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posted by Dopefish on Sunday February 23 2014, @10:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the party-like-it's-1984 dept.

siliconwafer writes "The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking to acquire a vehicle license plate tracking system, to be used at the national level. According to the solicitation obtained by the Washington Post, commercial readers, supplied by a private company, would scan the plate of vehicles and store them in a "National License Plate Recognition" (NLPR) database. This is already being done at the state level, and privacy advocates are up in arms, with EFF and ACLU suing California over their automatic plate readers. Now that this has potential to become a broad and national program."

[ED Note: "Shortly after the Washington Post broke the story on the national plate reading system, it appears the DHS has shelved their plans for the tracking system, by order of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, at least in the interim."]

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by tenex on Sunday February 23 2014, @03:52PM

    by tenex (575) <> on Sunday February 23 2014, @03:52PM (#5196)

    The federal government doesn't (yet), but the states can and some do--it varies by state. This article has a reasonable write-up of how it is supposed to work in fighting 'crime': readers-a-useful-tool-for-police-comes-with-privac y-concerns/2011/11/18/gIQAuEApcN_story.html []

    According to the article, in DC they capture a million data points a day and as a result, have made 1 arrest a day and have found 51 stolen cars using this data.

    The counter argument is obvious: without the network of scanners and a massive database, there may or may not have been 1 less arrest/day and they may or may not have found all 51 stolen cars. The police actually can do a pretty reasonable job without a lot of technology.

    On the other end of the spectrum we have the Minnesota State Patrol, who have a single ALRP equipped patrol car and they destroy the records after 24 hours if the number isn't connected to a crime within that time; it's a small state, and someone should really buy them a bigger SD card. /1028823/222/License-plate-tracking-debate-simmers -in-Minnesota- []

    I think collecting the transactional license data and using it in active criminal investigations might be fine if it's actually used, but after a few days (1-7) it isn't found to be directly pertinent to an 'active' investigation it should either be expunged from the system or anonymized for later use.

    I can see having a history of anonymous (datetime, location) data available to the local city traffic engineers might even help my drive to work.

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  • (Score: 2) by dry on Sunday February 23 2014, @11:35PM

    by dry (223) on Sunday February 23 2014, @11:35PM (#5371) Journal

    The other counter argument is "do better means of catching car thieves exist?"
    Around here they use bait cars (and even bait bicycles). Cars with remote kill switches, video cameras and such left in high crime areas and when a car thieve steals the car they swoop down on them and make the arrest.
    No rights taken away from the honest person except maybe one less parking spot and it works very well.