Skip to comments.ACLU of MA raises concerns about use of automatic license plate readers and privacy rights
Posted on 08/03/2012 5:47:21 PM PDT by matt04
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts on Thursday filed a request for records from several police departments, including Springfield, to determine if the use of automatic license plate readers goes too far and could infringe on rights to privacy.
Police Sgt. John M. Delaney, aide to Commissioner William J. Fitchet, said there is just one license plate reader used by the department to detect stolen cars and unregistered cars, with no ill intent.
Its not big brother, Delaney said. We dont use it to monitor anybodys movement. It is only used for law enforcement, stolen cars and other investigations.
The license plate readers are used by many police departments to scan plates of moving cars and parked cars, officials said.
In letters sent on Thursday, initially to six communities statewide, the ACLU stated it was seeking documents that include information on policies that govern the use of the automatic license plate readers (ALPR), the kind of data that is collected and retained, databases into which ALPR data is entered, the sharing of ALPR data with other agencies, and the cost of the system.
Kade Crockford, director of technology for liberty for the ACLU, said the use of the plate readers has increased in recent years, but information about policies and guidelines is unknown.
Initially, the ACLU has filed requests for information from police departments in Boston, Worcester, Quincy, New Bedford, Franklin and Springfield.
While the ACLU has no problem with the use of technology on crime detection, it does have concerns about what rules and policies are used to govern the collection and sharing of data, including ordinary citizens, Crockford said.
(Excerpt) Read more at masslive.com ...
What’s the real concern here? Are they terrified an illegal alien already busted for DUIs eleven times might be busted? Thought so!
License plate cameras are good to have on private roads, if the equipment is owned and operated by those who own the roads. ...good way of keeping records of trespassers for when needed.
“If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’ve got nothing to hide”/s
Went through this in hearings in augusta last year. (Maine)
Legislators couldn’t find a copy of the constitution.
This technology has been used by police departments around the US for some time now.
The problem is not local use, a police car driving through a parking lot and its sensors running every single plate there quickly and automatically, or automatically checking every plate within eye shot while driving. As such it is particularly useful spotting stolen cars, cars whose drivers have outstanding warrants, etc.
The problem is if someone other than the local police can tap into those scans, or set up a filter for a particular license plate. Doing this they can intermittently track a vehicle from place to place, using the police car’s GPS.
Literally, every time you see a police car, they have another reference point for your location.
Combined with the ability to easily track GPS location through cell phones, even turning cell phones into listening devices that transmit even when they are “turned off”, and many other tricks, they can place a person under total surveillance.
And it keeps adding up. Every time you use your credit card, they know where you are and what you bought. etc.
“Whats the real concern here?”
A coordinated database of lic plate sightings that track all cars everywhere they go, for one thing.
Plus, normally in the USA, surveillance requires a warrant. These systems put you under surveillance. I guess that was the old USA, not the one we are entering.
If you go to a political rally or other public event, the cops can get the names of everyone who parked there, then, if they keep computer records, can track those cars throughout the county. If the top cop is working with a particular politician, they can run a much more effective campaign by knowing who the opponent’s allies are, where they are, and what they are up to.
I agree with your take. Unfortunately, the ACLU doesn’t share our vision. They’re not going to go to court to stop this, for the reasons you have stated.
That’s why I asked the question. They have an angle here. It’s not our angle. So what is the angle.
You are to be complimented for seeing this issue clearly. Don’t think the ACLU does. They do not go to bat to protect us. They go to back to create chaos in our judicial system, on behalf of the enemies of our judicial system.
Someone upthread mentioned illegals, maybe ACLU sees this as an effective tool to get illegal aliens busted?
Simple. If you park your car remove the plate until you are ready to drive again. Or better yet just get one of the camera blocker license plate covers. Doesn’t stop a police officer from seeing your plate just prevents it from camera shots.
That's the real concern: data mining. They can claim they won't track movement but it's so exceedingly easy to do so, it's improbably someone won't try even if such a system is not public knowledge or authorized.
It's unclearly to me if you can remove the license plate from your parked car. That might be available in some jurisdictions but those are probably jurisdictions you wouldn't have to worry about encountering a system like this.
It's unclear to me if you can remove the license plate from your parked car. That might be available in some jurisdictions but those are probably jurisdictions you wouldn't have to worry about encountering a system like this.
I mentioned the ACLU might see it as a way to catch illegals driving after DUIs, but it was more flippant than a planned concrete argument.
I’m not trying to backtrack. It’s just that I don’t know what the ACLU angle really is here. I just don’t see them actually pulling this on sound policy.
I don’t follow the ACLU as a rule, but when I hear of their cases I do tune in a bit. It is very seldom that I hear of them taking a reasoned case (from our point of view).
Maybe one in twenty cases I hear of seem sound. That’s why I’m so skeptical here.
Thanks for the response.
IMO, I’d be shocked if they aren’t already tracking us.
The law enforcement cameras we do know of and the software that’s available these days, it wouldn’t be all that hard to implement a system.
Then you’ve got on-star and cell phone tracking technology.
If they want us, they’ve got us any time they want.