Category Archives: Automatic License Plate Recognition

Are We being Tracked by ALPR Spy Cams? 38 State Law Enforcement Agencies to be Queried

Kaye Beach

July 30, 2012

It has recently been announced that 38 states (including Oklahoma) have joined with the ACLU of Maryland to find out how the information collected by ALPR camera license plate data is being handled.  This is very good news! (Click the map to find out state specifics)

Automatic License Plate Readers

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland joined with ACLU affiliates in 38 states to send requests to local police departments and state agencies to seek information on how they use automatic license plate readers to track and record Americans’ movements.  Here in Maryland, the state has reported that there are more than 320 ALPRs being used and many are linked to the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, Maryland’s “fusion center,” where the data is potentially stored indefinitely, creating an ever-growing database of our location and travel through the state.

ALPRs are cameras that cam be mounted on vehicles such as police patrol cars or in fixed locations like light poles. These cameras snap photographs of license plates and store the image along with the vehicle’s registration data plus the time date and location of every vehicle captured. The devices have the potential to track all vehicles even those who are registered to owners who have broken no law at all.  Without appropriate restrictions, the police can collect, share and retain the data indefinitely which enables our movements to be tracked and monitored, a concern I raised recently with the announcement that Shawnee police were using the devices and touting their potential to be used for investigative purposes.

“For investigating, it will be phenomenal,” Frantz said. Link

Read more;

Are Oklahoma Cops Using Spy Cams to Become Super Snoopers?

073012 Press Release: ACLU Seeks Details on Automatic License Plate Readers in Massive Nationwide Request; Information Sought on How Cameras are Used by Police Agencies and How Data is Stored

14 Incredibly Creepy Surveillance Technologies That Big Brother Will Soon Be Using To Spy On You

Kaye Beach

July 10, 2012

If we were making the technology conform to the laws intended to protect our rights rather than making the law conform to the capabilities of the technology, these things would not be such a concern.

1 “Pre-Crime” Surveillance Cameras

#2 Capturing Fingerprints From 20 Feet Away

#3 Mobile Backscatter Vans

#4 Hijacking Your Mind

#5 Unmanned Drones In U.S. Airspace

#6 Law Enforcement Using Your Own Cell Phone To Spy On You

#7 Biometric Databases

#8 RFID Microchips

#9 Automated License Plate Readers

#10 Face Reading Software

#11 Data Mining

#12 Street Lights Spying On Us?

#13 Automated ISP Monitoring Of Your Internet Activity

#14 Spying On Us Through Our Appliances

From Blacklisted News

Source: Michael Snyder, BLN Contributing Writer

Most of us don’t think much about it, but the truth is that people are being watched, tracked and monitored more today than at any other time in human history.  The explosive growth of technology in recent years has given governments, spy agencies and big corporations monitoring tools that the despots and dictators of the past could only dream of.  Previous generations never had to deal with “pre-crime” surveillance cameras that use body language to spot criminals or unmanned drones watching them from far above.  Previous generations would have never even dreamed that street lights and refrigerators might be spying on them.  Many of the incredibly creepy surveillance technologies that you are about to read about are likely to absolutely astound you.  We are rapidly heading toward a world where there will be no such thing as privacy anymore.  Big Brother is becoming all-pervasive, and thousands of new technologies are currently being developed that will make it even easier to spy on you.  The world is changing at a breathtaking pace, and a lot of the changes are definitely not for the better.

The following are 14 incredibly creepy surveillance technologies that Big Brother will soon be using to watch you….

Read on

Are Oklahoma Cops Using Spy Cams to Become Super Snoopers?

Kaye Beach

June 16, 2012

Two police agencies (to my knowledge) in Oklahoma are now using Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR).  The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department and the Shawnee Police Department.

LINK

These cameras snap photographs of license plates and store the image along with the vehicle’s registration data plus the time date and location of every vehicle captured. ALPR can be mounted on police vehicles or in a fixed location and they can capture thousands of license plates per hour.

Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz is very excited about his new surveillance technology for the same reason Oklahomans should be concerned.

“For investigating, it will be phenomenal,” Frantz said. Link

ALPR is great for spotting stolen vehicles or wanted criminals but they also capture the information of completely innocent drivers.  If the information captured on non-offending drivers was immediately discarded then the concern would not be so great but that is not what is happening.  Without proper rules in place, this potentially valuable tool becomes nothing less than a nationwide tracking system.

As I have written about recently, the information is being used by a private company, Vigilant Video, to build an enormous database, the National Vehicle Location Service (NLVS).   As a private corporation Vigilant Video is not bound to any privacy requirements which (somewhat) restrain governmental entities and yet police departments nationwide are both supplying and utilizing the NLVS database.

You can watch Vigilant Video’s ticker that reveals how many records have been consumed by their national database here.  At the moment of this writing the count was 669, 699,058.

If you follow the link to view the ticker, be sure to look at the other products this company is offering.

Line Up” certainly caught my attention.

LineUp collects face images, detection times and “entire human” (full body) images — then catalogs all human face events into a centralized database. Using the LineUp Event Search, you can enter a suspect image into the system — and instantly search through a time-based history of every possible match.

This isn’t an issue of lack of privacy in public. We cannot stop ourselves from being viewed or photographed once we enter the public sphere. ALPR collecting, storing and sharing of this data is more properly understood to be much more than a simple sighting in public-it’s an investigation. (More on that aspect here)

The Electronic Police State

An electronic police state is characterized by state use of electronic technologies to record, organize, search and distribute forensic evidence against its citizens.

The information gathered under an electronic police state is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial. It is gathered universally (“preventively”) and only later organized for use in prosecutions.

In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every email sent, every Internet site surfed, every post made, every check written, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping…are all criminal evidence, and all are held in searchable databases. The individual can be prosecuted whenever the government wishes.

Link

I consider it to be an assault on my autonomy as a free, independent and law abiding citizen to be entered into a tracking database.   It may surprise you to know that although I am a law abiding person, I still have plenty I would like to hide from the government.  I don’t want them to know where I go to church, who I associate with, what political events I attend or where I get my nails done.  Even though I am not doing anything wrong-they are- and it is none of their damn business! 

Lots of people have plenty to hide that is still no business whatsoever of the police or any of their cronies that they might be persuaded to share this info with.   If you happen to go to AA, have a sweetie on the side or are a politician (hello!)-you should be especially concerned and more than a little creeped out.

The only reason to track and monitor anything is for control so what does that tell you about the collection of this type of information on all of us?

I suggest that residents of Shawnee and Oklahoma County contact their Police Chief or Sheriff and ask a few questions about how this data is being used.

You have a right to receive from your chief law enforcement official;

  • A copy of their data policy and privacy policy governing ALPR’s
  • Any documents showing how the collected plate data is stored, shared and/or deleted
  • Any auditing requirements the department has to ensure appropriate data privacy, and to discover and punish any abuse of the system.

You should be able to get this information by simply requesting it.  I say “should.” It may not be that simple in which case you will want to structure your request to include reminders of Oklahoma’s Open Records Act.  Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this.  Use a template!

Oklahoma Open Records request template

http://journalism.okstate.edu/faculty/jsenat/requestletter.htm

About OK Open Records Act

http://andylester.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=3Yx2gpCgJBM%3D&tabid=81

Autonomy  is “The desire to avoid being manipulated or dominated wholly by others.

… Loss of autonomy means loss of our capacity to control our own  life

It also would be a good idea for anyone who is concerned about their privacy or autonomy to contact their local police or sheriff’s department and ask if they have or are considering using ALPR and let them know that you will cause a ruckus if they use this technology inappropriately.

Data should not be retained or shared on innocent motorists!

“Pettigrew was pitching the deal’ says former InsureNet lobbyist

Kaye Beach

April 19, 2012

In a new article published this week by the Claremore Daily Progress, Chad ALexander, former InsureNet Lobbyist comes forward with more information about District 2 congressional candidate, Wayne Pettigrew’s activities with the infamous “spy cam” insurance verification company, Insurenet.

Pettigrew acted as a lobbyist from 2009 to the middle of the 2010 Oklahoma Legislative Session, according to Alexander.

Pettigrew somehow still maintains that he was not a lobbyist for InsureNet despite his activities which can only be described as lobbying.

It started with the Governor’s office. They were getting the green light to move forward,” Alexander said.

As the reporter explained in the  first article, Lobbyist or not? Wayne Pettigrew’s InsureNet connection under scrutiny,

According to Oklahoma laws pertaining to lobbying, one can serve as a lobbyist by representing the interests of a client before government officials or enable such work as a “lobbyist principle,” that is a person who “employs or retains another person for financial or other compensation to conduct lobbying activities on behalf of the lobbyist principle.”

Pettigrew did both and admits that he was to receive a percentage amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, upon securing a contract with a state to use the InsureNet insurance verification system.

Incidentally, this is a system that would have had ALPR license tag scanning camera to capture every driver’s license plate along with the date, location and time when it was captured, to verify insurance status.  Pattigrew also maintains that this system in no way, would have been an invasion of privacy.

Mr. Alexander correctly sums up Pettigrew’s activities in this way;

Part of the problem with Pettigrew’s activities according to Alexander is that in Oklahoma lobbyists are not allowed to operate on a pay for play basis.

“The fact is that in Oklahoma you can not have a contingency based contract,” Alexander said, “Just because he did not get paid does not mean he was not attempting to get the system passed.”

Just because Pettigrew did not make a contract does not mean he was not breaking the rules for attempting to do so, according to Alexander.

But according to the article;

Pettigrew continues to maintain that his role was “that of a business consultant promoting a service that he believed was beneficial to the state of Oklahoma and other states and that the program provided greater privacy protections than the system in place currently.”

“This service was competitively bid by the state of Oklahoma and the company that I promoted was not chosen,” Pettigrew said.

However, the fact that InsureNet, the company that Pettigrew was “promoting” never secured a contract for it’s ‘spy cam’ based service didn’t stop him from testifying before Pennsylvania House members on March 2, 2010 that Oklahoma (and two other states) were “currently in the implementation process” (see the Pennsylvania House of Representatives transcript pg 30)

What does “currently implementing” mean to you?

I referred to Mr. Pettigrew in a recent post as being “truthy”  I think that I was being much too generous.

What do you think?

 

Read the entire article by Salesha Wilken,  Pettigrew disputes lobbyist claims

 

You are being tracked-the National Vehicle Location Service

Kaye Beach

April 1, 2012

You know what would really be disturbing?  If all of the ALPR (Automatic License Plate Recognition) tag scanning cameras (both public and private) were taking all of the millions of tags that they were capturing indiscriminately and uploading them into a searchable,  central database.  Remember that ALPR systems not only collect the tag number of the vehicle but also the exact time and location of the vehicle.  Now THAT would be very disturbing!    We could effectively be tracked wherever we go.

As a Los Angeles Police Department Chief of Detectives explained, “the real value” of ALPR “comes from the long-term investigative uses of being able to track [all] vehicles—where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing.” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1956787

Well, they ARE doing it.  Want to see how many?

National LPR database counter

What is NVLS?

NVLS stands for National Vehicle Location Service and is a service delivered in conjunction with National Vehicle Service – NVS (http://www.nvsliens.org/) to LEA’s via the NLETS messaging system. The LPR data delivered as part of the NVLS web portal comes from a nationwide LPR data repository managed by Vigilant Video containing both private and publicly gathered LPR data.

Read more
Take a look at Vigilant Video’s PowerPoint;

NVLS_Tier_I_R1

Naturally, the first I heard of it was through the International Association of Chiefs of Police in their agenda for what I call The IACP’s Big Brother Fest 2010. (They have one every year)  If you are feeling brave,  take a look for yourself.   Forewarned is forearmed.

Here is a great article about Vigilant Video’s incredible new service.

Private company hoarding license-plate data on US drivers

January 12, 2012 | G.W. Schulz

Capitalizing on one of the fastest-growing trends in law enforcement, a private California-based company has compiled a database bulging with more than 550 million license-plate records on both innocent and criminal drivers that can be searched by police.

The technology has raised alarms among civil libertarians, who say it threatens the privacy of drivers. It’s also evidence that 21st-century technology may be evolving too quickly for the courts and public opinion to keep up.

. . .Meanwhile, police around the country have been affixing high-tech scanners to the exterior of their patrol cars, snapping a picture of every passing license plate and automatically comparing them to databases of outstanding warrants, stolen cars and wanted bank robbers.

The units work by sounding an in-car alert if the scanner comes across a license plate of interest to police, whereas before, patrol officers generally needed some reason to take an interest in the vehicle, like a traffic violation.

But when a license plate is scanned, the driver’s geographic location is also recorded and saved, along with the date and time, each of which amounts to a record or data point. Such data collection occurs regardless of whether the driver is a wanted criminal, and the vast majority are not.

While privacy rules restrict what police can do with their own databases, Vigilant Video, headquartered in Livermore, Calif., offers a loophole. It’s a private business not required to operate by those same rules.

Read More

Steve Martins Robo Plate Trolling Bill for Insurance Verification Curbed by Amendment

Kaye Beach

March 15, 2012

**update** video of House floor action on HB2525 here (choose HB2525)

Sometimes (like when you have the flu…) you really feel thankful for the work of the Oklahoma Watchdog.

Catching up on today’s legislative action in the House as hammered out by the Oklahoma Watchdog himself on Twitter, I found an intriguing description (all in 140 character or less!) of the action taken on the infamous Robo Cop bill by Rep. Steve Martin.

Of course this caught my eye first;

‘HB 2525 by Rep. Steve Martin passed tonight’

Ack!  But wait…there’s more.

It looks like Reynolds added an amendment that ensures that cops can’t just sit around running tags (manually or robotic-ally with the license plate reading cams) and checking to see if the vehicle is insured or not then pulling you over if the system indicates you are not insured.  There has to be some other reason for a stop first.

This ‘trolling’ of plates as a pretense for stopping and fining drivers is what had some Okies inflamed back in Feb. when the bill was first offered by Rep. Martin.

The video for this session is not up yet so I will have to check back tomorrow to be sure but from looking over the bill and amendments it does appear that the “trolling for plates” idea was sent to the curb by Rep. Reynolds!

As reported by the Oklahoma Watchdog on twitter   https://twitter.com/#!/WatchdogOK

  • now up, HB2525 by Steve Martin
  • Martin: one in four motorists are uninsured and law enforcement will need more tools to deal with this.
  • Williams asking if the Martin amendment is a floor substitute because he said “it replaces the bill”
  • Chair: it only amends one section, so it is not a floor substitute

(Martin’s Amendment here)

  • Reynolds amendment: this amendment requires probable cause before an officer can pull you over.

(Reynold’s Amendment here)

Reynold’s Amendment;

By deleting the language in the amendment

b.   at any other time, may access information from the online verification system and, if compliance is not confirmed, stop the operator of the motor vehicle and verify the current validity of the policy described on a security verification form produced by the operator.

And inserting

b.   at any other time, with probable cause, may access information from the online verification system and, if compliance is not confirmed, stop the operator of the motor vehicle and verify the current validity of the policy described on a security verification form produced by the operator.

  • Morrissette: what you’re trying to do is good, but I think it’s written incorrectly
  • Reynolds: you may be right but since I don’t even think we have enough members to suspend the rules I think we should go forward with this.
    • Virgin: so the officer must have probable cause to pull a driver over before checking insurance? Reynolds: yes. (Emphasis mine)
    • There will be debate on the Reynolds amendment to the Martin amendment.
    • My amendment ensures that the bill does what the author says he intends.
    • Reynolds amendment to the Martin amendment passes 39-25(Emphasis mine)
    • martin amendment adopted by voice vote.
    • McCullough: seems like you’re trying to create probable cause by checking the tag to see if there’s insurance(Emphasis mine)
    • Martin: that was the intent but with the Reynolds language it’s now back to existing law.
    • Holland: I just want to make sure that as it stands now, can a police officer run your plate and pull you over for not having insurance? (Emphasis mine)
    • Martin: under current law they cannot and under this bill they cannot. (Emphasis mine)
    • HB2525 passes 56-11

FAA to Assess Safety of Drones in US Airspace

Kaye Beach
Feb. 16, 2012
From EPIC (the Electronic Privacy Information Center)
FAA to Assess Safety of Drones in US Airspace
In a 2012 re-authorization bill for the Federal Aviation
Administration, Congress has required the agency to develop rules
governing the operation of unmanned drones within US national airspace.
The FAA’s official duties include requirements to promulgate
regulations that will ensure a safe and efficient US airspace.
The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 requires the FAA to
conduct a public rulemaking that will assess public safety concerns,
licensing requirements, flight standards, and air traffic requirements.
The FAA Secretary will also undertake safety studies and develop
standards for “safe operation” of drones in US airspace. However, the
legislation does not consider it necessary to assess the privacy risks
of drone deployment.
Currently, anyone can apply for a license to operate a drone; the only
barriers to operation of unmanned aircraft are procedural requirements
that oblige drone operators to obtain operation certificates. The FAA
is required to take safety into account when promulgating regulations,
and, in some limited circumstances, also must consider the public
interest. Additionally, the FAA may, but need not, choose to consider
other elements, such as privacy, when implementing regulations.
Drones may be equipped with high-resolution cameras and camcorders,
license plate readers, and infrared sensors. Many drones possess
weapons capabilities. Currently, technology is being developed to
outfit drones with facial recognition technology. Domestic drone use
has increased dramatically in recent years; the cities of Miami, FL,
and Conroe, TX, outside of Houston, have acquired drones for use by law
enforcement. The US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection operates
10 Predator drones along US borders. In late 2011, the Bureau found
itself embroiled in controversy when it was reported that a drone was
loaned to North Dakota law enforcement to locate missing livestock.
EPIC:  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Drones
FAA:  2012 Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act
US Customs and Border Protection:  Unmanned Aircraft Systems Overview
FAA:  Fact Sheet on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
In a 2012 re-authorization bill for the Federal Aviation
Administration, Congress has required the agency to develop rules
governing the operation of unmanned drones within US national airspace.
The FAA’s official duties include requirements to promulgate
regulations that will ensure a safe and efficient US airspace.
The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 requires the FAA to
conduct a public rulemaking that will assess public safety concerns,
licensing requirements, flight standards, and air traffic requirements.
The FAA Secretary will also undertake safety studies and develop
standards for “safe operation” of drones in US airspace. However, the
legislation does not consider it necessary to assess the privacy risks
of drone deployment.
Currently, anyone can apply for a license to operate a drone; the only
barriers to operation of unmanned aircraft are procedural requirements
that oblige drone operators to obtain operation certificates. The FAA
is required to take safety into account when promulgating regulations,
and, in some limited circumstances, also must consider the public
interest. Additionally, the FAA may, but need not, choose to consider
other elements, such as privacy, when implementing regulations.
Drones may be equipped with high-resolution cameras and camcorders,
license plate readers, and infrared sensors. Many drones possess
weapons capabilities. Currently, technology is being developed to
outfit drones with facial recognition technology. Domestic drone use
has increased dramatically in recent years; the cities of Miami, FL,
and Conroe, TX, outside of Houston, have acquired drones for use by law
enforcement. The US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection operates
10 Predator drones along US borders. In late 2011, the Bureau found
itself embroiled in controversy when it was reported that a drone was
loaned to North Dakota law enforcement to locate missing livestock.
EPIC:  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Drones
FAA:  2012 Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act
US Customs and Border Protection:  Unmanned Aircraft Systems Overview
FAA:  Fact Sheet on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Oklahoma Robo Cop Alert! Rep. Steve Martin’s HB 2525

Kaye Beach

**Update Feb 12, 2012-this bill passed the Public Safety Committee last Wed. Rep Martin says it has nothing to do with tag scanning cameras.  I’m placing bets (figuratively speaking) on how long it will be before insurance verification is added on to the ALPR cameras already on some of the police cars in the state.**

Feb, 4, 2011

And I thought I missed Groundhog Day.

I got this email alert  on HB 2525 by Rep Steve Martin from Oklahomans for Liberty tonight.

 HB 2525 will allow police to pull you over… Not because you are speeding, not because you are driving erratically, but to check and see if your auto insurance is expired.  Click here to read the bill.

In fact, it can be the PRIMARY reason you are pulled over

(pg 3, line 11)

Oklahomans for Liberty asks;

Rep. Martin, please explain how the police can determine my insurance isn’t current before they pull me over?  Do they have some newfangled x-ray device that can see through my car AND my wallet to read the date on my insurance card?

I can answer that.  No.  It’s not an x-ray device but it’s close and this where the ‘Robocop’ comes in.   It’s called ALPR-Automatic License Plate Reader, and these things are all the rage.

ALPRs are not ordinary cameras. Attached to police cruisers, or fixed on telephone poles or other stationary places, the cameras snap an image of nearly every license plate they encounter. The device produces a file for each image captured, which includes searchable text displaying the time, date and GPS location of the car when and where the plate was ‘read’. This information is fed into a database, where it can be shared with other agencies and databases, and “mined” or analyzed. Read more

ALPR, known not-so-affectionately in Oklahoma as Spy Cams, caused such an outrage across the state that one of only a handful of questions asked to gubernatorial candidates Jari Askins and Mary Fallin at their face off preceding the election was regarding their stance on the use of the devices.

And if this all smells vaguely familiar to you, it should because we have stepped in this pile before!

Back in 2010, HB 2331 by Steve Martin proposed to  amend Title 47 “to allow at-will random insurance verification via an online insurance verification system, without a traffic-stop or accident having occurred first; the bill further gives authority for law enforcement to then seize the vehicle if found to be uninsured.
Observation or verification can be conducted from a fixed location, i.e. from the roadside, or from a moving patrol car.  Oklahoma utilizes an online insurance verification system, which may or may not be accurate.” (from a 2010 OK-SAFE Action Alert)  Read more

HB 2331, the 2010 bill by Rep. Steve Martin, as introduced, required officers to seize the vehicle if a driver had not complied with the Compulsory Insurance law.

Upon issuing a citation under this paragraph, the law enforcement officer issuing the citation shall seize the vehicle being operated by the person

Confiscating property is a big deal and this bill took away the ability of an officer to use their good judgment.  I was outraged by Rep. Martins answer when he was asked if a woman and her children should be just left on the side of the road at night because of lack of insurance and he said absolutely-YES!

Martins 2010 bill, HB 2331 was  amended  and softened by replacing the word “shall” with “may.”   The bill passed both houses and was ultimately signed into law.

But back to Rep. Steve Martin’s current bill, HB2525.  Currently the insurance verification law reads;

Establishing compliance with the Compulsory Insurance Law through the online verification system shall not be the primary cause for law enforcement to stop a motor vehicle

http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=82234

If Rep. Martin’s new bill HB 2525  passes law enforcement will be able to drive around with their little spy cams mounted on their cars and scan every plate they pass.  Every time the spy cam alerts that a motorist does not have insurance the officer can promptly issue a ticket.  These tag scanning cameras (ALPR) can scan hundreds of tags per hour.  I predict that the time it takes to stop you and actually issue you a citation will soon be seen as an obstacle to the efficient revenue enhancement of the state and they will just mass mail the tickets out automatically before long.

By the way, these tag scanning devices can do a LOT more than just check for your insurance status.

Oklahomans for Liberty recommends (and I agree!) that we might want to talk to our legislators who are on the Public Safety Committee pronto because the bill goes to that committee this Wednesday, Feb 8th (Room 512A at 10:30 AM)

This bill is being heard Tuesday Wednesday morning so we need to call the members of the Public Safety Committee and urge them to vote no on HB 2525.  Here is the list of the committee members.  I urge you to contact as many as you can before Tuesday morning.

Representative Sue Tibbs, Chair  (405) 557-7379
Representative Steve Martin, Vice Chair  (405) 557-7402
Members:
Representative Ed Cannaday  (405) 557-7375
Representative Josh Cockroft  (405) 557-7349
Representative Doug Cox  (405) 557-7415
Representative Tommy Hardin  (405) 557-7383
Representative Chuck Hoskin  (405) 557-7319
Representative Fred Jordan  (405) 557-7331
Representative Charlie Joyner  (405) 557-7314
Representative Al McAffrey  (405) 557-7396
Representative Pat Ownbey  (405) 557-7326
Representative Pam Peterson  (405) 557-7341
Representative Brian Renegar  (405) 557-7381
Representative Paul Roan  (405) 557-7308
Representative Todd Thomsen  (405) 557-7336
Representative Steve Vaughan  (405) 557-7355

Private company hoarding license-plate data on US drivers

Private company hoarding license-plate data on US drivers

January 12, 2012 | G.W. Schulz

Capitalizing on one of the fastest-growing trends in law enforcement, a private California-based company has compiled a database bulging with more than 550 million license-plate records on both innocent and criminal drivers that can be searched by police.

The technology has raised alarms among civil libertarians, who say it threatens the privacy of drivers. It’s also evidence that 21st-century technology may be evolving too quickly for the courts and public opinion to keep up. The U.S. Supreme Court is only now addressing whether investigators can secretly attach a GPS monitoring device to cars without a warrant.

A ruling in that case has yet to be handed down, but a telling exchange occurred during oral arguments. Chief Justice John Roberts asked lawyers for the government if even he and other members of the court could feasibly be tracked by GPS without a warrant. Yes, came the answer.

Meanwhile, police around the country have been affixing high-tech scanners to the exterior of their patrol cars, snapping a picture of every passing license plate and automatically comparing them to databases of outstanding warrants, stolen cars and wanted bank robbers.

The units work by sounding an in-car alert if the scanner comes across a license plate of interest to police, whereas before, patrol officers generally needed some reason to take an interest in the vehicle, like a traffic violation.

But when a license plate is scanned, the driver’s geographic location is also recorded and saved, along with the date and time, each of which amounts to a record or data point. Such data collection occurs regardless of whether the driver is a wanted criminal, and the vast majority are not.

Read more

http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/private-company-hoarding-license-plate-data-us-drivers-14379

Super Duper License Plate Snoopers-Federal Grants for Texas Spy Drones

Kaye Beach

Nov. 16, 2011

If they can use ALPR (Automatic License Plate Recognition) then they can use facial recognition too.  And if they can do something-you can bet your bottom dollar that they will do it.

Drone Gives Texas Law Enforcement Bird’s-Eye View on Crime

By

Published November 16, 2011 | FoxNews.com

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is weeks away from launching an unmanned aerial asset to help deputies fight crime. The ShadowHawk helicopter is six-feet long, weighs fifty pounds and fits in the back of an SUV.

“We can put it over a fire, put it over ahazmat spill, put it over a house with a suspect barricaded inside and literally give the incident commander the ability to look at the entire scene with a bird’s eye view, ” Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel said.

Sheriff’s deputies will fly the ShadowHawk with nothing more than a laptop computer and a remote control similar to that used for video games.

It’s equipped with an infrared camera that can clearly read a license plate from an elevation of twelve hundred feet. The helicopter cost upwards of $300,000 and was purchased with a grant from the federal government.

Read More

Also see this article mentioning facial recognition;

European Dispatch November 16, 2011

America Edges to Brink of Armed Police Drones

But police have been known to dodge these guidelines by flying drones over public protests where members of certain political movements are known to gather. Activists on the left and right assume the police want to collect mass photographic information of people in political movements, including portraits to run through facial-recognition software.