License-plate scanners: Crime-fighting tool or invasion of privacy?

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posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:15 AM
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So, now this new invasion of privacy is coming to light.

These cameras on police cars and static places such as bridges are collecting data, scanning our plates, and storing that info for extended periods of time.
I'm not clear if they are only reading the visible numbers, or if those little squiggles on the plate are actually what is being read. [I stil want to know what those squiggles are
]

It sure sounds like 1984 to me.
I'm not about to turn the corner if I see an approaching police car, but it sure seems that more and more the reach of law enforcement is at over-reach.

And where is the outrage? Three people interviewed for the article thought ti was a good tool.....or are the favorable comments the only ones deemed fit to print.

But the little infrared devices can do big things — capturing the license plate numbers of passing cars and continuously running them through a database, letting Elsey know if there is a “hit” on a possible stolen car or wanted suspect.


The readers can be affixed to vehicles, bridges, overpasses and at border crossings


With millions of plates being scanned and often stored in databases across the country, the growing use of the readers has some civil libertarians and privacy proponents worried about potential abuse, such as tracking a spouse or ex-lover or even tracking the movements of a political opponent.

www.freep.com...




posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:19 AM
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This was in popular mechanics years ago and I believe they have a bunch of pilot projects in various states. Cars can scan something like 10,000 plates during a day. Essentially building a database to know where everyone is at any given time. Tie that in with the eye in the sky they were talking about and you literally can't take a walk to the store for skittles without having it documented.

The problem with this is the huge amount of power that comes with knowing where someone is at any given time; it is a huge invasion of privacy, and given that humans are very poor at controlling their supremacy urges, I have a feeling it will be abused like any other power structure.

Oh you went where the other night? …




posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:20 AM
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There was a town in the UK recently that was forced to remove cameras that monitor traffic flow in and out of the town.

link

It really depends weather the info is stored beyond the one time check against whatever database. And whether or not you believe them when they say the data isnt kept.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:23 AM
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For all the overkill surveillance we have and cameras everywhere why can't they catch most crooks already?
Either their capabilities are way overblown by public perception or they only use it for their own selfish ends.
I tend towards the latter explanation.
Anyone who wants disability just claim you're afraid of cameras.
Since they're everywhere you can't go out in public anymore.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:35 AM
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reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


Being former LE We were taught that we could not even run a license plate without some type of probable cause. Example: traffic violations, suspicious activity, or a " fit the description" scenario. These instruments are very ripe for abuse. Not so much at a local level, but how it may be shared with other agencies.

In the jurisdiction in which I reside, the local police do use these, but it is said that the information is purged once per week and it is not being viewed unless there is a "hit". I don't like them regardless of my past employment. Just to much chance for abuse.

Whats next? FEMA stickers on mailboxes to identify you as an "undesireable" or chip implants to monitor you every move?

edit on 11/1/2013 by GNOarmy because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:36 AM
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Mods, please delete. Meant to be an edit. Thanks
edit on 11/1/2013 by GNOarmy because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:41 AM
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reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


When in public, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Katz V United States

ssd.eff.org...



A big question in determining whether your expectation of privacy is "reasonable" and protected by the Fourth Amendment arises when you have "knowingly exposed" something to another person or to the public at large. Although Katz did have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the sound of his conversation, would he have had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his appearance or actions while inside the glass phone booth? Probably not.

Thus, some Supreme Court cases have held that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy in information you have "knowingly exposed" to a third party — for example, bank records or records of telephone numbers you have dialed — even if you intended for that third party to keep the information secret. In other words, by engaging in transactions with your bank or communicating phone numbers to your phone company for the purpose of connecting a call, you’ve "assumed the risk" that they will share that information with the government.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:44 AM
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GNOarmy

In the jurisdiction in which I reside, the local police do use these, but it is said that the information is purged once per week and it is not being viewed unless there is a "hit".


Just like the TSA body scanner images and DNA samples and intercepted communications and on and on and on. Wont be viewed like so many other databases the cops have gone into to check out attractive women or to spy on exes. At least a dozen high profile instances this year alone. Who knows how many go uncaught?

When somebody says "data wont be stored" rest assured data is being stored.

Think about it from their perspective. There is absolutely nothing for them to lose by keeping the data and lying outright about it.

If the public discovers it, so what? Some spokesman goes up to the mic and says "sorry, wont happen again" and they just go on doing it.

Whatever they arent supposed to do they are doing and they dont face any consequences whatsoever if/when caught nor do they stop doing what they were caught doing.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:46 AM
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grey580
reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


When in public, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Katz V United States

ssd.eff.org...



A big question in determining whether your expectation of privacy is "reasonable" and protected by the Fourth Amendment arises when you have "knowingly exposed" something to another person or to the public at large. Although Katz did have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the sound of his conversation, would he have had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his appearance or actions while inside the glass phone booth? Probably not.

Thus, some Supreme Court cases have held that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy in information you have "knowingly exposed" to a third party — for example, bank records or records of telephone numbers you have dialed — even if you intended for that third party to keep the information secret. In other words, by engaging in transactions with your bank or communicating phone numbers to your phone company for the purpose of connecting a call, you’ve "assumed the risk" that they will share that information with the government.


I don't think it's so much about invasion of privacy as we have learned that is virtually nonexistant in the U.S. as of late, but rather the abuses that may follow as a result.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:48 AM
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reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


Here in Quebec, the plate does not belong to the car owner, it bolongs to the dept of transportation so...They can scan their own plates all they want.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:51 AM
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Nuke2013
reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


Here in Quebec, the plate does not belong to the car owner, it bolongs to the dept of transportation so...They can scan their own plates all they want.


Don't speak of this too loudly. It's bad enough already. We don't want to put more ideas in the head of the U.S. king of monitoring.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:54 AM
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reply to post by GNOarmy
 


I don't disagree with you there.

Certainly this information has in the past has been used in an unconstitutional manner.

I don't have a problem with the data being collected as long as we have a clear chain of checks & balances.

However without a system in place that can validate this sort of thing and override any abuses then we should reject it.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 10:55 AM
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reply to post by GNOarmy
 


LOL...Not only is the plate not yours, the driver's licence you carry either....LOL...They both belong to the DoT !!! lol....

The only licence plate you can own here is a trailer plate.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 11:07 AM
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reply to post by grey580
 


But, are you "in the public" when you are in your own car?
It is a privately owned, and mostly enclosed vehicle, after all.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 11:09 AM
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Wow where have you Americans been .. Most of out cop cars in the UK now have ANPR (automatic number plate reading) cameras.

I will try and write a more lengthily reply but kind of busy right now



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 12:21 PM
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I don't think the technology is bad. I think the use of it is extreme. I have no problem with the idea that police units can scan as they drive in a fully automated way. We have a couple units in this area that were bought and equipped for that, although I never see them out and about on the street. Maybe it didn't work how they'd hoped...

Anyway, if they are scanning for felony issues like stolen cars, wanted people on REAL crimes or the like? No problem. If my car were stolen I'd love to get it back by a random hit on a driving scan of plates. Ya never know!

What I *DO* absolutely have a problem with is how they use it for petty ticket enforcement and plenty else that is not a crime at all but an infraction, at best.

Then you have other applications...like this..


ELSAG’s FPH-900® ALPR technology is now available as an extremely efficient All-In-One system combining the power of our fixed digital cameras with a hyper ruggedized mini computer. It supports both cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing for seamless integration with ELSAG Operation Center™ software. The new All-in-One ALPR system is compact, can be set up anywhere, and its low power consumption is ideal for alternate power installations, including covert applications.
Source

The front page of that site boasts 1,800 plates per minute scanning ability with high accuracy from fixed camera positions. That isn't tracking felony hits by a cop on the beat anymore. That is a digital check point that can track and correlate every vehicle moving into a database. Coupled with fixed cameras in other locations? You could literally establish the movement patterns of every resident in a city within a fairly short period of time.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 12:25 PM
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a couple of things to consider here. The car is not you, so their argument is they are tracking your car is fair. Two, you do not own the car, as such they have a right to monitor what you are doing with their stuff. Even if you "own" your car, you do not hold the title to it, the State does - you lease it from them each year for a fee. So the State is well withing it's right to see what you are doing with their stuff. Not agreeing with it, but that is the truth. Why they don't admit this is odd to me, as it would save us all a lot of trouble.



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 12:51 PM
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reply to post by crankyoldman
 


They may own the plates. I own my vehicles. I'd have to disagree on this point.

I can take my car, without permission or notifying anyone, to any state and then change registration entirely if I choose to. I can take it to Canada and, if it meets their regulations for safety and I'm legal under Canadian law? I can register it there or sell it there. Same with Mexico. I need no one's permission on any level, unless of course I have a lien placed on it. That wouldn't be the state or Government necessarily though. A lien can be placed by a private party too. So that's a process not exclusive to Government. Making it a tool, not a default condition. (Unlike a house, where failure to pay property taxes means losing that property without further debate)

My two cents...



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 



Some police officers are abusing this technology to the max! They scan as many plates as possible just looking for reasons to pull people over to make their ticket quotas! Long gone are the days of police having to actually see a reason to pull you over- once they scan your plates they know if your tags or inspection have expired, know if you are maintaining liability insurance on your vehicle, and they have the car owner's record at their immediate disposal just for a few harassing chuckles. 1984 is nothing compared to where we are heading...



posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 01:06 PM
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There is no such thing as privacy anymore. The real question is who is all this for. They would have you believe it is to catch 'criminals and terrorists', however as far as I can see they are still caught with their metaphorical pants down every time a crime or terror attack happens. There is a disconnect somewhere.

We are supposed to feel 'safer'. I do not know about anyone else, but I do not. What I feel like is 'The Enemy'. I fail to comprehend why my trips to walmart are of interest to anyone. (Yeah I know, but hey I am a two store town, and sometimes you just have to go there)

I can see that it would provide a handy tool for a quick ID during a chase for example, and I understand they are using them with traffic light cameras too. I am not in favor of those uses. It is the potential for abuse that has my attention.





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