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24 Apr 2010

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? The truth, of course, is that you are – and in a major way. As if the CCTV cameras on every street corner were not enough – the UK has more than any other country in the world – turn the ignition key and it won’t be long before your vehicle is photographed or filmed by the speed camera on every footbridge and flyover.

And now the Home Office has begun trials of a new speed camera which combines number plate reading technology with GPS data from satellites.

The SpeedSpike system will use the satellite readings to calculate the average speed of drivers under surveillance by assessing the time it takes them to travel between two points.

It is currently being tested at sites in Southwark, London and in Cornwall.

A spokesman for the AA reacted calmly to the announcement, telling the Daily Telegraph: “It is a natural evolution of the technology that is out there.”

Undoubtedly true. Once an upmarket technical novelty, GPS has made the journey to becoming humdrum and every-day in just a few short years. Many mobile phones now feature built-in GPS.

How long will be it before satellite surveillance of traffic becomes humdrum and every day? Don’t bet on it being very long.

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