system through the lense of road safety. Other perceptions include the environmental cost of subsidising automobility as a form of personal transport. In most cases, the road system is perceived purely in terms of mobility and access to that mobility.
By introducing questions of privacy, so that all every journey could potentially be tracked and logged in photographic databases, the implicit, embodied forms of control are rendered explicit. I wonder if this will be the beginning of the end for automobility? Or will the strong attraction for believing in personal freedoms (produced through systems of control) mean that the invasive tracking of individuals through digital recognition will be wholly accepted?