View Poll Results: Should license plate readers be used?

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  • Yes they should.

    4 16.00%
  • No they shouldn't be used at all.

    13 52.00%
  • It depends how long the data is stored.

    5 20.00%
  • Don't know/Other/Rootabega

    3 12.00%
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Thread: License Plate Readers?

  1. #1
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    License Plate Readers?

    Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the license plate readers that some law enforcement agencies across the country have been using. A report was recently given by the ACLU raising concern over the number of plates read and the data retention policy of the various city police that are using them. They believe that as the time and location of the plates is registered into a database it could become possible to know a lot about the lives and habits of anyone driving a car. So my question is how do you feel about them?

    Some facts about them:

    -In some areas the millions of license plate captures are stored indefinitely.

    -Apparently the information is also freely available to the public in some areas after public records requests. The Minnesota StarTribune was able to get information about the tracking of the Minneapolis mayor and one of their reporters.

    -At this time in at least a few areas any officer can enter the license plate number of any car, whether it is on a "hot list" or not and have access to all its information.

    -As of yet, the data shows that this technology has not been working as a deterrent against car thieves and other automobile crimes, although it is a relatively new technology with little public awareness. Police do claim there has been a vast increase in success rate of recovering stolen cars and solving other crimes.

    -It is an automated and more efficient process of a practice that officers have been doing for years. Previously police would mark down the same information about any car they deem suspicious and later check it against a huge list of license plate numbers that the police are looking for.

    -Police believe these are crucial to stopping car theft and amber alerts.

    Personally, I think the technology is useful and I don't mind its use with some conditions.It is public activity they are documenting and you don't really have a reasonable expectation of privacy when driving around. It's different than the collection of private data by the NSA for example, and I believe its a crucial distinction. But I don't think any officer should be able to request data of any car that is not on some sort of "hot list" of cars the police are looking for. Police also justify the indefinite keeping of these records by saying they could potentially help stop future crimes. I don't really buy that as justification, as I think the chances of that are very small. I would advocate a short retention time or possibly even the immediate disregard of license plates not linked to a "hot list." Other than that, I believe they can be a useful tool in the recovery of stolen vehicles and the rescue of kidnapped children.What say you?

    Sources:

    Driving somewhere? There's a gov't record of that | Fox News
    Policing advocates defend use of high-tech license plate readers - CNN.com
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  2. #2
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    Re: License Plate Readers?

    No more tracking what I do and where I go. Enough is Enough.
    "When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."
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  3. #3
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    Re: License Plate Readers?

    In my area it is used for expired plates and registrations stops mostly. They usually set up shop and just let the computers do their things as the cars drive by. Even if a car hits, they still have to pull it and do all the stuff they otherwise normally would do to make sure it was a proper hit. They had a thing on local city channel that showed and explained how the whole thing works. Not that big of a deal IMO. Beside, you can tell which cars have it because of the additional gear mounted on the vehicle.

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    Re: License Plate Readers?

    Even private security companies have started adopting this technology.

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    Re: License Plate Readers?

    I think it sux but its public roads so they can do what they want.
    From the ashes.

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    Re: License Plate Readers?

    I'm torn. I love the idea of it if done properly which means restrictions to how long the information is stored and it's only used to check plates against a database for hits.

    You say it's not the same as the NSA but one thing the NSA has shown that if the government has information...it will use it for it's own purposes or whatever it deems as necessary, not only for it's original intent.
    “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.” John Maynard Keynes

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    Re: License Plate Readers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the license plate readers that some law enforcement agencies across the country have been using. A report was recently given by the ACLU raising concern over the number of plates read and the data retention policy of the various city police that are using them. They believe that as the time and location of the plates is registered into a database it could become possible to know a lot about the lives and habits of anyone driving a car. So my question is how do you feel about them?

    Some facts about them:

    -In some areas the millions of license plate captures are stored indefinitely.

    -Apparently the information is also freely available to the public in some areas after public records requests. The Minnesota StarTribune was able to get information about the tracking of the Minneapolis mayor and one of their reporters.

    -At this time in at least a few areas any officer can enter the license plate number of any car, whether it is on a "hot list" or not and have access to all its information.

    -As of yet, the data shows that this technology has not been working as a deterrent against car thieves and other automobile crimes, although it is a relatively new technology with little public awareness. Police do claim there has been a vast increase in success rate of recovering stolen cars and solving other crimes.

    -It is an automated and more efficient process of a practice that officers have been doing for years. Previously police would mark down the same information about any car they deem suspicious and later check it against a huge list of license plate numbers that the police are looking for.

    -Police believe these are crucial to stopping car theft and amber alerts.

    Personally, I think the technology is useful and I don't mind its use with some conditions.It is public activity they are documenting and you don't really have a reasonable expectation of privacy when driving around. It's different than the collection of private data by the NSA for example, and I believe its a crucial distinction. But I don't think any officer should be able to request data of any car that is not on some sort of "hot list" of cars the police are looking for. Police also justify the indefinite keeping of these records by saying they could potentially help stop future crimes. I don't really buy that as justification, as I think the chances of that are very small. I would advocate a short retention time or possibly even the immediate disregard of license plates not linked to a "hot list." Other than that, I believe they can be a useful tool in the recovery of stolen vehicles and the rescue of kidnapped children.What say you?

    Sources:

    Driving somewhere? There's a gov't record of that | Fox News
    Policing advocates defend use of high-tech license plate readers - CNN.com
    The data basing and aggregation is getting out of hand and we have no idea what they're really using it for. It is not the government's job to track our movements at all times and I say enough is enough.

    No more Big Brother.
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    Re: License Plate Readers?

    License plate data not just for cops: Firms track your car

    Posting link regarding private companies and this tech.

  9. #9
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    Re: License Plate Readers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. E View Post
    License plate data not just for cops: Firms track your car

    Posting link regarding private companies and this tech.
    Interesting. I'm not really crazy about them taking down the data and marketing it, but it's legal and it should be legal.
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  10. #10
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    Re: License Plate Readers?

    I don't have a problem with it. License plates are already a matter of public record.
    I love the NSA. It's like having a secret fan-base you will never see, but they're there, watching everything you write and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that I may be some person's only form of unconstitutional entertainment one night.

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