A Calif. Appeals Court issued a modified opinion rejecting the ACLU lawsuit against law enforcement agencies in the Los Angeles area. The civil rights group had joined the Electronic Freedom Foundation in seeking to force disclosure of a week’s worth of actual ALPR records to demonstrate how the systems are used to monitor the public.
A three-judge panel decided to shield the program that scans about three million license plates every week from any further scrutiny. The Los Angeles Police Department retains the records for FIVE years, and the sheriff’s department retains them for TWO years.
DHS/Police and our judicial system are complicit in spying on our every movement!
License plate readers are given to police departments by DHS. Click here to read more.
They [police] contend, ALPR systems “do not conduct investigations; they collect data.” This is B.S. license plate readers collect much more than data. DHS/Police Fusion Centers are collecting and storing our driving habits. Click here, here & here to read more.
License plate readers are even being used to collect taxes! The ACLU published a revealing report on what license plate readers collect, I posted some of what they discovered near the end of the article.
The following opinion is one of the most disturbing I have read except for the Patriot Act:
Under state law, records of an investigation are not subject to public records requests. The judges reasoned that the departments are conducting “investigations” into three million motorists every week, which makes the surveillance records exempt from disclosure.
“Nor does the fact that the ALPR system scans every license plate within view, regardless of whether the car or its driver is linked to criminal activity, mean the system is not performing an investigation,” Justice Patti S. Kitching wrote for the court. “The ALPR system necessarily scans every car in view, just as human officers would in attempting to identify a stolen vehicle. The fact that non-hot list vehicles are necessarily checked does not mean there was no investigation.”
Isn’t that convenient DHS/Police had a law written specifically to exempt them and give them carte-blanche to use license plate readers to spy on EVERYONE!
The Virginia General Assembly tried to rein in police agencies that retain the location information of innocent motorists for several years. The proposed law would have required a warrant to be issued before police could license plate camera records beyond seven days. On April 30, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) vetoed the bill on the grounds that it would have threatened toll road revenue.
“This bill also sets a strict, seven day retention period for all data collected by LPRs,” McAuliffe wrote in his veto message. “Many localities in Virginia retain this data for 60 days to two years. Seven days is a substantial reduction… The bill could potentially cripple the use of innovative, electronically-managed tolling lanes that improve the quality of life for Virginians by reducing commute times and expediting the tolling process… Accordingly, I veto this bill.”
There it is in black and white, its all about profits, whether they’re being used to collect tolls, taxes of fines, it’s all about money.
The ACLU’s 2013 report showed that license plate readers are designed to scan plates and pull up personal driver info:
- Are present in all 50 states of the USA;
- Add information to identify where cars are located and when they were located there;
- Are gathered without a warrant;
- Generate records that are regularly deleted only by a few states and municipalities, and otherwise turn into a tracking database with millions of data points in other American communities;
- Are often used as a data source for “fusion centers“: regional offices that siphon up local data and add it to a growing national tracking database on Americans;
- Are also used as a data source for corporations like the National Vehicle Location Service that use the data in contracts to gain a profit;
- Overwhelmingly identify the whereabouts of innocent people.
- License plate scanners just don’t work:
- Are not effective, according to the U.S. Government’s own website for “evidence-based crime prevention.” CrimeSolutions.gov rates License Plate Reader Technology in red as NOT EFFECTIVE based on the only two experimental studies regarding the tech to date. Both of these studies found that the use of license plate scanners failed to cut the incidence of crime rate where they were used.
- Are also found to be largely ineffective in a new experimental study of license plate scanning by police in in Mesa, Arizona with results published in The Journal of Experimental Criminology a month ago. Use of automatic license plate scanning, manual searches of license plate numbers, or neither technique was randomly assigned to an area. Neither form of license plate scanning was associated with a statistically significant decline in police calls in auto theft, or personal crimes, or property crimes, or disorder crimes, when compared to control areas of no treatment. Only for one of five crime types (drug crimes) was there any statistically significant difference — with automatic license plate scanning associated with a decline in police calls but manual license plate scanning associated with an increase in police calls.
If there is no clear evidence that license plate scanning lowers crime why does license plate scanning continue? Do you feel safer knowing your EVERY movement, phone call, email and transaction is being spied on?