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?
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.
Take a look at Vigilant Video’s PowerPoint;
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.
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.