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License Plate Data Collection Raising Privacy Concerns

May 19, 2014  | 

Photo: PlateSmart Technologies
Photo: PlateSmart Technologies

A growing number of cameras are taking pictures of license plates and logging the time and place in massive databases. Cops can then search those databases to track the past whereabouts of drivers.

Law enforcement officials told the Los Angeles Times that data collection is invaluable for tracking down stolen cars and catching fugitives.

But such databases are also being built by private firms, which can sell access to anyone willing to pay, such as lenders, repo workers and private investigators. That is raising worries among privacy advocates and lawmakers, who say the fast-growing industry is not only ripe for conflicts of interest but downright invasive.


Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Longarm9 @ 5/19/2014 12:11 PM

I have zero concern with this technology being in the hands of the police; the police and other law enforcement in the US and Canada are overwhelmingly trustworthy. I have huge concerns with it being in the hands of unscrupulous dirt bag collection agencies and other private firms. When profit is the motive, abuse is sure to follow. However, I would also say that there may nothing to be done as a license plate is not private information, and you can't stop people tracking your movements as you go about in public as long as they don't accost you in any way.

Ima Leprechaun @ 5/19/2014 3:09 PM

NCIC requires probable cause to run a database search of a license plate number and so do most state wide computer systems. Running a plate without probable cause is a felony in most states. As long as the information is only used when probable cause is present I don't have a problem with it being held in a database strictly as metadata. I do know that GPS data is sold to anyone willing to buy it and insurance companies use that as a cost analysis database for their customers that use GPS. But using the license plate without the NCIC information should be fine since the personal details are restricted and can only be accessed via a warrant by private companies. It's all moot anyway since the NSA is allowed to break all laws to collect anything they want for any reason they want. Big brother is watching always.

AJ @ 5/19/2014 3:11 PM

What do you think LPDC do to people who have a Grievance against the Government? Like in the Bundy Ranch situation? Holder and Obama will have the IRS after them, after they're done. The Gov. is in bed with Multi National Corps. Phone companies get paid to collect data on you, me and everyone else. Regardless if we fit a "Terrorist profile". Like a Radical Muslim. Even though Obama and Holder can help the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria.

Zbigniew Brzezinski Technocracy.. That's what we've become. A Fascist Police State. More than Hitler could have dreamed of. Look up ZB quotes and his "friends".

Funny how Obama wants to chase the Boko Haram around Africa, but he can't put troops on our own border? You can find Slave traders in the USA, in AZ, NM and elsewhere. If you look hard enough.. And that's the end of my rant. :)

Ima Leprechaun @ 5/19/2014 10:59 PM

What article are you reading AJ? Perhaps an increase n your Paranoid Schizophrenia medication is in order.

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