by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 23rd 2009 1:31pm
Earlier this year, we wrote about plans in the wealthy coastal town of Tiburon here in northern California to photograph and record the license plate info of every car entering or leaving the town. It kicked off quite a debate in the comments, and now comes the news that the town is moving forward with the plan, despite complaints about civil liberties and privacy violations. Of course, it's worth noting that just as this plan is moving forward, reports out of the UK are indicating that law enforcement there has been abusing traffic cameras for purposes well beyond traffic monitoring. They're using traffic camera images of traffic around political protests to note cars that appear at multiple such events, and placing them on some sort of terrorist "watch lists." Police are apparently going through the database of images and "marking" certain cars, which then allow them to be searched in the fight against terrorism. Not that there's a big protest culture in Tiburon, but this certainly shows how a simple traffic camera effort can escalate into something that is much more questionable from a civil rights standpoint.
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