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posted by janrinok on Sunday June 21 2015, @04:24PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the back-to-eating-donuts dept.

In a rare move against the advance of license plate readers, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) has vetoed a plan to acquire the scanners in the Bayou State. It had previously passed both houses of the Louisiana legislature overwhelmingly.

Many law enforcement agencies nationwide use these specialized cameras to scan cars and compare them at incredible speeds to a "hot list" of stolen or wanted vehicles. In some cases, that data is kept for weeks, months, or even years.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/06/louisiana-governor-vetoes-license-plate-reader-bill-citing-privacy-concerns/

[Related]: Governor's Statement

Senate Bill No. 250


Original Submission

Related Stories

California Senate Bill Could Thwart Automated License Plate Readers 26 comments

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.

Related:
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


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Sunday June 21 2015, @04:33PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 21 2015, @04:33PM (#199114) Homepage Journal

    I don't like Jindal very much - but he got this at least partly right. His reasoning doesn't go far enough though. He objects to retaining data indefinitely, and sharing that data outside of law enforcement. I object to surveillance in general - doesn't matter much to me how long the data is retained, or who it might be shared with. The longer the retention, and the more it is shared DOES make the surveillance worse, but that is just a matter of degree. Surveillance of the citizenry is WRONG!

    --
    Your private safe room in the back of your mind? Trump pooped in it.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by CortoMaltese on Sunday June 21 2015, @05:02PM

      by CortoMaltese (5244) on Sunday June 21 2015, @05:02PM (#199122) Journal

      I don't think this particular issue is as white and black, I wouldn't object if, after comparing the plate with the "hot list" it would immediately delete the information if the car comes clean, with no human intervention.
      It would be arguable that the "hot list" could be used for other purposes, but that's more of a problem with police oversight than the reader itself.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anal Pumpernickel on Sunday June 21 2015, @05:46PM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Sunday June 21 2015, @05:46PM (#199132)

        I don't think this particular issue is as white and black, I wouldn't object if, after comparing the plate with the "hot list" it would immediately delete the information if the car comes clean, with no human intervention.

        Then you're naive. By allowing them to set up all this surveillance infrastructure, you're creating a situation where it is easy for corrupt politicians in the future to misuse the technology. You can't trust them to delete the data even now. We mustn't allow mass surveillance at all. And frankly, even storing the data for a millisecond is too long.

        It would be arguable that the "hot list" could be used for other purposes, but that's more of a problem with police oversight than the reader itself.

        It's a historical fact that it *will* be misused, so let's limit the number of toys they can oppress us with.

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @05:50PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @05:50PM (#199135)

          What if the alternative is higher taxes (because the license plate readers can replace human toll collectors, along with their pension benefits and sick pay?).

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anal Pumpernickel on Sunday June 21 2015, @06:18PM

            by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Sunday June 21 2015, @06:18PM (#199146)

            Surrendering privacy for lower taxes is foolish. And if you think the companies who make these things are going to be cheap, you're wrong. Somehow they always find a way to collect as much money as possible from the taxpayers.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @06:43PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @06:43PM (#199155)

            > What if the alternative is higher taxes?

            Remember Mussolini? He made the trains run on time.

            Everything has a price. The fundamental freedom of the citizenry to travel without being stalked is worth a lot more than the cost of a bunch of human toll collectors.

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by linuxrocks123 on Sunday June 21 2015, @07:00PM

              by linuxrocks123 (2557) on Sunday June 21 2015, @07:00PM (#199162) Journal

              Please stop spreading misinformation: http://www.snopes.com/history/govern/trains.asp [snopes.com]

              • (Score: 4, Insightful) by khallow on Sunday June 21 2015, @08:42PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 21 2015, @08:42PM (#199196) Journal
                I'm sure the grandparent was quite aware that the saying was Fascist propaganda. Just because it's not entirely true isn't relevant. What is relevant is that it was used as an excuse to rationalize a tyranny. Even if it were entirely true, it doesn't justify Fascism. Should we institution a substantial curbing of human freedom just to save a little money on human toll collectors any more than we should to have trains that run on time? I just don't think so.
                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @09:40PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @09:40PM (#199215)

                  > I'm sure the grandparent was quite aware that the saying was Fascist propaganda.

                  As the GP, I confirm. I read that snopes article many years ago. And you are also correct, it makes no difference to the point being illustrated - that arguments for efficiency are too often just shortcuts to fascism.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @12:22AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @12:22AM (#199231)

                  Just because it's not entirely true isn't relevant.

                  Don't let troublesome things like facts get in the way of making your point. It is the story that's important, not whether it is true. You'd make a great rabbi.

                  Or cable network pundit.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday June 22 2015, @12:40AM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 22 2015, @12:40AM (#199234) Journal

                    Don't let troublesome things like facts get in the way of making your point.

                    This fact didn't get in my way in the first place because running the trains on time, even if it were true, just isn't justification for tyranny. And we're all aware that the saying is a lie, even the person who sardonically quoted [soylentnews.org] the saying in the first place.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @09:14PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @09:14PM (#199205)

            Yer suggestin dey can terk er jerbs!

        • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Sunday June 21 2015, @06:03PM

          by captain normal (2205) on Sunday June 21 2015, @06:03PM (#199142)

          ".. allowing them to set up all this surveillance infrastructure"...
          That ship has already sailed. It is here now and there is no going back (without a world wide disaster). The large phone companies have had such infrastructure for decades. The best we can do is require adherence to (here in the US) the Constitution of the U.S. In particular the first 10 Amendments. I think G.B and France, and most European countries have similar guaranteed rights.
           

          --
          “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison
          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anal Pumpernickel on Sunday June 21 2015, @06:21PM

            by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Sunday June 21 2015, @06:21PM (#199147)

            That ship has already sailed. It is here now and there is no going back (without a world wide disaster). The large phone companies have had such infrastructure for decades.

            Let's not add to it, then. We should focus our efforts on getting rid of the existing mass surveillance infrastructure.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @06:46PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @06:46PM (#199156)

            > It is here now and there is no going back (without a world wide disaster).

            There may be no going back, but there is going forward. Technology has a way of obsoleting the status quo. Maybe we can't change the status quo through arguments for privacy, but we can make it easier to leave that quo behind through conscious choices regarding the use of new technology.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @03:49PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @03:49PM (#199456)

          Then you're naive. By allowing them to set up all this surveillance infrastructure, you're creating a situation where it is easy for corrupt politicians in the future to misuse the technology. You can't trust them to delete the data even now. We mustn't allow mass surveillance at all. And frankly, even storing the data for a millisecond is too long.

          ...

          It's a historical fact that it *will* be misused, so let's limit the number of toys they can oppress us with.

          I would guess you've never had your vehicle stolen, then. (Especially a vehicle on which your livelihood depends and which has enough debt on it such that you're not sure how you'll get another vehicle because the insurance won't pay off enough of the outstanding balance.)

          My father having been through that experience, I would have liked very much for an automated system to have spotted it, instead of never having been seen again.

          I take your point - it is possible for any system to be corrupted. It is also possible, with much effort, to design a system wherein the corruption is detected and responded to.

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anal Pumpernickel on Monday June 22 2015, @04:30PM

            by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Monday June 22 2015, @04:30PM (#199478)

            I would guess you've never had your vehicle stolen, then.

            Ah, I see. So you're going to use the "If X happened to you, you'd think differently, and therefore your current arguments are wrong!" fallacy? Or what are you suggesting here that is of use to the conversation? Try to refute my actual arguments.

            Second of all, this just shows you're unprincipled. Sacrificing privacy & freedom in these instances for security is the sign of a coward, and those arguments will never convince me.

            I take your point - it is possible for any system to be corrupted.

            It's not just possible for it to be corrupted; history overwhelmingly demonstrates that these systems *will* be corrupted.

            It is also possible, with much effort, to design a system wherein the corruption is detected and responded to.

            That's hilarious! You're killing me here. Next you'll tell me we just need to design a system to control the NSA and all will be well. These things are never easy, and the best way to make sure they aren't corrupted is to get rid of them entirely. They can't abuse what doesn't exist. And that is a perfectly acceptable solution when you're dealing with devices that violate your privacy or mass surveillance.

            But even if they weren't abused, I'd be opposed to them 100% simply because they are mass surveillance devices by design and necessity.

            • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @06:15PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @06:15PM (#199532)

              Ah, I see. So you're going to use the "If X happened to you, you'd think differently, and therefore your current arguments are wrong!" fallacy? Or what are you suggesting here that is of use to the conversation? Try to refute my actual arguments.

              Second of all, this just shows you're unprincipled. Sacrificing privacy & freedom in these instances for security is the sign of a coward, and those arguments will never convince me.

              No, I'm stating that X happened to my family, and possibly would not have with this technology, therefore I think you may be wrong and I think differently. And that I am willing to consider the idea of something that might have reduceed the risk of the livelihood of my family being destroyed. And yes, if you had walked in my shoes you may feel differently. So try answering my actual question: Have you, or have you not, been the victim of vehicle theft?

              But now that you've asked for a contribution: I'd also say that since long before I was born police have used hot sheets of stolen cars, and I do not see why applying it to all cars driving past a certain point is wrong by itself. In fact, I do prefer it to be administered impartially upon all rather than at the whim of the cop in the car looking up plates individually. I do have questions about data retention.

              Aside from that, we do sacrifice privacy and freedom for security. That happens, and the question is more of what a legitimate trade-off looks like. Society does restrict you, even if you haven't run up against it yet, and absolute freedom and privacy is a complete myth if you intend to live in any community of human beings. But since no arguments will ever convince you I see no need to engage in arguing with you. That still won't keep me quiet, though.

              That's hilarious! You're killing me here. Next you'll tell me we just need to design a system to control the NSA and all will be well. These things are never easy, and the best way to make sure they aren't corrupted is to get rid of them entirely. They can't abuse what doesn't exist. And that is a perfectly acceptable solution when you're dealing with devices that violate your privacy or mass surveillance.

              But even if they weren't abused, I'd be opposed to them 100% simply because they are mass surveillance devices by design and necessity.

              I'm glad you are amused. And sure, the NSA might be a prime example, why not? The NSA isn't going anywhere and it's just as pleasant a laugh to imagine thinking you - or anyone else - will be able to make them go away. (Espeically when those who hold the actual power and wealth of the nation want them to stay where they are and do what they do.) There will be a system to monitor foreign communications - that will exist, at minimum. So, you're left with the option of who controls it and how it is controlled. Just because I want it to go away doesn't mean I'm naive enough to think it will or that I can demand that it will.

              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anal Pumpernickel on Monday June 22 2015, @06:31PM

                by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Monday June 22 2015, @06:31PM (#199535)

                Have you, or have you not, been the victim of vehicle theft?

                Your question is completely irrelevant to the validity of my arguments.

                But now that you've asked for a contribution: I'd also say that since long before I was born police have used hot sheets of stolen cars, and I do not see why applying it to all cars driving past a certain point is wrong by itself.

                Because you should have privacy from mass surveillance; it's that simple.

                Here are the differences between humans doing the monitoring and machines doing it instead:
                1) Cost. It's far more expensive to have humans conduct mass surveillance, which makes it nearly impossible to do.
                2) Reliability. Humans are far more fallible and have bad memories. This means your data is likely safe, because it's stored in a fallible human brain and can't be easily shared. Only the most memorable and important information is usually remembered.
                3) License plate readers can be nearly everywhere and yet still report their data to a single source (the government), and quite efficiently. Humans can't do that nearly as easily.

                The differences are so fundamental that we need to recognize a right to privacy from mass surveillance. If most people just keep assuming that humans doing X and technology automatically doing X are the same thing, we are well and truly doomed.

                Aside from that, we do sacrifice privacy and freedom for security.

                Yes, we do. Examples of this are the TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, DUI checkpoints, License Plate Readers, stop-and-frisk, Stringrays, and warrantless wiretapping of all sorts. And all of which is, without exception, an egregious violation of our fundamental liberties and must be eliminated. You're not in good company when you advocate for the security state.

                Also, the US is supposed to be 'the land of the free and the home of the brave'. Try to act like it.

                Society does restrict you, even if you haven't run up against it yet, and absolute freedom and privacy is a complete myth if you intend to live in any community of human beings.

                I merely want the government to follow the constitution, which means that mass surveillance devices are necessarily prohibited.

                Just because I want it to go away doesn't mean I'm naive enough to think it will or that I can demand that it will.

                Then you have given up and are part of the problem. It's naive to think that if we let them have the mass surveillance infrastructure, they'll follow all the rules and make sure no communications from US citizens get spied on. I don't expect that it will be easy to defeat the NSA, but even if the odds are nearly nonexistent, it's worth trying.

                Foreigners deserve privacy from mass surveillance, as well. Any foreign surveillance should be as targeted as possible, and it should be done on enemy countries.

                • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Monday June 22 2015, @10:09PM

                  by Phoenix666 (552) on Monday June 22 2015, @10:09PM (#199616) Journal

                  I don't expect that it will be easy to defeat the NSA, but even if the odds are nearly nonexistent, it's worth trying.

                  The Stasi were defeated. I take heart from that.

                  We must remember that we're all carrying around devices for the NSA to spy on us, but they can also be used to spy on them. The people at the NSA are humans who physically exist. They have homes and drive cars. They buy things. They marry and have friends. They can be seen walking down the road or filling up their tank at gas stations. As long as those things are true, they remain quite vulnerable to an angry and determined citizenry.

                  Naturally they can then choose to only hire single, unattached orphans whom they house in underground bunkers and who never see the light of day, but that's not going to be a very fun career option for those people and it will breed a thousand Edward Snowdens in their ranks. It is no fun at all to be the jailor when you're the one who can't leave the jail.

                  --
                  Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @04:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @04:36PM (#199115)

    the NSA surveillance controversy. In theory, it could be solved by the adoption and rigorous observance of protocols for secure data transfer and periodic records disposal. In practice, those prototols would be full of holes.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @05:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21 2015, @05:57PM (#199139)

      In practice all this surveillance info could be used to blackmail leaders (if it's not already being used to do so).

      How many of your leaders are squeaky clean (if they were would they even managed to get to their positions?).

      If the spies can spy on everyone they can spy on your leaders and thus blackmail them. Then who is controlling who?

      • (Score: 2) by That_Dude on Sunday June 21 2015, @08:02PM

        by That_Dude (2503) on Sunday June 21 2015, @08:02PM (#199182)

        If this is so, then couldn't the targets thus manipulate their watchers?

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by khallow on Sunday June 21 2015, @08:48PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 21 2015, @08:48PM (#199197) Journal

          If this is so, then couldn't the targets thus manipulate their watchers?

          Who will they be sleeper agents for? Developing a false life for decades in order to fool a security apparatus isn't something conducive to spontaneous democratic rebellions.

          • (Score: 2) by That_Dude on Sunday June 21 2015, @10:47PM

            by That_Dude (2503) on Sunday June 21 2015, @10:47PM (#199219)

            Ever played Three-Card Monte?

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday June 22 2015, @12:14AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 22 2015, @12:14AM (#199226) Journal

              Ever played Three-Card Monte?

              No, I'm not that much of a sucker. The problem here too is that the supposed mark can change the rules on a whim.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @12:24AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @12:24AM (#199232)

      Why you guys think it is the government surveillance that is an issue is beyond me.

      Oooh, gotta run. Time to check out my Facebook account!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @01:06AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @01:06AM (#199240)

        Why you guys think it is the government surveillance that is an issue is beyond me.

        Corporations readily cooperate with the government, so whatever data corporations have the government is likely to get.

        And government surveillance can be used to more easily destroy your life, destroy democracy [gnu.org], and is larger in scale.

        Oooh, gotta run. Time to check out my Facebook account!

        Good thing I don't have a Facebook account.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @12:38PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @12:38PM (#199388)

          Whoooosh....

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @02:16AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @02:16AM (#199254)

    The article says the bill passed both chambers "overwhelmingly". I don't know the LA election process or atmosphere, but that sounds like there would be enough votes to override his veto, which means his veto is most likely simple electioneering for someone who wants to be President. The real test would have been if there wasn't enough votes to override him, then his veto would actually mean something real. Maybe he really feels like he says he does on this topic, but you can't really tell that from the circumstances here if his veto gets overridden.

    This happens in Congress all the time. On contentious issues, lots of votes are withheld by Congressmen in "vulnerable" districts until very late. They wait to see if their vote actually matters. If it doesn't, they can then cast their vote in whatever direction politically suits them and go back to their districts talking about how they are fighting the good fight. If you watch the vote counts on CSPAN as they come in, you get a bunch up front from the ones that are confident in their vote, then it trickles along until either the required number to pass is reached, or if the outstanding votes left can't cross that threshold, then you see the rest pile in quickly.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @12:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @12:18PM (#199381)

      We have a winner. Jindal is only concerned about one thing....getting elected. He is 100% politician. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.

      Source: actually from Louisiana

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @06:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22 2015, @06:10PM (#199530)

      Each party's Whip handles brokering the arrangements for congressmen in districts vulnerable to the given issue. In essence, for most major pieces of legislation, the vote counts are known in advance, with significant repercussions for those who reverse their position at the last minute. What you see on CSPAN during the vote count is more a fact that the Capitol complex is large, and it can take 15 or 20 minutes to get from their office to the floor for the vote.