Justin Case writes:
If you have an IP-enabled security camera, you can download some free, open-source software from GitHub and boom—you have a fully functional automated license plate reader, reports ArsTechnica .
Matt Hill, OpenALPR's founder, told Ars technica "I'm a big privacy advocate... now you've got LPR just in the hands of the government, which isn't a good thing."
Will "they" like it when "we" have a crowdsourced database of where and when congressmen, judges and cops go throughout their work day?
Does this level the playing field? Open yet another can of worms? Both?
Training our computers to do it for us gives much of the same benefits as a live neighborhood watch, with a dramatic reduction in personal time investment.
With a loss of privacy, too. Now, how could there be a loss of privacy if someone else was already doing the job of neighborhood watch? Because human brains are fallible, they tend to forget things. Furthermore, license plate readers tend to be far more accurate and less costly, which actually does make a huge difference when it comes to privacy. Finally, these license plate readers will record the data, and all the people who have access to the data will be able to see it; this is different from a human merely sharing information with a few people because that takes time and it less accurate, while this data can be easily shared with countless people and there is little chance of the equipment "forgetting" anything.
At the very least, license plate reader usage by the government should be completely banned; they are necessarily tools of mass surveillance, which makes them unconstitutional.
I've lived in neighborhoods with "live watch" (retirement community... waaaay too much time on their hands) - they're mostly harmless, but can get out of hand and often do exceed their basic mandate of "keeping watch" and get into snooping, needless judgement, and there was that kid that got shot in Florida... All in all, I'd rather have a database with timestamps and plate numbers, instead of a 73 yo veteran with undiagnosed PTSD and a personal arsenal in his garage that nobody knows about keeping watch on the neighborhood.
Agree that it is mass surveillance and unconstitutional. I do hope that the court that hears the case will be liberal enough to shut the government collection and sharing down, keeping the data where it belongs - fragmented and hard to access in the hands of private citizens, corporations and security firms; any of which who decide to aggregate the data and share it on a scale of "mass surveillance" should also be shut down. Do I think we'll have a court that liberal in the next 50 years? Probably not.