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Author Topic: Police cars now automatically scanning and recording license plates in databases  (Read 1508 times)
Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2013, 12:34:42 PM »

Here's the article, from the editors at Associated Press (search keywords with AP to find several sources):

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) Little Rock may not be a likely terrorism target or a gang crime hotspot, but the Arkansas capital has decided to follow the example of high-security cities by expanding electronic surveillance of its streets.

A police car with a device that photographs license plates moves through the city and scans the traffic on the streets, relaying the data it collects to a computer for sifting. Police say the surveillance helps identify stolen cars and drivers with outstanding arrest warrants.

It also allows authorities to monitor where average citizens might be at any particular time. That bothers some residents, as well as groups that oppose public intrusions into individual privacy. The groups are becoming more alarmed about license plate tracking as a growing number of police departments acquire the technology.

Though authorities in Washington, D.C., London and Chicago conduct extensive electronic surveillance of public areas to detect security threats or deter gang crime, "Today, increasingly, even towns without stoplights have license plate readers," said Catherine Crump, a New York-based staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

In Little Rock, even some city officials wonder about keeping data on drivers' movements.

"It bothered me particularly if someone wasn't guilty of a crime or didn't have any active warrants or hadn't committed a crime," city director Ken Richardson said.

However, Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas said the law enforcement benefits outweigh any concerns about possible abuse of the information, which, as a public record, is legally available for anyone to see. He said the department may get more of the devices.

"Should that potential of misuse therefore eliminate the capacity of law enforcement to collect data which has a legitimate purpose for the safety of our officers or the appropriateness of enforcement actions? I don't think so," he said.

Little Rock police bought the tracker last year for about $14,000, as interest in the technology began spreading in law enforcement circles. The purchase didn't require city council approval and didn't attract much attention in town.

"There was no public notice or anything," police spokeswoman Sgt. Cassandra Davis said.

Richardson said he didn't hear about the device until after it had been collecting data for months. He said he said he hasn't heard many complaints.

"It's hard for you to have a problem with something if you don't know it's going on," he said.

Many Little Rock residents apparently still haven't heard about the surveillance. Angel Weston, 45, said she's glad to hear that police are looking for stolen cars and people with warrants but wondered about keeping logs of citizens' movements.

"I don't feel like they should keep the data for six or 12 months," Weston said.

Lawmakers in several states, including Minnesota and Utah, have suggested setting a time limit for their departments, but Little Rock has no policy yet. The department now has a growing archive of license plate photos, along with time stamps and the locations, showing where motorists were at certain times.

Privacy advocates worry about the potential uses for such outside law enforcement, from snooping by stalkers and private investigators to businesses that sell personal data.

"Given how few rules are currently on the books to protect our privacy, it's plausible that private investigators and data-mining companies could acquire this location data," Crump said. So far, the organization has requested more information from government agencies, but hasn't filed any lawsuits, Crump said.

Little Rock's license plate reader is mounted in Officer Grant Humphries' patrol car. He said it's led to dozens of arrests and the recovery of a number of stolen vehicles and vehicles and license plates, although the exact number isn't known.

As Humphries drives around town, a laptop processes the license plate numbers being photographed and emits a sound and flashes red when it finds a match.

On a recent drive, Humphries fell in behind an SUV and pulled it over after the laptop went off.

Moments later, he and another officer arrested passenger Montague Martin, who was wanted on outstanding warrants.

As he sat handcuffed in the back of the patrol car, Martin said he thought the license plate reader was a good idea.

"I'm not mad at what they're doing," Martin said before Humphries drove him to jail. "They're doing their job. I just didn't pay my ticket on time."
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syntaxmachine
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« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2013, 02:58:32 PM »

Yes... Yes it is.



I suspect you've vastly overestimated our government's interest in your whereabouts, assuming you are not a criminal.
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« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2013, 02:59:21 PM »

I suspect you've vastly overestimated our government's interest in your whereabouts, assuming you are not a criminal.

I suspect you vastly underestimate the government's desire to invade your personal life.
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Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2013, 03:08:51 PM »

If you don't have anything to hide...
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Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2013, 03:09:41 PM »

...right?
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tu_holmes
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« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2013, 03:09:59 PM »

If you don't have anything to hide...

There were a lot of Jewish people in Germany that said that I'm sure.
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Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2013, 03:12:49 PM »

There were a lot of Jewish people in Germany that said that I'm sure.

We'll continue to fight, all the way down the line, against people who will proclaim that security demands this, and that they "don't have anything to hide".
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Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2013, 03:38:37 PM »

By the way, it should be noted that ALL information gathered by these devices is processed, stored, reprocessed, etc., at the whim of the entity that controls it, and it is supposed to be an achievement of some concession, when an occasional several-month time limit is placed on the storage of the information.  Absolutely batshit, that we still have morons that don't get it.

We are talking about something that can only be described as an attempt to replicate full awareness--meaning a maintained, real-time reading of all aspects of an innocent person's movements and activities.  Whether or not you feel you "have something to hide", you'd better understand how this replication of awareness will funnel power away from citizens and toward elitist structures.  Every person, no matter how dumb, no matter how comfortable he or she is with their crypto-fascist ways and smug comments, right now, needs to understand that.  

These partial steps, such as license plate tracking, should be fought--HARD.  A person needs to stand against it, at the very least, and make his or her stand known, and I mean loudly.
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syntaxmachine
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« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2013, 04:38:58 PM »

I suspect you vastly underestimate the government's desire to invade your personal life.

I suspect I will fill in this post with a proper response to your and Jack's comments in this thread sometime later in the week because I am too lazy at present.
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tu_holmes
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« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2013, 04:39:42 PM »

I suspect I will fill in this post with a proper response to your and Jack's comments in this thread sometime later in the week because I am too lazy at present.

I suspect I will eagerly await your response.
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Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2013, 04:59:28 PM »

I'm looking forward to it, too...
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« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2013, 05:47:56 PM »

What's going to happen when some divorce lawyer subpoenas these records to prove some clients spouse was fucking some chick at the motel?

Ya gotta wonder.
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« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2013, 02:35:18 AM »

If you don't have anything to hide...

An appropriate response to that is... It's not a matter of what you may have to hide.
It is a matter of what you intend to maintain... your absolute right to privacy.

What ever happened to the necessity of probable cause to cooduct a search?
Random searches contravene the 4th amendment imo, ...but I'm no constitutional lawyer ... like obama.
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« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2013, 02:43:32 AM »

What's going to happen when some divorce lawyer subpoenas these records to prove some clients spouse was fucking some chick at the motel?

Ya gotta wonder.

What's to wonder? Aside from the MAJOR ALIMONY, ...the outcome is obvious!!!


* OUCHHHH.jpg (75.21 KB, 612x612 - viewed 58 times.)
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« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2013, 08:49:51 AM »

An appropriate response to that is... It's not a matter of what you may have to hide.
It is a matter of what you intend to maintain... your absolute right to privacy.

What ever happened to the necessity of probable cause to cooduct a search?
Random searches contravene the 4th amendment imo, ...but I'm no constitutional lawyer ... like obama.


Why would equate getting information from a publicly displayed license plate as a search?
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« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2013, 03:17:39 PM »

Why would equate getting information from a publicly displayed license plate as a search?

Now you're simply playing with semantics.
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Agnostic007
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« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2013, 10:14:06 AM »

Now you're simply playing with semantics.

No, you actually were equating license plate scanning to a search requiring p.c. If not, you were not very clear you were not on the same topic as everyone else
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chadstallion
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« Reply #42 on: March 10, 2013, 02:21:09 PM »

What's going to happen when some divorce lawyer subpoenas these records to prove some clients spouse was fucking some chick at the motel?

Ya gotta wonder.
good for the spouse!
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Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #43 on: March 10, 2013, 02:41:18 PM »

Why would equate getting information from a publicly displayed license plate as a search?

I see you went on to clarify further, in your next post.

Because it is a search.  There's no other way to describe it.
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Skip8282
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« Reply #44 on: March 10, 2013, 02:56:45 PM »

I see you went on to clarify further, in your next post.

Because it is a search.  There's no other way to describe it.




No, it's not a search.  Certainly privacy issues involved depending on how they treat the data with people who aren't doing anything wrong.
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Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #45 on: March 10, 2013, 03:55:13 PM »

No, it's not a search.  Certainly privacy issues involved depending on how they treat the data with people who aren't doing anything wrong.

Maybe I'm misreading your intention, here, but the fact that the information would even be stored (which it is), at the absolute minimum, means that it is a search.  (if that's what you were saying in your post, sorry for the redundancy Smiley)
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Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #46 on: March 10, 2013, 03:56:56 PM »

...the obvious kicker is that it is presumably in a public place.
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Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #47 on: March 10, 2013, 04:02:54 PM »

Quote
Lawmakers in several states, including Minnesota and Utah, have suggested setting a time limit for their departments, but Little Rock has no policy yet. The department now has a growing archive of license plate photos, along with time stamps and the locations, showing where motorists were at certain times.
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Jack T. Cross
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« Reply #48 on: March 10, 2013, 04:17:02 PM »

...even without a single other consideration, of which there are others, that's enough to define it as a search.
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Skip8282
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« Reply #49 on: March 10, 2013, 04:38:29 PM »

Maybe I'm misreading your intention, here, but the fact that the information would even be stored (which it is), at the absolute minimum, means that it is a search.  (if that's what you were saying in your post, sorry for the redundancy Smiley)




If you're referring to a database search, then I suppose so...but I'm referencing in terms of a 4th amendment search.

I've never heard of any protection against the police referencing DMV/DOT data.

But, the SCOTUS has ruled we have a right to privacy.  So, the more pertinent issue, IMO, is whether or not holding this data violates that protection.
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