Tag Archives: Vigilant Video

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!

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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.

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