The police are expanding a car surveillance project that will allow them to record and store details of people's daily car journeys for up to five years.
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A national network of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) roadside cameras will read 50m car licence plates a day. This will enable police to reconstruct motorists' journeys.
The National ANPR Data Centre in Hendon, north London is to collect the data.
The Guardian reports police have been encouraged to "fully and strategically exploit" the database during investigations ranging from counter-terrorism to petty crime.
The move has raised concerns from civil rights campaigners, who have questioned whether the captured details should be kept for so long. They also want clearer guidance on who might have access to the car journey data.
Senior police officers had previously said the data would be stored for two years. But the Guardian says the Home Office has admitted the data is now being kept for five years.
Human rights group Privacy International said the five-year record of people's car journeys was "unnecessary and disproportionate".
Privacy International has now lodged an official complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which told the Guardian it was taking the complaint "seriously".