from the MichaelDavidCrawfordNews dept.
Claiming it's because there's no poles to mount them on, the City of Paradise Valley, Arizona began installing license plate readers inside towering, fake cacti:
LPRs are normally mounted on light poles and traffic lights to scan for stolen cars or vehicles involved in an Amber Alert, but cities and counties have been stashing them in dozens of different covert locations, from car's fog lamps to retrofitted ladders. And in Arizona, it's not uncommon to see antennas camouflaged as a cactus, so the decision – at least from an aesthetic point-of-view – makes sense.
[...] [Town manager Kevin] Burke said the cameras are not being put in fake cactus to be secretive, but because there are no light poles in the area to put them on. He says they're trying to make the cameras aesthetically pleasing. It's all part of a $2 million police technology upgrade the council passed last year.
Is it safe to say the cameras are operated by a bunch of pricks?
A bill in the California Senate would allow drivers to cover their license plates when parked to prevent automated license plate readers from reading them. Law enforcement (or somebody else) would have to manually lift the cover to obtain the license plate number:
If the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a San Diego-based Republican state senator have their way, it will soon become legal for Californians to cover their license plates while parked as a way to thwart automated license plate readers.
[...] As written, the new senate bill would allow for law enforcement to manually lift a cover, or flap, as a way to manually inspect a plate number. The idea is not only to prevent dragnet license plate data collection by law enforcement, but also by private companies. A California company, Vigilant Solutions, is believed to have the largest private ALPR database in America, with billions of records.
Ars is unaware of a commercially available product that would allow a license plate to be easily blocked in this fashion. A man in Florida was arrested earlier this year for using a miniature black screen that could be activated via remote control as a way to block his plate number when he passed through automated toll booths.
The new bill will come up before the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on Tuesday, May 9—the first stop in the legislative process.
The California Police Chiefs Association has already filed its opposition to the bill. In a letter to Sen. Joel Anderson, the group argued that the bill would only benefit one group: "those who are trying to evade law enforcement and detection." Similarly, the bill has faced resistance from the California Public Parking Association, among other groups.
DHS Wants a National License Plate Tracking System
Debt Collectors Fight Privacy Advocates Over License Plate Readers
Arizona City Using Fake Cacti to Hide License Plate Cameras
Louisiana Governor Vetoes License Plate Reader Bill, Citing Privacy Concerns.
Open Source License Plate Reader: Little Brother Strikes Back!
Federal Agents Enlisted Local Police to Scan License Plates at Gun Shows
Amazon Wants to Scan Your License Plate