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License plate readers: Little concern for privacy

schwit1 (797399) writes | more than 2 years ago

Government 4

schwit1 (797399) writes "More than 250 cameras in Washington DC and its suburbs scan license plates in real time. It's a program that's quietly expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.

Some jurisdictions store the information in a large networked database; others retain it only in the memory of each individual reader's computer, then delete it after several weeks as new data overwrite it.

A George Mason University study last year found that 37 percent of large police agencies in the United States now use license plate reader technology and that a significant number of other agencies planned to have it by the end of 2011. But the survey found that fewer than 30 percent of the agencies using the tool had researched any legal implications.

With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing the information from the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles."

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4 comments

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so? (1)

planimal (2454610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120604)

you have no right to privacy on public roads.

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120684)

Having no right to privacy is not the same as deserving no privacy.

Re:so? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120762)

you have no right to privacy on public roads.

The case law that supports your position comes from an era long before the existence of cameras that could read and permanently record the plates of every single car that passed on a public road 24x7. Nobody had even considered such a possibility, never mind the effects on the public's right to travel freely at the time.

In essence these ANPR systems have created the modern equivalent of the soviet internal passport. The burly guard with a machine gun demanding, "Papers Please!" has been replaced by cameras that see all and databases that never forget. But make no mistake - what we have now is the wet dream of those who ran the system in the former USSR.

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