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posted by CoolHand on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the evil-vs-good dept.

It's not just governments and law enforcement agencies that are advocating the use of license plate readers, as The Intercept's Lee Fang reports:

As privacy advocates battle to rein in the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs), they're going up against another industry that benefits from this mass surveillance: lenders and debt collectors. [...] In Rhode Island, for instance, state Rep. Larry Valencia and state Sen. Gayle Goldin proposed bills in 2014 to prohibit the sale or trade of data collected by ALPRs, and to mandate that the state destroy records after one year.

I filed a records request and found two letters in opposition. One letter came from the[sic] Steven G. O'Donnell, on behalf of the Rhode Island State Police, arguing that law enforcement should be able to come up with its own internal procedures to govern the use of ALPRs. The other letter came from Danielle Fagre Arlow, senior vice president to the American Financial Services Association (AFSA), a trade group for consumer lending companies, some of which target the subprime market.

"Our particular interest in the bill," Arlow wrote, "is the negative impact it would have on ALPR’s valuable role in our industry – the ability to identify and recover vehicles associated with owners who have defaulted on their loans and are not responding to good-faith efforts to contact them." Arlow opposed the bill's restrictions on "how long data can be kept because access to historical data is important in determining where hard-to-find vehicles are likely located."

AFSA lobbied against several similar bills as they were proposed around the country. In Massachussetts, the group lobbied against a bill designed to destroy ALPR records after 90 days. AFSA argued that such a regime is unfair because "ALPR systems work best when they are used to string together the historical locations of vehicles."

[...] According to the ACLU of Rhode Island, the ALPR privacy bill died last session — notably, the bill failed after the consumer lending lobbyists voiced their opposition.

Unofficial Secrets is a newly launched and more frequently updated blog from First Look Media/The Intercept.

Related stories:

DHS Wants a National License Plate Tracking System
Ars Technica Obtains Large Dataset of Oakland Police Department License Plate Scans
Watch Out for "Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection"

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Sunday May 10 2015, @04:33AM

    by frojack (1554) on Sunday May 10 2015, @04:33AM (#180986) Journal

    There are half million of these in the Android Play store. Many for EU and even Russia.

    No clue what the average guy would do with these other than to become bounty hunters for dead-beats.
    I would think the way to go about this for the Loan recover business would be for them to publish a list to the app, rather than the app simply sending random plates in to some company in the sky.

    But I bet that's not what they plan. I bet they end up trying to track Every Financed Vehicle for the term of the loan.

    Not content with the surveillance society, they now aim to turn us against each other.

    Glad you walked away.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
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  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday May 10 2015, @05:15AM

    more or less the way I would do it would be to scan license plates all over town, then search for matches from lists that I obtained from auto credit companies.

    But just because one can, does not mean that one should.

    Yes I Have No Bananas. []
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:04PM (#181090)

      I'd scan plates at the local motels that charge by the hour. Much bigger potential for profit there.

      • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday May 10 2015, @04:47PM

        there's a lot of big businesses around here - Intel, Mentor Graphics, Nike.

        I'd scout around for the kinds of parking lots where one might find maseratis or ferraris.

        Yes I Have No Bananas. []
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @07:27PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @07:27PM (#181140)

          People with money are much less likely to default on their loans or payment plans. Heck, most wealthy people will just buy these cars outright, few would bother to finance such petty items. My boss at this one place I work even bought some nice apartment complexes outright.

          • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday May 12 2015, @03:10AM

            A close friend scored $1.5M when he sold his dot-com to a competitor.

            You know what he did with all that cash?

            He took out a whole bunch of loans.


            He lost everything in the dot-com crash. I asked him one day why his website said his new company had some open positions. He replied that doing so led his creditors to believe he was solvent.

            Yes I Have No Bananas. []
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:00PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:00PM (#181089)

    >I bet they end up trying to track Every Financed Vehicle for the term of the loan.

    You are not thinking big enough. They want to track every vehicle.

    Forbes ran a story [] a couple of years ago about how one network of repo-scanners are selling tracking data for every plate they have ever scanned.

    The price to lookup a plate? Just $10.