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Florida Town Stores License Plate Camera Images For Ten Years

Soulskill posted 1 year,2 days | from the i-know-what-you-did-the-last-10-summers dept.

Transportation 122

An anonymous reader writes "Yet another privacy concern story, this time from Florida. The Longboat Key police have their new license plate camera up and running, but according to the police chief, this one stores all images as 'evidence' for up to ten years. When questioned about the possibility for abuses of this camera's historical record, the chief said, 'There are regulations, policies and laws in place that prohibit that kind of abuse. And if abuse is discovered, it's punished.' What could possibly go wrong?"

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What could go wrong? (5, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627011)

The same thing that always goes wrong, somebody will abuse it because they can.

I have an idea: (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627101)

Let's post thousands of comments on the Internet.

Re:I have an idea: (2)

DragonTHC (208439) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628609)

better yet, someone should post those images to the Internet.
But I'm sure Murphy's law will prevent abuse.

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Skapare (16644) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627103)

And then they will get away with it because cops don't care about enforcing laws that apply to cops.

Re:What could go wrong? (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627179)

And then they will get away with it because cops don't care about enforcing laws that apply to cops.

Indeed. No police officer has ever been disciplined, or even reprimanded, for abusing license plate photo data. So the chief's assurances mean zilch.

Re:What could go wrong? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627255)

Uh... "not ever" is not accurate (because I know of a local situation in which one was). Bad enough that this has often been the trend; best not to advocate extremes by saying "No officer ever".

Re:What could go wrong? (0, Flamebait)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627507)

Uh... "not ever" is not accurate (because I know of a local situation in which one was). Bad enough that this has often been the trend; best not to advocate extremes by saying "No officer ever".

Unless you can provide a citation (which I doubt you can), I will stick with "no officer ever".

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44628245)

Doesn't matter whether Jane Q can or not. The threat of penalty for government workers is a red herring when dealing with stuff that can be abused. It's always best to prevent the thing that can be abused before it is abused.

Re:What could go wrong? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44628799)

Police officer Victor “Manny” Pellot has been fired for stalking and ... misusing police resources and databases

http://www.eagletribune.com/haverhill/x218351649/Haverhill-cop-fired-for-stalking

http://ogs-silentcrimes.blogspot.com/2013/07/haverhill-former-police-officer.html

Officer Russell Nasby was fired ... used the state driver and vehicle database

http://stalkingvictims.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=277&t=8292

http://staugustine.com/news/2010-03-11/bunnell-officer-fired-over-stalking-allegations

Gee, so hard to search online for cops who got fired for being assholes.
Posting AC so I don't erase the Flamebait mod I gave ShanghaiBill for being an asshole.

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44630403)

Is this [sj-r.com] good enough?

Deputy Chief Cliff Buscher, whose internal-affairs file is at the center of the controversy, is not interested in becoming acting or permanent police chief, Houston said. Buscher will remain in his current role.

The controversy began when it came to light that Williams, without the approval of the mayor or city council, had signed an agreement with the president of the police union April 25 allowing internal-affairs records to be destroyed after four years instead of five.

That same day, the department shredded records that included documents related to Buscher’s 2008 arrest for firing his service weapon while drunk on a fishing trip in Missouri. Calvin Christian III two weeks earlier had requested those records under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. Christian, who attended Friday’s news conference, said afterward that he didn’t feel he’d caused Williams and Cullen to step down.

“Their actions are what caused the shake-up, their reactions in regards to my request,” said Christian, 22, who writes for the free monthly newspaper Pure USA News.

Note that the incident that started the whole mess resulted in Buscher’s 2008 arrest, in which he made a plea bargain. He was turned in to the Missouri police by one of his fellow Springfield cops.

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Jane Q. PubIic (3025641) | 1 year,2 days | (#44630583)

Ok, you got me. I was just pulling that out of my ass. But just because I can't find a citation doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

anagama (611277) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627633)

Disciplined how -- had his donuts cut off for a week, or fired? Somehow, I'm going to guess it was the former.

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Ronin Developer (67677) | 1 year,2 days | (#44629743)

I suspect you don't know very many police officers and are basing you comments off of what you've seen on TV sitcoms. Correct?

Having worked closely with multiple departments over the course of almost a decade, I can tell you that the number who fill their faces with donuts is actually pretty few. Today, most are extremely fit as the image they need to present is imposing and strong. Donut boy is more likely to encounter a problem than an officer who looks like he will kick your ass should you try something or look at him crosseyed. Plus, the rigors of the job demand they stay in top shape. Why do they seem to congregate at coffee shops? Most likely it's open and, late at night, would often scenes of criminal activity which their presence deters as well as an active meeting place for people. And...there's coffee.

And, in many police departments, the typical officer is a college graduate or, at least, has an associates in criminal justice (and, likely working toward a full degree) and not a knuckle dragger as so many imply. In some cities and towns, they may have their share of bumpkins....but, most are professionals where city/town/state provides a decent salary and resources so they can do their job effectively.

Yes, some police officers do abuse their powers. But, that number is actually quite few. You are more likely to encounter an errant office worker than an abusive police officer. If you have encountered an abusive cop, I would suspect you probably were in the wrong in the first place, no?

I can tell you that the collection of license plates over an extended period of time is nothing new (in the early 2K's, departments in the midwest would drive up and down parking lots and putting in you license plates to see what pops up). And, as tools become available to correlate where those plates are seen with criminal activity and when, criminal activity in those areas will drop. The analytics now available to officers based on incident reports is amazing. So, if you wonder why a cop is someplace you'd not expect...it's probably because analysts tell them that is where and when they will find bad guys.

Yes, I am defending the average cop....somebody has to set the record straight. And...no...I am not a cop.

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44630227)

You might not be a cop but you sure like the taste of cop dick.

Probably a wannabe who was disqualified from being a cop for being too puny or something.

Re:What could go wrong? (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627833)

I know of a local situation in which one was

A few weeks suspension with pay isn't punishment (the rest of the world calls that a"holiday").

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44629411)

And then they will get away with it because cops don't care about enforcing laws that apply to cops.

Indeed. No police officer has ever been disciplined, or even reprimanded, for abusing license plate photo data. So the chief's assurances mean zilch.

By now, you should know to never use the word never without a qualification.

There was a big to-do in the news about a police officer being forced to pay his ticket by his police chief when the chief discovered that an alarming number of his officers were running red lights. Now you might accept it as-is, or consider it some sort of public relations piece which really isn't common place, but either way, you're use of never came a bit too easily.

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627263)

Exactly.

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

jpublic (3023069) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627371)

It's also funny how regulations and policies have never stopped abusive governments in the past, so why would they now? Our government is clearly willing to violate the highest law of the land, so why exactly would a few inconsequential policies and rules stop them?

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

mpe (36238) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627663)

It's also funny how regulations and policies have never stopped abusive governments in the past, so why would they now? Our government is clearly willing to violate the highest law of the land, so why exactly would a few inconsequential policies and rules stop them?

The really odd thing is how much faith many people have in current politicians. No matter how bad the "last lot" proved to be. Even if the "current lot" are mostly exactly the same people...

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

donaldm (919619) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627721)

From the article.

There are regulations, policies and laws in place that prohibit that kind of abuse

Nice and very clear now please answer the following:

  1. regulations - Great, what are they?
  2. policies - Wonderful, what are they?
  3. laws - Well we can't beat that, what are they?

Worrying. But hey it can't happen in Australia ... err wait!

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44629385)

It goes to show that these shenanigans can occur at ANY level of government (Federal, State, County, Municipal).

It also goes to show that the concepts of government, religion, politics, etc. are harmless until you introduce PEOPLE into the equation.

It's a PEOPLE problem, folks. Always has been, and will continue to be by all indicators...

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | 1 year,2 days | (#44629617)

The same thing that always goes wrong, somebody will abuse it because they can.

Can you explain to those of us to whom it's not obvious how the data are likely to be abused?

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44629995)

Stalking wife's/girlfriends/interests using the data. Looking up info on celebrities for no reason, or worse for reporters/friends. Looking up info on your "hot coworker". All of these have happened. That last one actually happened in my state, a female police officer overheard rumors that other officers were looking at her records because they found her attractive. She complained that it was an improper use of equipment, the higher ups didn't believe her but to disprove a possible workplace harassment suit they did a check anyway. Her DMV/police records had been accessed over 400 times in a few months. Of course official statements in regards to the incident have been "appropriate actions & punishments have been implemented", but I doubt anyone was really punished, at least not nearly as severely as anyone else would be for improper access to a computer system (Aaron Swartz anyone?)

Licking the boots of my masters (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627019)

fuck.... this is getting to be way over kill....

Welcome to Earth (5, Informative)

Bob9113 (14996) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627057)

"'There are regulations, policies and laws in place that prohibit that kind of abuse. And if abuse is discovered, it's punished."

It looks like you're new here. Welcome to Earth. Tell me more about your planet; what color is the sky there?

Here are a few starting points to learn a bit more about how The Blue Wall works when the department regulates its own behavior:

Wikipedia: Blue Code of Silence [wikipedia.org]
Wikipedia: Frank Serpico [wikipedia.org]
Wikipedia: Rampart Scandal [wikipedia.org]

Re:Welcome to Earth (2)

pitchpipe (708843) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627099)

There's Earth, and then there's Florida.

Re:Welcome to Earth (1)

ls671 (1122017) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627139)

There is earth and then there is sand.

earth:
b. The softer, friable part of land; soil, especially productive soil.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/earth [thefreedictionary.com]

Re:Welcome to Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627355)

REally you give out terrible examples this has to do with the the police and obtaining photo records of license plates. The Rampart, and Serpico references are old and these are the most popular of corrupt cases, and the ones that did nothing to stop or expose how corrupt cops really are, or how widespread this really is.

Next time you visit earth make sure you can proved citations that are of the subject, not something that is atypical of police corruption otherwise stay on your own planet.

Re:Welcome to Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44629439)

It's not black and white. There are plenty of officers who get punished regardless of the blue code of silence. The arguments like on whether more officers should be punished for the public perception of law violation.

so everyone is a suspected criminal now (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627077)

why collect evidence otherwise? nice world we live in.

Re:so everyone is a suspected criminal now (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | 1 year,2 days | (#44629123)

Judge Dredd - you are welcome.

Just because there is a law today doesn't mean that there is one tomorrow - or maybe the Patriot Act can override any law anyway already.

IANAL, but (2)

djupedal (584558) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627079)

Isn't this just assuming everyone is guilty until proven innocent?

Re:IANAL, but (2)

tommeke100 (755660) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628283)

This makes me think of a story I once heard of a dissident in the Sovjet Union.
He was being pulled aside by the KGB and "questioned" (using 'special techniques') in a room with a window looking out the outside world.
He was denying something and said "Why are you keeping me here? What am I suspected of?".
The KGB agent pointed to the window and the people walking outside and said "They are the suspects, you are already guilty."

Re:IANAL, but (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628899)

Everyone is guilty of something, they just have to find out what. Hopefully it will be something they can find you for, because, you know, traffic offence target bonuses and all that.

Re:IANAL, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44630277)

Isn't this just assuming everyone is guilty until proven innocent?

That's the best assumption if a cop is the perp because of the "Blue Code". They have an ingrained and well-documented culture of lying and obstructing justice to protect their own.

He's right, it IS 'evidence' (4, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627081)

Evidence that we live in a police-surveilence state. Evidence of a flagrant disregard for the people they purport to "protect". Evidence of thugs and bullies abusing their power.

Re:He's right, it IS 'evidence' (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627261)

Far worse than just that. The first time I read the headline (half asleep), I read it as "Florida Town Loses License Plate Camera Images For Ten Years". The data mining and privacy loss potential is enormous, so there could be an enormous reward for anyone willing to... how shall I put this... inadvertently misplace a hard drive containing that data.

Remember that the more valuable the data you store electronically, the more likely it is to be stolen and used by the bad guys. At some point the value is so great that more of the data is likely to be used by the bad guys than the good guys. This is true for pretty much any definition of good/bad guys. For example, if I were a crook who knew a crooked cop, this would be a goldmine of information. With this data, I could figure out with a reasonable degree of probability when any given family is unlikely to be home, and use that to my advantage when planning robberies to drastically reduce the amount of stake-out time needed while still minimizing my chances of getting caught. And by looking at the makes of cars, I could gain further insight into the likelihood of the house having valuables in it, allowing me to choose my next target more quickly. Heck, somebody really enterprising could turn it into a black-market data mining business for other robbers and make a small fortune in no time flat.

IMO, even if we completely ignore any risks posed by police abusing the data, the data theft risk alone from keeping this much personally identifiable tracking data on nearly every single person in the state of Florida for such a long period of time far outweighs any possible benefit it could have. Heck, the risk of keeping it for more than about a week far outweighs any practical benefit, statistically speaking. The risk of keeping it for ten years far exceeds the entire benefit of having a police force.

Re:He's right, it IS 'evidence' (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627299)

agreed. since when is ordinary mundane life referrred to as "evidence"

I could photograph your license plate (0)

Skapare (16644) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627113)

... and keep it forever and nothing you can do about it. I can post it on the internet and nothing you can do about it.

Re:I could photograph your license plate (0)

larry bagina (561269) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627181)

these guys [heraldsun.com.au] can do something about it.

Re: I could photograph your license plate (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627215)

Damn, I was hoping for a link to

Re:I could photograph your license plate (5, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627183)

I could photograph your license plate and keep it forever and nothing you can do about it. I can post it on the internet and nothing you can do about it.

Yes you can private citizen, though It would be very difficult for you to photograph everyone's license plate at various locations all around the city 24/7 and store them forever. And you certainly can't link that person's phone records, bank records, browsing habits, etc., etc. and store those forever. And here's the rub: even if you could do all of that you yourself couldn't do a fucking thing about it because you don't have the law on your side giving you the power to break down people's doors in the middle of the night with a paramilitary unit of trained, lethally armed thugs who *know* you're a criminal.

Re:I could photograph your license plate (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627317)

Yes you can private citizen, though It would be very difficult for you to photograph everyone's license plate at various locations all around the city 24/7 and store them forever. And you certainly can't link that person's phone records, bank records, browsing habits, etc.

I agree with the sentiment, but sadly it is out of date. License plates need to be completely rethought in lieu of the new capabilities available to both big brother (government) and little brother (citizenry).

First it was only repo-men: License plate data not just for cops: Private companies are tracking your car [nbcnews.com]

But the allure of monetizing those databases was too much, so the lobbying began: MVTRAC Spearheads Victory Over California SB 1330 [prnewswire.com]

And now the same companies that do track your phone calls, your bank records and your browsing habits are also selling license-plate tracking data:
Data Brokers Are Now Selling Your Car's Location For $10 Online [forbes.com]

And just for shits and giggles I'm going to throw this one in, brought to you by those data brokers: Your employer may share your salary, and Equifax might sell that data [nbcnews.com]

Re:I could photograph your license plate (1)

gsslay (807818) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628165)

America; let me introduce you to European data protection laws; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation [wikipedia.org]

EU legislation is far from perfect, but it still staggers me what companies are allowed to do in the States.

Re:I could photograph your license plate (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44628655)

Europe, where license plate RFID tracking is being rolled out...

Re:I could photograph your license plate (1)

Ichijo (607641) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627427)

It would be very difficult for you to photograph everyone's license plate at various locations all around the city 24/7 and store them forever.

Storing the data is pretty easy with cloud storage.

Crowdsourcing the license plate scanning would require a little creativity, but it could be done.

Re:I could photograph your license plate (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628315)

Personally, I don't think it would be difficult at all.
You just set yourself up at some big traffic axis in and out the city, and after a week I'm sure you'll have 90% of all cars and their movement.
Besides, who needs to track cars when you can just track a cellphone signal.

Re:I could photograph your license plate (1)

Greyfox (87712) | 1 year,2 days | (#44629323)

But EVERYONE could photograph EVERYONE's license plate, and probably even link them up with various social networks. If I were looking to organize a mass protest for this, getting a large enough portion of the population to put road-facing cameras on their property and post the location of the mayor and city council at all times in real time would be a pretty good "It's not so much fun when it's happening to YOU" example.

Re:I could photograph your license plate (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627191)

now, do that for every car that passes by a point.

and after that, install those capture devices everywhere.

do you really think this is what the founding fathers had in mind when they created this so-called free country?

the fact that computers and digital tech can take a small act and multiply it many times, THAT changes things. its different and you bloody well know it.

would you like it if we arranged to surveil every aspect of YOUR life and put it up on public show? yeah, we thought not.

and finally, you have to ask yourself a serious question: is this the kind of world you would prefer to live in? because something is technically (now) possible, does that mean its a direction we should go in without even a 2nd thought?

Re:I could photograph your license plate (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627975)

ohh c'mon - everything will be ok - the chief said so....

Re:I could photograph your license plate (2)

nbauman (624611) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627797)

... and keep it forever and nothing you can do about it. I can post it on the internet and nothing you can do about it.

There's a difference in scale between you photographing every license plate that goes past your house, and a large organization photographing every license plate, on every road, in the entire state.

That's what the Germans decided. You could drive down a street in Germany and whatever you can see through your car windows is public.

You could probably take a video without legal challenges.

But when Google drove down every street in Germany and captured everything visible in public with 360-degree cameras, the German courts decided that it violated their privacy laws.

A memory may last but a minute, but... (2)

EzInKy (115248) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627121)

...a picture is forever. Even if laws were enacted to delete them, backups of backups will preserve them for posterity.

Re:A memory may last but a minute, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627137)

Just think of the poor souls of the license plates stolen by the cameras. Gone forever!

Re:A memory may last but a minute, but... (2)

EzInKy (115248) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627199)

"Pictures or it didn't happen!"

That is the problem with society today.

Up to ten years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627131)

fsck, event 3 minutes is too long: it's long enough for some automated system to issue a speeding ticket and the abuse is done (letting aside the possiblity of having NSA prisming it forever... given the times we live in, one cannot rule this out).
I move to delete them as soon as the are captured... heck, why waste money to install these cameras in the first place? Aren't any other better means to ensure traffic safety?

(grin... I know, stupid... but less stupid than the code I am to write now)

Re:Up to ten years? (1)

Stolpskott (2422670) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627543)

fsck, event 3 minutes is too long: it's long enough for some automated system to issue a speeding ticket and the abuse is done (letting aside the possiblity of having NSA prisming it forever... given the times we live in, one cannot rule this out).

I move to delete them as soon as the are captured... heck, why waste money to install these cameras in the first place? Aren't any other better means to ensure traffic safety?

(grin... I know, stupid... but less stupid than the code I am to write now)

Damn, I am going to feed the AC troll. But I cannot resist...
If the pictures are deleted as soon as a citation is issued, there is no evidence to support or assist in refuting the citation. Or would you like to live in a world where the Police can say "the photographic evidence existed to charge this person with murder, treason, speeding, bestiality and voting Democrat, but he posted as a dipshit AC on /. insisting on the pictures being deleted after 3 minutes, so we deleted them and now it is up to him to provide evidence to prove his innocence".
Remember, photographic evidence can be a tool to prove both guilt and innocence.
Additionally, destroying evidence that was used as the basis for a citation is itself a criminal offence.
If a picture is taken by one of a network of cameras, and analysis confirms that it does not provide evidence of a specific and currently investigated crime crime, then it should be deleted immediately (no need to wait for 3 minutes, because that is enough time for the picture to be "archived for disaster recovery purposes". But if the picture shows evidence of a potential crime, then it should be kept at least until that crime has been investigated and charges brought/dismissed....

However, my own problem with my argument is ironically the "if the picture shows evidence of a potential crime" part - does anyone seriously want to claim that they know all the laws of whatever country they live in, and how those laws are interpreted by the police and judicial system? Given that the laws of any non-autocratic state become more complex over time (I cannot provide a citation for that, but I do recall reading it in an ex-girlfriend's Poli Sci course book while helping her study for an exam, but it is an echo of some commentaries by Voltaire and even Macchiavelli), it becomes inevitable that over time laws are less about the meaning and intention of the original legislators and more about interpretation by judicial authority, especially when those laws are seeming written to be very obtuse, unclear and overly broad. So the "evidence of a potential crime" angle is itself open to abuse.

The bottom line is that people in positions of authority cannot and should not be trusted to refrain from abusing their authority. The buffer against that abuse is an independent and transparent review process for all levels of the decision-making process, with the penalties for circumventing the review process being punitive and rigorously applied. Does anyone feel comfortable that this review process is working?

Re:Up to ten years? (3)

Alain Williams (2972) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627915)

If the pictures are deleted as soon as a citation is issued, there is no evidence to support or assist in refuting the citation. Or would you like to live in a world where the Police can say "the photographic evidence existed to charge this person with murder, treason, speeding, bestiality and voting Democrat, but he posted as a dipshit AC on /. insisting on the pictures being deleted after 3 minutes, so we deleted them and now it is up to him to provide evidence to prove his innocence".

It should be mandatory that if a citation were issued that the evidence were kept and made available to the defence. Keeping this 0.001% of the pictures until the court process is complete is very different from keeping 100% of the pictures for 10 years.

Re:Up to ten years? (2)

Culture20 (968837) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628463)

Or would you like to live in a world where the Police can say "the photographic evidence existed to charge this person with murder, treason, speeding, bestiality and voting Democrat, but he posted as a dipshit AC on /. insisting on the pictures being deleted after 3 minutes, so we deleted them and now it is up to him to provide evidence to prove his innocence".

I would love to live in that world since that's not how American courts work. And letting some actual murderers, traitors, speeders, perverts, and Democrats go free is an okay price for everyone's freedom.

Ya? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627133)

If I live in this town and I haven't done anything wrong, this affects my life how?

Over a period of 10 years driving around... (3, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627257)

Over a period of 10 years driving around, I think it's possible to chock up enough coincidental adjacency to criminal activity that we could selectively pick a non-random set of photos of your vehicle license plate, and establish a circumstantial case against you being involved in criminal activity.

Get a sufficient amount of data on anyone, and you can paint them as a criminal by being selective about the data you choose to use in presenting your case.

Re:Over a period of 10 years driving around... (2)

sconeu (64226) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627353)

In other words, Cardinal Richilieu was correct:

give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.

Re:Ya? (1, Interesting)

jpublic (3023069) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627417)

If I live in a town where police are allowed to murder anyone who breaks the law on the spot if they know the people broke the law and I haven't done anything wrong, that affects my life how?

In which fairy tail land do you live where the government is entirely composed of perfect beings who never make mistakes and never abuse their powers? You certainly don't live on Earth, because history is absolutely filled with examples of government corruption.

10 Years? (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627141)

That's appears to be longer than most Criminal Statute of Limitations [criminalde...lawyer.com] in Florida, except for the most serious crimes.

Re:10 Years? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627335)

With my cynic hat on, I think this might actually be good if you're a criminal. IIRC, the statute of limitations for some crimes doesn't begin ticking until someone could reasonably have discovered the crime. I could see someone arguing that the police should have been able to determine based on this evidence that the person committed a crime, and therefore the clock began ticking earlier....

How long does slashdot store my ip address? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627167)

Longer than the NSA does?

Title parsing should be easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627185)

Yeah, I got it eventually from context, but I still had to read it a couple times.

What's a Florida "Town Store" and why are they licensing images of or taken by "Plate Cameras?"

Not only intrusive, but completely unnecessary (5, Informative)

bieber (998013) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627189)

I grew up about a 15 minute drive away from Longboat key. Incidentally, I ran a camera at some of their city council meetings back when I did live video work, and they were about the most boring things I've ever sat through in my life. I literally watched them debate what kind of sand they should use to replenish their beaches for two hours on one occasion. On another I saw an argument go on for the better part of three hours, in which a new guest dock was being built at a gated community and the resident whose yard it was adjacent to was very much concerned that boats parked at the dock would obscure his view of the gulf. In a truly political compromise, they finally agreed that the dock would be built, but boaters should only use one side of it.

The reason I remember these anecdotes is that they were by far the most exciting things I saw happen at any point in their city council meetings. Longboat key is a quiet community of mostly elderly, very wealthy retirees. Not only is it populated almost entirely by senior citizens, but the island is well enough isolated that there's essentially zero risk of almost anyone ever deliberately going there: the only reason I've ever been to it was for the aforementioned jobs and to drive through it to get to Sarasota. Basically, to anyone who's ever been near Longboat Key, the idea that they need any automated license plate scanning system, let alone one that retains records for a decade, is laughably absurd.

Re:Not only intrusive, but completely unnecessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627273)

After reading the article and your post, I get the idea this whole thing is a "placate the old people" type of deal and while there may be some who are dead serious about it, there's probably a few people sitting back doing the old phantom jerk while smoking a bubble pipe.

Re:Not only intrusive, but completely unnecessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627617)

... need any automated license plate scanning system ...

By the sound of it, the local police won't be given machine-guns and battle-armour to fight the 'war on terror' in their neighbourhood. So they demand something that is 'think of the senior citizens' friendly.

Re:Not only intrusive, but completely unnecessary (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628077)

I ran a camera at some of their city council meetings back when I did live video work, and they were about the most boring things I've ever sat through in my life.

I believe that as I had trouble just reading your summary of the meetings without losing focus.

Really (1, Funny)

asamad (658115) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627197)

We have laws in place to make sure people don't do wrong things.... Why do we need police what could go wrong !

Re:Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627411)

Such a delightful troll, I'm almost tempted to feed it.

Longboat Key (1)

mfh (56) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627231)

As someone who has visited Longboat Key, let me just say it's one of the nicest communities in Florida. Nestled into the coast just off Sarasota, LBK is a kind of retirement community of older folks. There are a lot of criminal types that prey on the island from Sarasota, because of the wealth and opulence, and relative seclusion the island provides. There are some gated communities but primarily there are coastal homes and hotels along the key, which make it a perfect place for a would-be criminal to strike.

I'm not condoning license plate records but at the same time, known criminals that head for the island who do not take residence there are an obvious benefit for that type of surveillance.

But that said, if someone was applying for a job there who happened to have served their time and changed their ways from a criminal past -- this would cause police harassment for no reason and push a criminal back towards a life of crime, perhaps.

LBK is a kind of gated community in and of itself, however it is a free country and any citizen should be allowed to travel anywhere and no sheriff should have the power to tell someone to get out of town, because that's un-American.

For someone whose job... (1)

LordCrank (74800) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627303)

For someone whose job is based on the premise that people will not always obey the law, that police chief seems a bit too trusting that laws will prevent abuse.

Re:For someone whose job... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627333)

For someone whose job is based on the premise that people will not always obey the law, that police chief seems a bit too trusting that laws will prevent abuse.

On the contrary my friend... he knows only too well the more law breaking, the better for his career.

regulations, policies and laws.. and keyboards (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627399)

How quaint

"Regulations in place" (3)

mwvdlee (775178) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627453)

There are regulations, policies and laws in place that prohibit that kind of abuse.

If regulations, policies and laws were actually enough to stop people, we wouldn't need to have either the camera's, the keeping of evidence or even the police.

Demonstration Arrests: How It Was Done in 1961 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627475)

Slightly off-topic, but it is about the police. This is video of an edited 17 minute film titled Sunday that takes place in Washington Park, Manhattan. The somewhat civil nature of the police and naivete of the people is shocking in contrast to today's actions. There's something for everyone: gum chewing beat cops, a couple of drama queens, mixed couples mugging on-lookers, people singing the national anthem and actually knowing the words.

Tinfoil Hatless Post (3, Insightful)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627695)

The reason for all of this isn't for 'safety' or even revenue, but so those in power can have evidence to screw over who they don't like. Do you think the court is going to care if you are among the majority breaking some minor law? The argument that if the majority ignores a law does not seem to matter, which is pitiful, if one considers the only authority any government has is by the consent of the governed.

Take the highway speed limit in your area, which is almost certainly well below the average speed. They won't get you, usually, unless you exceed the average significantly. But it gives the police the power to pull over almost any vehicle going above the artificially low speed limit. And those that do follow the law will be 'suspicious' by 'failing to follow the prevailing speed'.

Using roadside cameras, they can target anyone. They can use these cameras to tell the average speed of the targeted vehicle, and they could write a ticket for that vehicle each day, remotely and possibly even automatically targeted. It's only a matter of time before automated toll devices (EZ-Pass) are used in this way, already in some areas using these devices gets a discount, so you pay extra either way.

Whether this town is doing this for 'safety', revenue, or some more nefarious reason, I can't tell from the story. The only thing we can do is stay the hell away and not spend our money there. I'm going to put my tinfoil hat back on now.

Simple (4, Insightful)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | 1 year,2 days | (#44627867)

Next time a local politician is suspected of philandering, simply FOIA the records and show how he and his girlfriend met at some hotel. Such rules will get changed in a hurry.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44629059)

I don't think criminal records are "public records" subject to FOIA. However, it does beg the questions of whether LE is inviting a whole new realm of defense discovery motions, for example now every defendant will be able to demand all their ALPR data. Heck, it might exonerate some people like DNA (or at least support reasonable doubt).

Plink 'em out (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44627919)

I wonder just how often people take to the intersections with BB guns, paintball guns, or perhaps maybe even lighters and roofing shingles?

I have a feeling that the resistance will one day use tactics like this. But they'll probably just install new cameras...

Stored for 10 years - until they add a new HD (1)

stiggle (649614) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628007)

Well I suppose they can always add another HD and extend the storage period.

I'm so glad i dont live in your 'free' country (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44628057)

I used to dream of visiting the united states, i even wanted to move there or so i thought, thank goodness that did not come to fruition. Now i would not even consider stepping foot there. Most people here used to talk of the american dream and hopes to move there someday to have a part of it, now when we speak of america its a joke and little more.

Avoid Longboat Key Florida (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44628201)

The message is clear. Avoid Longboat Key Florida. Don't even do mail order or Internet business with Longboat Key Florida.

I thought the commenters were crazy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44628471)

...have their new license plate camera up...

Until I read the article and noted that they had setup camera s ; as in plural. Makes a bit of a difference.

He is practically taunting you, "if discovered"? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628635)

It is interesting how he answered the question, very carefully inserting a strategic, "if discovered" in the sentence. Looks like he is already abusing the system, or aware of people abusing it or could imagine people abusing it.

The Keys (1)

b4upoo (166390) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628709)

Most people probably do not know that the Keys are islands with one road in and one road out. Many of the keys have no other road on their island at all. So it is US1 or swim for it. That makes it super easy to get every single vehicle on cams and makes it known exactly when the vehicle enters and leaves the key. This can help to catch criminals but it can also help keep false convictions from taking place. Florida also has other places with high quality surveillance and the bad guys know it. We have had incidents where attacks by boats have been staged on homes of the wealthy.

Longboat Key (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44628837)

Longboat Key is notorious. You can drive through but there's nowhere to stop. If you get there by boat and anchor, you'll be arrested. If you get to the beach, even below high tide line, which is federal land, you will be arrested. Always been that way.

Difference Between Soviet Union and Longboat Key? (1)

fygment (444210) | 1 year,2 days | (#44628985)

KGB didn't store images for so long.

the database switcheroo (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44629261)

I received a toll ticket from Florida, for a car that has never been to Florida.

The Florida Atty. General didn't seem concerned at all that this kind of mistake happened.

jr

Not license plates! (1)

asylumx (881307) | 1 year,2 days | (#44629389)

Oh noes! The government is tracking what the license plate number is on my car! Forget the fact that it's a license number they issued to me in the first place, when I told them exactly what kind of car I drive....

Re:Not license plates! (1)

krovisser (1056294) | 1 year,2 days | (#44629933)

Yes, but now they will know your driving habits and where you go each and every day. Still want to hand them this info?

Re:Not license plates! (2)

malakai (136531) | 1 year,2 days | (#44630265)

Yes, but now they will know your driving habits and where you go each and every day. Still want to hand them this info?

I'd hand them that info.

They could pull my cell records and find out where I went with better accuracy. They could tail me. They could talk to my friends and find out where and what I did on a certain day. Honestly, even if they couldn't do any of that, I'd still hand over where I was and what I did on some day. They are trying to solve some crime, I'd help them to the best of my abilities and recollection. And if I had digital recollections, I'd pull those up as well. Why are we working "against" the police? Because we they give us traffic tickets?

I honestly don't fucking care. To me, if it makes police work easier, cheaper, and more efficient, then I'm all for it. I'm more angry at the criminal elements who like to take advantage of a society that bends over backwards to try and be understanding and open. Were's the outrage on the causal criminal that decides while driving by your house that they are going to grab your amazon boxes outside your door?

I trust the police to carry lethal weapons and to intervene and start the justice process. As well as collect evidence and statements. That is their job.

The majority of the comments I've read here attack from a future where the posters are living in a dystopian society where "officials" are looking for reason to trap, blame, or frame someone who was innocent into a criminal.

I just don't get it. If they really are so evil, they don't need traffic cameras to frame you. They'll pull you over and put something illegal in your car. Gameoverman.

Why Is Your Shortsightedness And Apathy My Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44630805)

While it is fine for you to not care and to willingly offer this information to the government, there are many of us law abiding citizens who value our privacy and do not feel that we should be subjected to constant surveillance. That you do not value your privacy does not mean that we should not value ours nor does it give you any right to decide the value of our privacy.

You choose to turn a blind eye to the numerous reported cases(who could possibly know how many go undiscovered or unreported?) of government and law enforcement abuses of the laws against private citizens. It is a proven fact that there will be abuses of a system that allows anyone with access the ability to stalk an individual and track their whereabouts for, in this case, the past ten years. Abuses will occur. Not might, will. I'm pretty sure you would start caring if you were the subject of such action, but it's never happened to you so you feel no risk and categorize everyone else that sees the risk as paranoid, delusional, or criminal. But, if a Longboat Key policeman took an interest in your daughter and started stalking her via this license plate database, I'll bet you'd start caring the. Sure, he could stalk her without the database, but why make it easy for him? Why provide him with the temptation when there is NO LEGITIMATE NEED.

There is NO legitimate reason for this system to maintain records of everyone that passes it for ten years. Images of innocent citizens going about their daily lives should be deleted as a matter of course within a few days or weeks and their privacy maintained. Keeping records of criminal activity is fine. But, your apathy should not impinge on the privacy of every other non-criminal citizen, let alone expose them to the very real threat of someone illegally using this record against them.

I'll bet you had no issue with New York's completely unconstitutional stop and frisk policy. I'd wager that if you were the one being frisked, you'd feel differently. It doesn't matter if you "get it" or not. We "get it" and this is a very bad situation that is rapidly getting worse on a daily basis.

I have lived on Long Boat Key, FL (1)

splitsevin (953745) | 1 year,2 days | (#44629485)

This is beyond ridiculous.

There is absolutely no crime on the island (as in zero). It's a very, very, very wealthy strip of island in Sarasota, FL and there's no reason for this.

The police department there has more money than they know what to do with. I guess it shows.

Mandatory ignorance (1)

jacksdl (552055) | 1 year,2 days | (#44629711)

I am constantly surprised the technically sophisticated slashdot commenters seem to overwhelmingly respond from a perspective of paranoia. Besides the Florida license plate story, it comes up with all big data abuse scenarios. Why can't the technical community come up with some ideas on making the data available for legitimate societal good (missing kids, alibis for innocent people, apprehending real terrorists) and find controls that keep creepy police state abuse at bay. Police could be breaking down doors and taking citizens away on flimsy excuses, but for the most part this is not happening. We can create checks and balances on the access to big data. We just have to recognize that it is here to stay and we can't legislate it away.

We outlawed them here (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,2 days | (#44629865)

NH, 2006 [nhrsa.org] , because that's we roll. Floridians should be ashamed of their Peeping Tom government.

Hygiene (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44630545)

I always like to use the real-world analogy of crumbs and cockroaches.

If you leave a bunch of crumbs laying around, it will attract cockroaches. That's why you sweep up the crumbs.

If you leave a bunch of private data laying around, it will attract people who have the ethics of a cockroach. That's why you get rid of the data.

It's simply a matter of hygiene. Just as physical hygiene promotes physical health, data hygiene likewise promotes ethical health.

This also explains why I get a "dirty" feeling when I use a browser that keeps cookies, history, passwords, etc. It offends my sense of hygiene, which triggers the same disgusting feeling as when I am physically dirty. In both cases, I know the dirt can attract malodorous parasites.

Is it identifying info or not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44630569)

If traffic cameras are identifying information and considered sufficient to write tickets with, then by law, images not associated with a case must be deleted within 6 months. If traffic camera information is not considered identifying, then they shouldn't be allow to use it in court and they can keep it as long as they have the disk space.

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