Monday, 6 April 2009


Does white van man have his eyes on you ...?

There's been a lot of controversy just recently about the launch of Google's StreetView service, where camera equipped cars are roaming the country snapping images of peoples homes, which are readily available over the internet for anyone that has an interest.

The fact that the vehicles are unmarked, and indeed carry no signage to comply with the Data Protection Act, shouldn't really provide any great surprises, and yet Google aren't really alone when it comes to having a quick snoop up the average side street.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, I've spotted a white unremarkable unmarked van, cruising past my door, with nothing to arouse suspicion other than the fact that each corner of the roof is embellished with an outwardly pointing CCTV bullet camera.

Rumour has it, the vehicles (of which there are many) are being deployed by the local councils in order to identify untaxed vehicles, using a database supplied by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), which is compared against the images of vehicle number plates snapped by the passing van.

Now why would they want to cruise the streets of old London Town looking for untaxed vehicles.

The answer of course is clamping and penalty charges for release; so acting as agents for the DVLA, in the words of Arfur Daley they're on to a nice little earner.

And who said there's not much profit left in video surveillance ...?

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