The noisy garbage trucks that lumber down San Jose, Calif., streets every week could soon pick up more than just trash -- they might also scan license plates, too, in a proposed city-wide sweep for stolen vehicles that has civil libertarians crying foul, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmen Johnny Khamis and Raul Peralez proposed that the Bay Area city consider strapping license plate readers to the front of garbage trucks, allowing them to record the plates of every car along their routes. The data would be fed directly to the Police Department from the privately operated trash trucks, prompting an officer to respond to stolen vehicles or cars involved with serious crime.

"We can cover every street at least once a week and possibly deter thieves from coming into our city," Khamis said. A committee chaired by Liccardo that sets the council's agenda voted Wednesday to continue exploring the idea.

Khamis said mounting the plate readers on garbage trucks instead of police cars wouldn't be any more intrusive than what's already being done. "This is a public street," Khamis said. "You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

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