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Author Topic: Surveillance Cameras To Scan License Plates  (Read 25077 times)
patric
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« Reply #75 on: August 08, 2010, 01:41:24 pm »

This just cannot be proven effective in this manner (scanning the tag numbers) because too many errors can happen.  The only truly reliable method would be to use something like RFID, but I think that's probing a little too far into 'Big Brother' territory.

Database information is even shared (or sold) to tow truck operators and Repo Men, who will chase down a vehicle in traffic once their scanner scores a "hit".
http://blog.cucollector.com/hot-topics/alpr-technology-repossessions-the-lender-and-the-aclu/
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 12:54:01 pm by patric » Logged

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patric
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« Reply #76 on: December 20, 2010, 11:44:21 am »

And now those "other uses" for the surveillance system:

Camera acts as a rolling tax collector


County officials last month began using the BootFinder, a small, hand-held camera that scans license plates of parked cars to identify people with delinquent property-tax bills and unpaid parking tickets.

Two treasury workers patrol the city in a van, aiming the camera at the license plates of parked cars. The camera is connected to a laptop computer that compares the license owner's name against a database of persons with outstanding taxes or fines.

If a car's owner has any unpaid taxes or fines, the computer audibly informs the camera's operator, who calls the treasurer's office for verification. After the information is verified, the workers remove the car's license plates and place a bright green levy sticker on the driver's side windshield.

In extreme cases, a wheel boot is placed on a tire, or the vehicle is impounded. The owner then has 10 days to pay the tax or fine before the car is auctioned.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/may/27/20040527-103628-7477r/
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Ed W
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« Reply #77 on: December 20, 2010, 05:47:30 pm »

It seems an easy 'fix' for this would be to back your car into the driveway so the tag isn't visible.  But then, this may constitute probable cause for further investigation.

Or if you live in a gated community, the problem is moot.  They can't get in to scan tags, leading to yet another perk for the rich.
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patric
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« Reply #78 on: December 20, 2010, 11:50:19 pm »

It seems an easy 'fix' for this would be to back your car into the driveway so the tag isn't visible.  But then, this may constitute probable cause for further investigation.

Or if you live in a gated community, the problem is moot.  They can't get in to scan tags, leading to yet another perk for the rich.

From the country that brought us Nineteen Eighty-Four and this technology, a way around your strategy:

160 MPH spy helicopter would track cars from 2000 feet.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/03/320.asp

The fictional police spy helicopter from the movie Blue Thunder is taking a big step toward becoming a reality. Police in the UK have successfully tested a 160 MPH helicopter that can read license plates from as much as 2,000 feet in the air. The Eurocopter EC135 is equipped with a camera capable of scanning 5 cars every second. Essex Police Inspector Paul Moor told the Daily Star newspaper: "This is all about denying criminals the use of the road. Using a number plate recognition camera from the air means crooks will have nowhere to hide."

The use of Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) is growing. ALPR devices photograph vehicles and then use optical character recognition to extract license plate numbers and match them with any selected databases. The devices use infrared sensors to avoid the need for a flash and to operate in all weather conditions.

Within the U.S., cities are using the technology in a device called "Bootfinder" to identify and tow vehicles with unpaid parking tickets or even overdue library books. One woman's car in Connecticut was towed out of her driveway because she had $85 in unpaid parking tickets.

Originally intended to detect stolen vehicles and cloned cars, ALPR is increasingly being used to issue tickets. For instance, drivers who have expired insurance face a £200 fine or if they haven't paid their car tax, they face a £60 fine. In 2004, ANPR teams stopped 180,543 vehicles and issued 51,000 tickets for offenses including failure to wear a seatbelt, use of a mobile phone while driving, and various insurance and road tax infractions.

One of the companies that sells the camera scanning equipment touts it's potential for marketing applications. "Once the number plate has been successfully 'captured' applications for it's use are limited only by imagination and almost anything is possible," Westminster International says on its website. UK police also envision a national database that holds time and location data on every vehicle scanned. "This data warehouse would also hold ANPR reads and hits as a further source of vehicle intelligence, providing great benefits to major crime and terrorism enquiries," a Home Office proposal explains.
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« Reply #79 on: December 21, 2010, 08:35:13 am »

Ol' Patrick goes through alot of tinfoil.......
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Ed W
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« Reply #80 on: December 21, 2010, 02:07:25 pm »

I wouldn't go that far.  Many of our laws have had unintended consequences.  For instance, Al Capone was tripped up over delinquent taxes rather than the numerous crimes he's committed.  And the RICO statutes which were originally meant for organized crime have been used successfully in other types of prosecutions.

An attorney acquaintance said that new laws always bring those possibilities. 
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patric
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« Reply #81 on: March 02, 2013, 12:58:13 pm »

I wouldn't go that far.  Many of our laws have had unintended consequences.  For instance, Al Capone was tripped up over delinquent taxes rather than the numerous crimes he's committed.  And the RICO statutes which were originally meant for organized crime have been used successfully in other types of prosecutions.

An attorney acquaintance said that new laws always bring those possibilities. 


It probably wont hit the fan until DPS or some other agency is caught selling the information to data miners.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Little Rock may not be a likely terrorism target or a gang crime hotspot, but the Arkansas capital has decided to follow the example of high-security cities by expanding electronic surveillance of its streets.

A police car with a device that photographs license plates moves through the city and scans the traffic on the streets, relaying the data it collects to a computer for sifting. Police say the surveillance helps identify stolen cars and drivers with outstanding arrest warrants.

It also allows authorities to monitor where average citizens might be at any particular time. That bothers some residents, as well as groups that oppose public intrusions into individual privacy. The groups are becoming more alarmed about license plate tracking as a growing number of police departments acquire the technology.

Privacy advocates worry about the potential uses for such outside law enforcement, from snooping by stalkers and private investigators to businesses that sell personal data.

"Given how few rules are currently on the books to protect our privacy, it's plausible that private investigators and data-mining companies could acquire this location data," said Catherine Crump, a New York-based staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.
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« Reply #82 on: June 05, 2013, 07:42:47 pm »

Rogers County jumps on the mass surveillance bandwagon:


The technology package includes an automated license-plate reader that scans tags and relays information to officers.

Rogers County has at least $19 million in outstanding warrants, he said.
"We could pay for this system if we just got a little bit of that."


http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Rogers_County_Sheriffs_Office_to_get_patrol_car_cameras/20130605_11_A12_CUTLIN724016


The Tulsa Whirled photo shows them using the same Panasonic dashcam that TPD has had so much trouble installing.
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« Reply #83 on: June 06, 2013, 07:17:58 am »

You agree to drive around with a visible tag on the back of your car to identify you to government both passively and actively.  So that is obviously not the issue.

Is the issue that government may track your movements?

. . .or log your associations through your travel?


I mean come on, it's not like the government is monitoring your phone calls or anything.  Sheesh!  Roll Eyes
http://www.tulsanow.org/forum/index.php?topic=20056.msg269382#msg269382


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« Reply #84 on: June 06, 2013, 06:29:39 pm »

Rogers County jumps on the mass surveillance bandwagon:


The technology package includes an automated license-plate reader that scans tags and relays information to officers.



They can start with cataloging those pesky journalists' personal vehicles.
Bounty:  A week off with pay for the first officer to find a Tulsa World reporter parked at a gay bar, or a city councilor at a crack hotel.
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Gaspar
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« Reply #85 on: June 07, 2013, 07:42:15 am »

They can start with cataloging those pesky journalists' personal vehicles.
Bounty:  A week off with pay for the first officer to find a Tulsa World reporter parked at a gay bar, or a city councilor at a crack hotel.

Perhaps they could call upon some favors for PR purposes?

"We are interested in a flattering story about our ____ program, would you be interested in writing it?"
"No?"
"Well, perhaps we could meet over at the Sunrise Motel and discuss.  You are familiar with the Sunrise, aren't you?"
"No need?, Excellent!  We'll send you some ideas for the article."
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« Reply #86 on: June 07, 2013, 07:30:09 pm »

Perhaps they could call upon some favors for PR purposes?

"We are interested in a flattering story about our ____ program, would you be interested in writing it?"
"No?"
"Well, perhaps we could meet over at the Sunrise Motel and discuss.  You are familiar with the Sunrise, aren't you?"
"No need?, Excellent!  We'll send you some ideas for the article."

You would be shocked to find how often that happens in this market's television news (the World seems relatively immune, though), where objectivity takes a back seat to "exclusive access" and the stories are written by the PIOs.
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heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #87 on: June 10, 2013, 10:31:52 am »


Bounty:  A week off with pay for the first officer to find a Tulsa World reporter parked at a gay bar....


Or one of Jim Inhofe's family....
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patric
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« Reply #88 on: July 17, 2013, 05:16:26 pm »

Or one of Jim Inhofe's family....

TulsaNow, ahead of the curve...




Police across the USA are using automatic cameras to read and snap digital photos of millions of car license plates to help solve
crimes, but in the process storing information on millions of innocent people, the American Civil Liberties Union says in a report out Wednesday.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/07/17/license-plate-scanners-aclu-privacy/2524939/

The digital dragnet mostly collects data that is unrelated to any suspected lawbreaking or known activity of interest to law enforcement. It is a fast-growing trend ripe for misuse and abuse, the ACLU says.

License plate scanners are "in effect, government location tracking systems recording the movements of many millions of innocent Americans in huge databases," said ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump, the report's lead author. The ACLU says there is little supervision or control over the data that was recorded, usually without motorists realizing their locations have been recorded.

"This is a way to track all Americans all the time, regardless of whether they're accused of any wrongdoing," said Crump, calling the readers "the most widespread location tracking technology you've probably never heard of."

The ACLU report is based on information compiled from Freedom of Information requests a year ago in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

One striking finding is the lack of standardized procedures for dealing with license plate information.

In Minnesota, population 5.3 million, the State Patrol purges scanned data after 48 hours and has fewer than 20,000 license-plate readings on file, ACLU found.

But Milpitas, Calif., population 68,000, has 4.7 million license-plate scans on file and no policy for erasing them. Police Sgt. Frank Morales says Milpitas, "is a small community, but we attract very many visitors. We have a large mall here, the Great Mall," and that could account for the outsize number of license plate records. "A person who gets his (stolen) car back probably would see (scanners) as a success," he says.

The plate scanners generally are mounted on the rear fender, trunk or roof of police cars and parking enforcement vehicles. Some also are mounted on road signs, toll gates or bridges. They're rarely part of the larger debate on government surveillance, but a 2012 survey by the not-for-profit Police Executive Research Forum found that 71% of police agencies now use them.

Thursday's ACLU findings come just over a month after Americans first learned of a massive National Security Agency electronic surveillance program that, since 2007, has tracked millions of phone records and e-mails. The program was secret until early last month, when disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. He has left the U.S. and faces espionage charges.

And unlike the mountain of mostly anonymous calling data gathered by the NSA, the plate data includes a specific location and can be, via a separate police inquiry, correlated to personal data in the state motor vehicle registration records.

The ACLU report says the plate scanning casts a wide net for little gain -- that only "a tiny fraction of the license plate scans are flagged as 'hits.' For example, in Maryland, for every million plates read, only 47 (0.005%) were potentially associated with a stolen car or a person wanted for a crime." In one Sacramento shopping mall, private security officers snapped pictures of about 3 million plates in 27 months, identifying 51 stolen vehicles -- but that's a success rate of just 0.0017%.

"Yet the documents show that many police departments are storing – for long periods of time – huge numbers of records on scanned plates that do not return 'hits.' For example, police in Jersey City, N.J., recorded 2.1 million plate reads last year. As of August 2012, Grapevine, Texas, had 2 million plate reads stored and Milpitas, Calif., had 4.7 million," the report says.

Police Sgt. Frank Morales said Milpitas, pop. 68,000, "is a small community, but we attract very many visitors. We have a large mall here, the Great Mall," and that could account for the outsize number of license plate records. It's a discount mall situated between two interstate highways and two freeways.

Report: License plate date on millions of innocent motorists kept indefinitely  http://www.aclu.org/alpr

Civil liberties activists say the data could be used to track innocent drivers' whereabouts and private lives, including where they worship. Even the International Association of Chiefs of Police has said there's a potential for invasion of privacy, as plate readers can snap pictures of a car at a political gathering, psychologist's office, abortion clinic or church and have recommended tight control over use of the data.

In perhaps the most high-profile case, police in New York City used the readers to record license plates of congregants as they arrived to pray at a mosque in Queens.

Part of their appeal for police is that they are efficient and relatively cheap. They can scan plates about eight times more quickly than a cop with a laptop driving down the road, a recent study found.

As the device costs drop, said Crump, "Even small-town police departments have it within their budget to buy one." The cost of storing data has also dropped she said, so police can store images "not just for days but for weeks or months or even years." Eventually, she said, agencies could share the data to build a detailed travel profile "of all Americans simply because they chose to drive a car."

Over the past few years, federal anti-terrorism funding also has helped more police agencies get them. Police in New Castle County, Del., used a $200,000 federal grant to purchase 10 cameras that they've mounted on vehicles, said police spokesman Cpl. John Weglarz.

"For us it's an effective tool. It's one of those things that we've obviously researched and we feel (that) as long as our officers are using it within proper guidelines and within the policy, it acts as an effective tool."

He said his agency keeps the license data for one year and said any officer misusing the data "would be subjected to a disciplinary action."
He said drivers shouldn't be concerned about privacy breaches. "We use (the data) within the proper channels and ... it gets stored for a year and that's it."

That's the policy there, but the ACLU says that in 45 states there are no laws on how long police can keep the records.

"More and more cameras, longer retention periods, and widespread sharing allow law enforcement agents to assemble the individual puzzle pieces of where we have been over time into a single, high-resolution image of our lives," the report says.

Perhaps the best known incident involving the abuse of an ALPR database in North America is the case of Edmonton Sun reporter Kerry Diotte in 2004. Diotte wrote an article critical of Edmonton police use of traffic cameras for revenue enhancement, and in retaliation was added to a database shared among officers of "high-risk drivers" in an attempt to monitor his habits and create an opportunity to arrest him. The police chief and several officers were fired as a result, and The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada expressed public concern over the "growing police use of technology to spy on motorists."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that police need a court order to attach a GPS tracker to a suspect's car, but ACLU says the USA's growing network of license readers could someday allow police to do the same thing without a warrant as they tie together individual snapshots of innocent drivers' cars.

Police say that drivers have no expectation of privacy on a public streets.
Privacy activists see it less clear-cut.

"There's a difference between walking down a public sidewalk and being observed, vs. walking down the next sidewalk and being observed, and walking down the next sidewalk and being observed, and walking down another sidewalk and being observed, and walking down the sidewalk next week and being observed," says Amie Stepanovich, lawyer at the Electronic Privacy Information Center and director of the group's domestic surveillance project.

"The prevalent use of automatic plate readers is a threat to privacy. They can be used to track the location of individuals. And there are no laws governing the retention of the information," she says. "This is an issue we've been following for quite some time. We've had quite a few inquiries," she says.

Mobile readers don't discriminate between public and private settings. In one case, a San Leandro, Calif., man got police to hand over all the photos of his Toyota Tercel for the past two years and found that they were photographing him almost weekly, according to The Wall Street Journal. One snapshot captured him and his two daughters getting out of a car in their driveway.

In another case, the Minneapolis Star Tribune found last August that Mayor R.T. Rybak's city-owned cars were photographed 41 times by license readers over the course of a year.

Last summer, the ACLU filed nearly 600 Freedom of Information Act requests in 38 states and Washington, asking federal, state and local agencies how they use the readers. The 26,000 pages of documents produced by the agencies that responded – about half – include training materials, internal memos and policy statements.

The civil liberty organization has more than a dozen recommendations for government use of license plate scanner systems and the data collected, including:

•Police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred before examining the data.

•Unless there are legitimate reasons to retain records, they should be deleted within days or weeks at most.

•People should be able to find out if their cars' location history is in a law enforcement database.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 06:02:31 pm by patric » Logged

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« Reply #89 on: July 17, 2013, 05:34:52 pm »

And the federal government is giving grants to pay for these cameras so long as they share the information back with DHS (and then NSA).......
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