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  1. #1
    Jenna's Avatar
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    ACLU alarmed about police accumulation of license plate records

    Police forces across the United States are quietly investing in vehicle tracking technology that can store vast quantities of data about people’s movements, according to the ACLU. The civil liberties group is drawing attention to an interesting 2012 report from the Police Executive Research Forum, which states that 85 percent of police agencies plan to acquire or increase their use of license plate recognition cameras within the next five years.

    Automatic license plate readers are used in public places, mounted much like security cameras on telephone poles or sometimes on police patrol cars. They are designed to photograph the license plates of all cars that pass by, processing the information automatically and sending it to a database along with location data. This is highly useful for tracking stolen vehicles or the movements of criminals. But the ACLU is alarmed about the issue of data retention, warning about the “creation of databases with location information on every motorist who encounters the system, not just those whom the government suspects of criminal activity. Police departments nationwide are using ALPR to quietly accumulate millions of plate records, storing them in backend databases.”
    The fear from a privacy standpoint is that once it is effectively deployed nationwide, it can be used as a kind of mass, warrantless tracking system. Such concerns earlier this month prompted state Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia to propose a bill in the South Carolina House that would ban the technology in the state. “There is nothing to protect [the data],” Rutherford said. “All they are doing is collecting it.” According to the ACLU, there are currently only two states, Maine and New Hampshire, with “positive laws” governing how the technology can be used. New Hampshire bans them, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Maine requires data to be deleted after 21 days unless it is part of an investigation.
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_te...cies_plan.html




  2. #2
    keith720's Avatar
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    The ACLU serves no purpose.
    For the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly upon all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn.

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  3. #3
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    It costs money to store that much data. My last agency cycled the data storage constantly. They could only store on the laptop used to run the system. Contrary to the ACLU claims there's no database with evil cops watching where everyone is going. We're short handed and under funded to operate the Death Star.

    The closest we came to tracking was if a license plate was developed in an investigation someone would check the computer to see if it's driven by the suspect vehicle the last couple days.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

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  4. #4
    Odd's Avatar
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    Liberty through poverty suffers the same flaws as security by obscurity. Your current agency could store years worth of data on a single $300 laptop - data Google and Apple salivate at and would be glad to host for free, if they could analyze the data (anonymized of course). They already have lots of partnerships with government, not a stretch so much as a yawn to imagine this one too.

    Don't need a partnership with either of those Fortune Top 5 companies for this to get British on on us without notice though. Data storage is getting nothing but cheaper by the minute. I agree so far as the ACLU is a pain in the ass, but it's a necessary and welcome pain in a system of checks and balances. Otherwise one day it's impractical to store and ten years later you've become something you never wanted to be.

    As if I didn't have enough to be ashamed of with this Congress, their repeal, sorry 'update', of privacy law set in place after Judge Bork was railroaded, to appease Facebook and Netflix have me agreeing more with Keith - the ACLU may indeed be a useless paper tiger.

  5. #5
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    We already have access to so much information anyway. This stuff is minor compared to what we can pull out of state and national computer networks. A license plate with GPS coordinates and a time? Who's driving? Where are they going? We have no idea. Nobody seems concerned over real privacy issues that we normally track and are trusted with. This entire issue with LPR's is a made up crisis to make the ACLU sound relevant. Let one of their cars get stolen and they'll be screaming about whether we're doing enough to find it.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

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  6. #6
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    There's nothing "necessary" or "welcome" about the ACLU. At least not in practice.

    We purge our records after so many months, and our system is not linked to the DMV for vehicle info. It is linked to NCIC/CCIC for the warrants, sex offenders, and stolen vehicles.

    So unless we paid someone to sit there and run every plate, the only thing I could look up is that plate ABC-123 was seen at X intersection on such and such a date. It won't tell me what kind of car the plate was on.

    And I love how the article made it sound like a clandestine operation. We made it a big news story when we got ours, contacting the papers and TV news to let them know.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd View Post
    for this to get British on on us .
    I presume you buy into the myth that we are more "big brother" than any other country. Perhaps we are just more open about it. It would be naive to think all other countries with access to the same technology were not using it.
    the sole advantage of power is that you can do more good.
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