London’s Congestion Charge scheme has been enlisted by the Metropolitan Police in the fight against terrorism.
Citing “enduring vehicle-borne terrorist threat to London” Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced that Anti-terror officers are to be exempted from the Data Protection Act to allow them to access the scheme’s live data stream.
A spokesman for Transport for London which oversees the congestion charge scheme told MayorWatch the body was “fully prepared to support the Metropolitan Police’s request for routine access to data from London’s Congestion Charging camera system for national security purposes.”
“We have examined the technical issues arising from this proposal, and are finalising protocols to ensure the swift and secure transfer of the data in question.”
“In allowing for this access, the Home Office has exempted Congestion Charging camera data from the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.”
However some London politicians have sounded a note of caution over the proposals.
Damian Hockney who sits on the Metropolitan Police Authority and is a London Assembly Member for the One London Party said “exempting the police from legislation protecting us from abuse of data is the wrong way to go. Vast banks of data handed over to the authorities will inevitably be trawled for other surveillance purposes in order to make the effort financially worthwhile.
Mr Hockney warned “when anti-terror laws are used to harass a heckler at a party conference or someone reading a leaflet in central London, we cannot be complacent.”