ANPR: Code and Rhetorics of Compliance

Christopher Parsons, Joseph Savirimuthu, Rob Wipond, Kevin McArthur


ANPR systems are gradually entering service in Canada's western province of British Columbia and are prolifically deployed in the UK. In this paper, we compare and analyze some of the politics and practices underscoring the technology in these jurisdictions. Drawing from existing and emerging research we identify key actors and examine how authorities marginalize access to information about the systems' operation. Such marginalization is accompanied by the rhetoric of privacy and security that are used to justify novel mass surveillance practices. Authorities justify the public's lack of access to information about ANPR practices and technical characteristics as a key to securing environments and making citizens 'safe'. After analyzing incongruences between authorities' conceptions of privacy and security, we articulate a means of resisting intrusive surveillance practices by reshaping agendas surrounding ANPR.

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