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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: 2, Insightful) by adolf on Sunday February 23 2014, @09:30PM

    by adolf (1961) on Sunday February 23 2014, @09:30PM (#5325)

    2. ANR (automatic numberplate recognition) is ridiculously good in modern application. It consists of one or more video-ish cameras, one or more fairly serious IR illuminators (remember, license plates are retroreflective), and some computer vision code.

    License plates are somewhat like MICR codes in that they've got standardized shapes for the letters and numbers and the plate itself, and are therefore much easier read than (say) trying to OCR a page from a book shot with a camera (which has been done for years, now).

    It doesn't even need a clear frame of the entire plate at once in order to read it: It can read part of a partially obstructed plate in one frame, and the rest of the plate once if the obstruction moves enough.

    Sure, there will always be partial or missed reads. But it's also easy to assign an error estimate to every single read, partial or not, and then compare that data to the output of other ANR systems further down the road, and end up with a very clear, low-error-rate, individualized map of who's going where.

    It's very cool tech, and is something that I, for one, am not at all interested in participating in.

    --
    I'm wasting my days as I've wasted my nights and I've wasted my youth
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  • (Score: 1) by Joe Desertrat on Monday February 24 2014, @03:39AM

    by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Monday February 24 2014, @03:39AM (#5496)

    "...ANR (automatic numberplate recognition) is ridiculously good in modern application. It consists of one or more video-ish cameras, one or more fairly serious IR illuminators (remember, license plates are retroreflective), and some computer vision code..."

    And in Florida at least, and I'm sure in many other places, they are trying to introduce plates that are easier to read by such means. I imagine they are looking at RFID identification and any and all other such means as well.

    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday April 29 2014, @05:09AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @05:09AM (#37523) Homepage

      Montana has gone the other way... a lot of the specialty plates are hard to read when you're standing right there, so I wonder how they are for cameras. Tho color filtering might make the numbers leap out.

      [I can't believe the Reply link is still active, but since I tripped over this post...]