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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: 2) by kaszz on Sunday May 10 2015, @11:30AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Sunday May 10 2015, @11:30AM (#181055) Journal

    Is there any law that says you have to display the license plate when the vehicle is stationary?

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Bill Dimm on Sunday May 10 2015, @01:28PM

    by Bill Dimm (940) on Sunday May 10 2015, @01:28PM (#181076)

    I don't know, but I would guess that there is. Otherwise, how would they give you a parking ticket?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by rts008 on Sunday May 10 2015, @02:49PM

    by rts008 (3001) on Sunday May 10 2015, @02:49PM (#181087)

    You would have to check the traffic laws/regulations in your state.
    As far as I know, in MD, PA, and OK, if the vehicle is operated or parked[1] on 'public' roadways, it needs to correctly display it's icense plate, unless it is exempt from having to have one. ie: farm tractors and such.
    In PA, when the roads were snowed in bad, most everyone left their car/trucks parked, and all you saw travelling were snowmobiles. I do not know if this was actually legal, but the cops were doing the same, and never bothered anyone over it. YMMV.(I never checked on the legality of it. Not having a snowmobile, I would just saddle one of my horses)

    I imagine if you were to remove your plate every time you parked, you would be targeted quick by law enforcement checking to see if your vehicle was stolen, or assume it to be abandoned, and you would probably have to get used to it being towed to impounded frequently. Walmart's(for example) parking lot would most likely be private property and you could safely do so for a short time, but then the owner can call the cops to tow away the 'abandoned/suspicious' vehicle.

    [1] street-side parking, paralell/slant parking, city/gov't.-owned and operated parking garages and lots, etc.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:16PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:16PM (#181094)

      As far as I know, in MD, PA, and OK, if the vehicle is operated or parked[1] on 'public' roadways, it needs to correctly display it's icense plate,

      That is pretty much the case for all 50 states.

      Walmart's(for example) parking lot would most likely be private property and you could safely do so for a short time, but then the owner can call the cops to tow away the 'abandoned/suspicious' vehicle.

      That is where one of those james-bond plate-flippers comes in. Put a fake plate on there when you are not on public property. Modern license plates are so much easier to forge than they used to be. Many states don't even emboss them anymore.

      Another option would be to put a fake paper temporary license in the window - you could even use your actual information so it would be less fake. All you really need is something to keep the "if you see something, say something" idiots pacified. Combine that with some electrochromic glass [ebay.com] and you would be able to hide your plate from known scanners, like the cameras at every tollbooth, parking garage, etc at the flip of a switch. No fiddling with a screwdriver every time you park.

  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:30PM

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:30PM (#181097)

    Depends on where you're parked. If you're parked in your own driveway, definitely not. If you're parked on a public street, most probably yes.

  • (Score: 2) by Justin Case on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:53PM

    by Justin Case (4239) on Sunday May 10 2015, @03:53PM (#181098) Journal

    I have purchased several car covers to protect against bird droppings and other outdoor annoyances. Every cover had a hole to expose the license plate. On inquiry I was told it is not legal to hide the plate even when the car is parked.

    Anyway, if it were allowed to cover it, there would be a law requiring you to cover it when parked. Right? Anything not required is forbidden?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @04:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @04:47PM (#181111)

      That is something you should look up. I have found with road rules there is what is 'common knowledge' and the real rules.

      For example in my state (have not checked to see if they fixed it) you only had to have 1 tail light working. But it was common knowledge you had to have both working. Yet the law stated 1 working lamp.

      For another example is right on red. That varies wildly from state to state and city to city. With some states treating it as a yield, to must stop then turn if clear, all the way to can not do it at all.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @08:21PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10 2015, @08:21PM (#181156)

        Having just one light working carries the risk of it going out and being in violation of the law. If both work and one goes out that gives you time to notice the problem and fix it before the other goes out.