Thousands of British Columbians could be tracked by police without their knowledge as part of an expanded mass surveillance system being considered by the RCMP.

The Mounties said they will decide within the next two or three months whether to dramatically expand their automated licence-plate recognition system.

Cameras mounted on 43 police vehicles throughout the province record 3,000 licence plates an hour, but only keep the information on drivers the computer flags as having outstanding warrants, dangerous criminal histories, expired insurance or other serious infractions.

The “non-hit” data on clean drivers is deleted by RCMP computer servers each day, say the Mounties.

However, the RCMP is considering keeping that data, which would essentially compile a list of times and locations of thousands of B.C. drivers who have done nothing other than pass in front of an automated police camera.

Investigators across B.C. could use that list as a tracking tool...