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posted by CoolHand on Tuesday May 09 2017, @05:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the little-freedoms dept.

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.

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  • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:09PM

    by Arik (4543) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:09PM (#507089) Journal
    "Well, them and people who actually care about privacy."

    Hush, we don't exist.

    "The big problem with this that I can see is that they're *keeping* this data. If they're merely looking for stolen cars there's no reason to do that."

    The reason is simple - bureaucracies NEVER willingly give up ANYTHING. If they are allowed to collect the data it will be virtually impossible to prevent them from keeping the data, and eventually finding other uses for it. Lawful or not.

    You can conceivably get a private company to do this - you have to write very harsh contract conditions and this won't happen as things are today, but at least it's conceivably possible. You can't do that with a government bureaucracy. EVEN IF you pass laws with very harsh penalties that apply to them, they will not be consistently enforced against the government itself and will therefore not produce compliance. We have plenty of laws on the books that the government simply ignores already.
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