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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: 5, Interesting) by Nuke on Sunday May 10 2015, @10:04AM

    by Nuke (3162) on Sunday May 10 2015, @10:04AM (#181047)
    AC wrote :- "

    You ever tried getting a job if you're not in debt? Why, you don't deserve to have a job, because you don't have any debt to pay. ...... Debt is the stuff that binds society together.

    Don't know why this was modded down; while tongue-in-cheek, there is a lot of truth in it. Years ago having a debt was something to be ashamed of, these days not having debts makes others suspicious. I bought a car recently and could afford to pay rather than get "finance". The car salesman looked at me as if I must have stolen it, and still banged on about I should apply for "finance".

    I recently tried to open a savings account, offered by the UK Post Office, with a large sum (like $100k in US money). They promptly demanded proof of identity - to take driving licence and a utility bill into a post office, which I did But they still rejected my application, setting up even more hurdles. BTW, I have always been a UK citizen and resident, and with a clean record. I failed these further hurdles apparently because I had put a road name on the application which did not appear on the utility bill. Fact is the road I live on has no name, it is in the sticks, but their form had insisted on one so I gave its government designation number. There is no doubt that not having debts means that you are regarded as untrustworthy.

    There is no doubt that not having debts means that you are regarded as untrustworthy.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by kaszz on Sunday May 10 2015, @11:28AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Sunday May 10 2015, @11:28AM (#181054) Journal

    Not having debt means they have less control over your life.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:04PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:04PM (#181091)

    I bought a car recently and could afford to pay rather than get "finance". The car salesman looked at me as if I must have stolen it, and still banged on about I should apply for "finance".

    You misunderstood what was going on there. He gets a commission on the sale of the loan in addition to the sale of the car. All he cared about was the money.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Arik on Monday May 11 2015, @10:10AM

    by Arik (4543) on Monday May 11 2015, @10:10AM (#181421) Journal
    Too true.

    I was told as a child 'do not a borrower or a lender be' and I've mostly lived by that rule.

    Now I move to a new city and need to find a place to rent, and I get rejected for 'no credit.'

    Not bad credit. No negative information. I simply don't have any credit history because I do not take loans.

    The rental agents heads explode at the thought. Not one of them even bothered to call my previous landlords before rejecting me.

    It's merely a symptom of the deeper problem though. The US is in love with credit, in love with selling tomorrows bread to buy sweets today. We're a rotten society, corrupt, deep in debt, and no longer even trying to save ourselves. Instead we congratulate ourselves on our errors, we work hard to convince ourselves that we are doing right and good, even knowing in our guts it's nonsense. Someone with no credit history is too much opportunity for cognitive dissonance and must be shunned, consigned to the gutter, hopefully destroyed outright and quickly!

    After all, if I can pay my bills and live without the things I cannot afford, why cant you? Not a thought most people can face.
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
  • (Score: 2) by Kromagv0 on Monday May 11 2015, @01:24PM

    by Kromagv0 (1825) on Monday May 11 2015, @01:24PM (#181455) Homepage

    Your experience with car buying sounds similar to when I last bought one. While I had the money available financial institutions move a a glacial pace for getting me my own money. So I took out a loan for the car as the vehicle I was driving (my beater Jeep) got such crappy gas mileage that it was cheaper to pay the interest for a bit than continue to drive my jeep every day. Then 4 days after getting my current car I went to pay off the loan and talk about a pain in the ass. I had the loan document from the dealer but things weren't completely in their system yet so I couldn't just pay the thing online. I ended up on the phone with them for a couple of hours trying to pay the damn thing off and even then they tried to talk me out of paying the damn thing off as I had a really good rate. The interest ended up being just a few dollars (I think it was like $8) yet I saved about $30 in gas over those 4 days.

    T-Shirts and bumper stickers [] to offend someone
  • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Tuesday May 12 2015, @03:02AM

    by Common Joe (33) <reversethis-{moc ... 1010.eoj.nommoc}> on Tuesday May 12 2015, @03:02AM (#181765) Journal

    There is no doubt that not having debts means that you are regarded as untrustworthy.

    Although unfortunate, the conclusion is obvious: Get a credit card, small loan, anything and pay it back with the absolute minimum. Keep the value small so you aren't getting fleeced too badly.

    With that said, your credit score will still suffer as the amount of the debt (too little or too much) can make for a credit score that isn't great. (But I've also seen first hand how they will purposely force a lower score on you when trying to get a house loan.)

    And finally, when my wife came to the U.S. to live, we had problems getting her a credit card. The company where I had my credit card declined her for having no U.S. credit history. (Nevermind her good European credit history.) We walked into our bank and spoke to someone higher up and said, "we want a credit card". Because we had money in the bank -- an amount they respected -- the guy said no problem. By the time we moved to Europe, she had a higher credit limit than me. (Still trying to figure that one out.)

    All sucky solutions, but if you have the money, tossing a few bread crumbs to make "them" think you're one of the sheep can help you play the game.