License-plate Recognition Has Its Eyes On You

TPS Surveillance Van with Facial Recognition S...
TPS Surveillance Van with Facial Recognition Software (Photo credit: metaviews)

Jon Campbell writing for San Diego City Beat has a disturbing article about the growth in the use of License Plate Recognition (LPR) by local police. The article states that the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) currently has over 36 million scans in its database — an average of 14 for every registered vehicle in the county — and the information is shared with the FBI, DEA,  investigators with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and ten other agencies. Unlike other data retention schemes there is no regulation for how long this data is stored and used.

The central part of London, UK introduced a traffic charging scheme in 2003, It uses LPR to monitor vehicles within a few square miles of the center of London ostensibly to charge fees and encourage the use of public transport. The ‘incidental’ ability to monitor the movement of all vehicles was widely reported after the 7 July 2005 London bombings.

As Campbell reports, talking about red-light traffic cameras Congressman Filner wrote in 2001 “Will we be faced with the government acting as “Big Brother” continuously spying on law-abiding citizens?” Filner wrote. “I realize this might seem far-fetched to some, but we must remain vigilant against these types of abuse. … Technology changes faster than most of us can keep up with at this point. We must continue to try to use its benefits to better our society, but it must not be at the expense of fairness or freedom.”

As Occupy members of the Club can attest their car registration plates were photographed by police while they protested at events.

Do we want San Diego to become a continually monitored police state?

Read the full article here: License-plate recognition has its eyes on you.

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