UPDATE 2: The Philadelphia Police Department confirmed the vehicle belonged to them in a statement to tech website Motherboard.

“We have been informed that this unmarked vehicle belongs to the police department; however, the placing of any particular decal on the vehicle was not approved through any chain of command. With that being said, once this was brought to our attention, it was ordered that the decals be removed immediately.”

UPDATE: According to tech website Motherboard, who obtained a photograph of the parking placard, “the SUV is registered with the Philadelphia Office of Fleet Management, which maintains city government’s 6,316 vehicles, indicating that the vehicle is being used by a local agency.”

Matt Blaze, who first discovered the vehicle, says the placard clearly stated “Pennsylvania State Police” during his encounter – suggesting the SUV has multiple city parking placards at its disposal.

Although Google confirmed they did not own the vehicle, the city itself has seemingly refused to explain why the SUV was bearing the company’s logo.

Police in Pennsylvania were accused Wednesday of disguising a license plate reading vehicle as a Google Street View car.

Noticed at around 10 am EST by security and cryptography researcher Matt Blaze, the white SUV was seen with a large Google Maps sticker on one of its rear windows.

“WTF? Pennsylvania State Police license plate reader SUV camouflaged as Google Street View vehicle,” Blaze wrote on Twitter.

The photo, which quickly gained several hundred retweets, also shows two cameras on top of the vehicle believed to be LPRs or “License Plate Readers.”

Speaking with Gizmodo writer Matt Novak, Pennsylvania State Trooper Adam Reed confirmed the equipment to be LPRs although he and the department denied owning the SUV.

According to Blaze, the vehicle was not only parked near multiple police cars but even had a Pennsylvania State Police parking placard in the window, a police radio and a “LoJack antenna array on the roof.”

The cameras used on Google Street View cars, as pictured below, are also vastly different and much larger than those used for scanning license plates.


Twitter users, also noting the potential legal issues surrounding the misuse of Google’s logo, alerted the tech company to the vehicle. Google has not made any public statements at the time of publication.

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikaelThalen 
Email: [email protected] (PGP Key)
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