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skytop 07-17-2013 02:49 PM

They're watching you
Driving somewhere? There's a government record of that

WASHINGTON (AP) Chances are, your local or state police departments have photographs of your car in their files, noting where you were driving on a particular day, even if you never did anything wrong.
Using automated scanners, law enforcement agencies across the country have amassed millions of digital records on the location and movement of every vehicle with a license plate, according to a study published Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union. Affixed to police cars, bridges or buildings, the scanners capture images of passing or parked vehicles and note their location, uploading that information into police databases. Departments keep the records for weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely.
As the technology becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous, and federal grants focus on aiding local terrorist detection, even small police agencies are able to deploy more sophisticated surveillance systems. While the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that a judge's approval is needed to track a car with GPS, networks of plate scanners allow police effectively to track a driver's location, sometimes several times every day, with few legal restrictions. The ACLU says the scanners assemble what it calls a "single, high-resolution image of our lives."
"There's just a fundamental question of whether we're going to live in a society where these dragnet surveillance systems become routine," said Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the ACLU. The civil rights group is proposing that police departments immediately delete any records of cars not linked to a crime.
Law enforcement officials said the scanners can be crucial to tracking suspicious cars, aiding drug busts and finding abducted children. License plate scanners also can be efficient. The state of Maryland told the ACLU that troopers could "maintain a normal patrol stance" while capturing up to 7,000 license plate images in a single eight hour shift.
"At a time of fiscal and budget constraints, we need better assistance for law enforcement," said Harvey Eisenberg, chief of the national security section and assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland.
Law enforcement officials also point out that the technology is legal in most cases, automating a practice that's been done for years. The ACLU found that only five states have laws governing license plate readers. New Hampshire, for example, bans the technology except in narrow circumstances, while Maine and Arkansas limit how long plate information can be stored.
"There's no expectation of privacy" for a vehicle driving on a public road or parked in a public place, said Lt. Bill Hedgpeth, a spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department in Texas, which has records stretching back to 2008, although the city plans next month to begin deleting files older than two years. "It's just a vehicle. It's just a license plate."

gonefishin776 07-17-2013 03:00 PM

hahaha someone will get heated over this.

i say who gives a shit. she's right, you are in public...nothing private. Plus who cares if you ain't doin anything wrong. Let them waste their time/resources/money. I just smile :)

huntergreen 07-17-2013 03:25 PM

because its not their money, it is ours.

GTyankee 07-17-2013 03:37 PM

Most of the police vehicles now have a device that takes a snap shot of all license plates & it is automatically transmitted to a central location, where it is checked for ownership, & wants & warrants or reported as having been stolen

Your cell phone if fairly new, can be tracked if stolen, by you just going onto a computer
a new cell phone that just came out, can be locked by you, all information is also erased & the phone is rendered useless, if it is stolen

your tv is equipped with a V chip & it tracks what you watch

do you trust your computer that has a built in camera & microphone ?? i don't

for several years now, most USA built vehicles have at least 2 tattle tale systems in them
The first one is called a EDR, (event data recorder) that records something like the last 30 seconds of driving, before something like an accident happens

the 2nd one is a wireless system, in the instance like ONSTAR in GM vehicles, the police can call ONSTAR & ONSTAR can disable your vehicle, by shutting down all but 2 cylinders, so you still have braking & steering, but no acceleration

I hope that no one that is paranoid reads this post

huntergreen 07-17-2013 03:43 PM

gt those are "pay for use services". the gov't is just spying. think we fought a war called the "revolution" to limit the power of the gov't. this is against the "bill of rights". wonder how long this thread will stay open before a mod locks it?

DarthRam 07-17-2013 05:18 PM

Sure "they" may know what you are doing at any given time but, and this is a big one, "they" know in only the broadest sense. Sure, there may be a picture of your plate somewhere on some server at any given time. Big deal. The data may be there but there is so much of it it turns in to white noise.

Does anyone actually think someone is going to get bored one day and try and fined out what time you went to Starbucks to pick up your frappa-mocha-latte-chai-inno? No. If there is an Amber Alert and the vehicle matches yours then yes they will cross reference and see if your vehicle was in the vicinity. Know how to avoid that? Don't be a pedophile.

It's not like this data crosses someone called "The Government's" computer. There isn't one single person who looks at all these pictures, tracks your movements, scribbles them down, and updates a super secret Starbucks data base.

Is it an invasion of privacy? Are you really "private" driving around a public street? If YOU see something weird or funny don't you take a cell phone picture? You know the difference between the government and us? They have better cameras with larger hard drives.

Paranoid people please put on your aluminum foil hats before replying.

Astartes 07-17-2013 06:46 PM

its just the start. It scares me because they will never stop and it will only get worse and worse...untill you wake up someday living in a world you wish never happend.

Just my 2 cents

Speedbeetle 07-17-2013 07:01 PM

I just saw this on the news. I love my country, but I hate my government. Even if it will be used for "good," it still isn't okay.

DRX350 07-17-2013 07:02 PM


Originally Posted by huntergreen (Post 1152513)
gt those are "par use services". the gov't is just spying. think we fought a war called the "revolution" to limit the power of the gov't. this is against the "bill of rights". wonder how long this thread will stay open before a mod locks it?

But according to the Govt, the internet wasn't around, nor were computers, cars, electricity. So therefore it is a grey area that can be exploited "as needed".

I'll admit, I am more paranoid than most, but IT'S MY INFO! When I am out from the house, I used wifi, almost never mobile data, my facebook is super barren, and most of my personal emails I send are encrypted.

If anyone wants to know something about me, ask me, chances are I'll tell you (or punch you, depending), but don't go snooping through my stuff, that's how people get hurt...

huntergreen 07-17-2013 07:31 PM

not so much. the bill of covers individual rights regardless of the available tech.

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