Cops To Congress: Please Leave Us And Our License Plates Readers Alone

from the any-limits-will-immediately-result-in-ALL-THE-CRIME dept

Poor dears. A bunch of law enforcement associations are worried that they won't be able to keep all that sweet, sweet ALPR (automatic license plate reader) data for as long as they want to. In fact, they're so worried, they've issued a letter in response to a nonexistent legislative threat.

Despite the fact that no federal license plate legislation has been proposed, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has sent a pre-emptive letter to top Congressional lawmakers, warning them against any future restrictions of automated license plate readers. The IACP claims to be the "world's oldest and largest association of law enforcement executives."
The letter is stained with the tears of law enforcement entities whose thirst for bulk collections is only rivaled by national security agencies.
We are deeply concerned about efforts to portray automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology as a national real-time tracking capability for law enforcement. The fact is that this technology and the data it generates is not used to track people in real time. ALPR is used every day to generate investigative leads that help law enforcement solve murders, rapes, and serial property crimes, recover abducted children, detect drug and human trafficking rings, find stolen vehicles, apprehend violent criminal alien fugitives, and support terrorism investigations.
The "efforts to portray" ALPRs as ad hoc tracking devices aren't limited to imaginative conspiracy theorists. Millions of plate scans are added to private companies' databases every day. The total number of records retained by Vigilant, the most prominent manufacturer of ALPRs, totals in the billions. That amount of data can easily be used to track nearly anyone's day-to-day movements. And the database is accessible by law enforcement agencies around the nation. There's no geofencing keeping the data compartmentalized to what's "relevant" to local agencies.

As for the rest of the paragraph, those claims have yet to be backed up by arrest statistics. The amount of plate data collected far outweighs the results.
There is a misconception of continuous government tracking of individuals using ALPR information. This has led to attempts to curtail law enforcement’s use of the technology without a proper and fair effort to truly understand the anonymous nature of the data, how it is used, and how it is protected.
Note how the "misconception" is nothing privacy advocates are actually saying. No one's mistaking plate scans for a GPS tracking device. They've just noted that the end result is nearly identical. Gather enough data and you don't need a more "intrusive" method.
We are seeing harmful proposals – appropriations amendments and legislation – to restrict or completely ban law enforcement’s use of ALPR technology and data without any effort to truly understand the issue. Yet, any review would make clear that the value of this technology is beyond question, and that protections against mis-use of the data by law enforcement are already in place. That is one of the reasons why critics are hard-pressed to identify any actual instances of mis-use.
Translation: no one understands this high-tech device but us cops.

Also: "value" is "beyond question?" If so, why is it so hard to get any law enforcement agency to produce some evidence to back up this claim? It's high tech, but it's also fallible tech. And it's tech that is being deployed with little to nothing in the way of privacy protections or oversight.

That's what legislators (non-federal) are seeking. Some sort of limits and accountability. Virginia just passed one of the most restrictive pieces of legislation pertaining to ALPRs -- one that installs limits on collection and retention.
Virginia has become the first state in America to impose a very short data retention limit on the use of automated license plate readers (LPRs, or ALPRs). VA cops will now only be able to keep such data for seven days unless there is an active, ongoing criminal investigation.
Only a few states have imposed any legislative limits on the technology. For most US law enforcement agencies, the data is gathered en masse (and sometimes in inappropriate places) and held forever. The LAPD argued that every one of the thousands of plate scans it had gathered is somehow "relevant" to ongoing investigations. When you're faced with claims like that, it's hard to argue with legislative limits being introduced. The police won't police themselves. Someone usually has to force them into applying even the most minimal of restrictions on ALPR use.
We call on Congress to foster a reasonable and transparent discussion about ALPR.
That's rich. "Transparent discussion." The hell does that even mean in a law enforcement context? Agencies don't want to talk about ALPRs, drones, Stingray devices, their officers' misconduct, etc. The prevailing law enforcement mentality is almost completely opposed to transparency. These police associations aren't interested in Congress or anyone else having a "transparent discussion." What they want is a guided discussion that results in more data-hauling business as usual for the agencies these associations represent.

But this sentence is the best thing about this overwrought letter:
If legislative efforts to curtail ALPR use are successful, federal, state, and local law enforcement’s ability to investigate crimes will be significantly impacted given the extensive use of the technology today.
Shorter police: "We like our shiny tech tools so much, we've forgotten how to perform police work." If they can't get as much as they can, as often as they can and access it at their leisure, the streets will run red with the blood of the innocent. This sort of thinking goes all the way to the top, where the FBI's James Comey has promised death, molestation and Colombia 2.0 if the government isn't allowed to build itself backdoors in cellphone encryption.

How a device that delivers a 0.2% hit rate has become something the cops lean on so heavily they simply can't go on without it is a question that deserves a "transparent" answer, rather than the hitch-in-the-throat talking points delivered here. All anyone wants is something telling cops they can't keep everything for as long as they want. They want privacy impact assessments and honest answers to worrying questions. All we've received so far is unproven claims of the tech's "effectiveness" and the constant pimping of dead children and human trafficking victims, with the existential threat of suppliers delivering product to a receptive market thrown in for good measure.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2015 @ 4:03pm

    Citzens to Cops

    Why do you need this? Were you not already doing things to solve crime before you had them?

    Last time I checked, the only thing you guys are interested in solving are your budget issues and stealing honest cash from hardworking citizens that run afoul of your "civil forfeiture" BS so you can have a margarita maker.

    Sorry, Ferguson will only get more like "Americaguson" if you keep it up.

    The more you treat the citizens like animals the more they will act like them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Mar 2015 @ 4:05pm

    Shooting their own argument in the foot

    This claim:

    '...without a proper and fair effort to truly understand the anonymous nature of the data, how it is used, and how it is protected.'

    Is in direct opposition to this one:

    '...generate investigative leads that help law enforcement solve murders, rapes, and serial property crimes, recover abducted children, detect drug and human trafficking rings, find stolen vehicles, apprehend violent criminal alien fugitives, and support terrorism investigations.'

    Actually anonymous data would be completely useless for any of that, because if you can't connect a hit from the readers to a person, then it's not going to do you any good. What good is a picture of a plate, if you have no way of connecting it to the driver or likely driver of the vehicle it's attached to after all? If you can track a vehicle, you can track, with fair accuracy, the one who owns and/or drives it, so there's nothing 'anonymous' about the data being gathered here.

    (As an aside, with all the other things they claim ALPR systems are good for I'm kinda surprised they didn't include '... stops meteors from hitting the Earth, causes puppies to spontaneously appear in the arms of sad people, finds your car-keys, acts as an effective tiger deterrent...')

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2015 @ 4:06pm

    to truly understand the anonymous nature of the data,

    If the data is anonymous, it is of little use to any investigation.
    Alternatively they are saying who is accessing the data is kept anonymous, so that nobody keeps track of who is looking at it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2015 @ 4:18pm

      Re:

      Proof that repeating a lie often enough becomes the truth.

      Those line being uttered should be undeniable proof that they are lying with the intention to mislead or deceive. But of course... law enforcement already has a literal blank check for doing just this shit already.

      Using lies to bring the guilty to justice renders no justice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2015 @ 4:19pm

    "ALPR is used every day to generate investigative leads that help law enforcement solve murders, rapes, and serial property crimes, recover abducted children, detect drug and human trafficking rings, find stolen vehicles, apprehend violent criminal alien fugitives, and support terrorism investigations."


    Really? ... exactly how many times has this information led to any of those things? Hint, examples with details might help you sell this large piece of bullshit - but you do not have that do you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 24 Mar 2015 @ 4:25pm

      Re:

      Well you see, just like the rest of their ('It's legal, promise!') 'toys', they can't give any details, or suddenly the tech will becomes completely useless, as criminals who previously knew that the police had such tech, will now know that the police have the tech, and avoid it by not having cell phones or driving.

      As such, you're just supposed to trust them on it, and given they have absolutely no conflict of interest here, clearly they would never make stuff up or grossly exaggerate things to defend their shiny toys.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2015 @ 4:26pm

    When a child abuses his toys, you take them away to teach them to take care of them. I see no difference here with taking the toys away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dr evil, 24 Mar 2015 @ 4:42pm

    No prob

    Just allow ANYONE access to the data. Mkay?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 24 Mar 2015 @ 4:51pm

      Re: No prob

      Sounds fair. I mean, if it really is harmless, anonymous, public data, then it makes sense to allow the public access to it, since it's their plates being recorded.

      ... well, unless of course the data is not in fact harmless and anonymous, and people being able to view it would be all that would be required to show that, but I'm sure that's not the reason they don't want the public to have the same access they currently enjoy. /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2015 @ 6:59am

      Re: No prob

      just store it in a WRITE-only device.. problem solved :D

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Mar 2015 @ 4:46pm

    Since guns have been involved in incidents regarding ALPR false positives...

    ...I anticipate it is only a matter of time before a police officer gets acquitted for gunning down an unarmed black man in a non-stolen vehicle that a ALPR misidentified as a stolen one of a different make and model.

    We've already had service revolvers pointed at the face of a black woman whose vehicle was so misidentified right here in my town. No-one bothered to notice that the make and model were totally not those of the stolen vehicle. And guns. Drawn. In her face.

    Tick-tock.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2015 @ 6:25pm

      Re: Since guns have been involved in incidents regarding ALPR false positives...

      Incidentally, have you noticed all the black cops killing unarmed white people?

      No. You haven't. Because if that happened, even once, there would be enormous fallout.

      But white cops are free to execute black men at will -- and they do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2015 @ 5:59am

      Re: Since guns have been involved in incidents regarding ALPR false positives...

      "I anticipate it is only a matter of time before a police officer gets acquitted for gunning down an unarmed black man in a non-stolen vehicle that a ALPR misidentified as a stolen one of a different make and model.

      We've already had service revolvers pointed at the face of a black woman whose vehicle was so misidentified right here in my town. No-one bothered to notice that the make and model were totally not those of the stolen vehicle. And guns. Drawn. In her face.
      "


      Techdirt has reported several cases of cops pulling guns on people (who fortunately didn't flinch) because a license plate reader made a mistake:

      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140423/18531427012/driver-finds-himself-surrounded-cops- with-guns-out-after-automatic-license-plate-reader-misreads-his-plate.shtml

      https://www.techdirt.com/ articles/20140513/07404127218/another-bogus-hit-license-plate-reader-results-another-citizen-surroun ded-cops-with-guns-out.shtml

      A footnote: I could be wrong, but I don't think that any U.S. police have carried service revolvers in about 25 years. The Glocks they now carry hold three times the number of bullets (and reload much faster) than the old Smith & Wesson 6-shooters of yesteryear -- giving today's cops the freedom to blast away with abandon.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ltlw0lf (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 10:15am

        Re: Re: Since guns have been involved in incidents regarding ALPR false positives...

        A footnote: I could be wrong, but I don't think that any U.S. police have carried service revolvers in about 25 years.

        While most departments (I am not aware of any that don't) issue semi-automatic pistols as an officer's primary weapon, many police officers choose to carry a revolver in addition to their primary weapon as a backup, in case their primary weapon fails or is not usable. Revolvers still have their place in law enforcement, since they can be more compact, and are less prone to technical failures that semi-automatic weapons may have, particularly if they aren't kept in good working shape.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 10:30am

          Service Revolvers.

          But technically those aren't service revolvers since they're not issued but privately obtained, even if a given handgun is used by a given officer only while on duty.

          Yeah, I was taking poetic license in my prose. They're service pistols nowadays.

          I don't have issue with a police force being well armed when they retain the ethics and fire-discipline that is appropriate to a law-enforcement position (such as those rare municipal SWAT teams that are called to handle hostage-barricade situations). My issue is that we have a running history of police officers abusing their power to excess and getting the benefit of the doubt in the courts.

          My issue is that the good cop is now the exception, if it exists at all.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            ltlw0lf (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 12:52pm

            Re: Service Revolvers.

            But technically those aren't service revolvers since they're not issued but privately obtained, even if a given handgun is used by a given officer only while on duty.

            Technically, departments give officers, in the form of uniform allowances, the money to go and purchase a backup weapon, and at least in California, where pistols/revolvers require a 10-day waiting period, they provide an authorization letter to the police officer to obtain the weapon without having to wait the 10 days before they can pick it up (and it waives the normal safety brief people get when they buy their own.)

            I don't have issue with a police force being well armed when they retain the ethics and fire-discipline that is appropriate to a law-enforcement position (such as those rare municipal SWAT teams that are called to handle hostage-barricade situations). My issue is that we have a running history of police officers abusing their power to excess and getting the benefit of the doubt in the courts.

            I fully agree with you on this. I'd go further in saying that *anyone* with a clean record when it comes to violent crimes, and with some sort of standardized training (CAPC 832 lite?) should be allowed to be well armed when they retain the ethics and fire-discipline that is appropriate to have a firearm. We do have a long history of police officers abusing their power, and a well armed and responsible citizenry would help to fix some of this abuse.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2015 @ 10:25pm

              Re: Re: Service Revolvers.

              "We do have a long history of police officers abusing their power, and a well armed and responsible citizenry would help to fix some of this abuse"

              I would argue that one of the main reasons why US cops are so quick to shoot/kill unarmed people is precisely because the country has an armed citizenry. So the act of reaching into one's pocket to retrieve a drivers license is seen by the cop as drawing a gun.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Mar 2015 @ 12:22am

                The act of reaching into one's pocket ...is seen by the cop as drawing a gun.

                Which is a risk that every other one of us takes every day in the US, and in other nations you have to risk every time you leave your home that other people won't intentionally stab you or run you over with their motor vehicles.

                If the per-capita lost of life of on-duty police officers was more than, say, then number of store clerks who die on the job, they might have a point. But it's not. And yet they're doing drive-by shootings of children in the park.

                Police seem to already believe that the people of the US are united in revolt against them and their authority. I suspect that eventually that's going to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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  • icon
    got_runs? (profile), 24 Mar 2015 @ 6:39pm

    Why don't hear the NRA screaming for all Black Americans to get armed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2015 @ 6:14am

      Re:

      "Why don't hear the NRA screaming for all Black Americans to get armed?"

      Perhaps due to the antics of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, a militant Black Nationalist protest group that open-carries rifles throught city streets while shouting "death to police" type chants.

      It's when high-crime inner-city ghettos start arming up that gun-control advocates rejoice, because their work ahead of them has just become so much easier.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      because people that put an emphasis on what colour a person is are part of the problem.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lurker Keith, 24 Mar 2015 @ 6:55pm

    In a functioning Democracy...

    If the US were a functioning Democracy/ Republic/ whatever the Founders intended to set up, this would be a Red Flag for Congress & they'd get to work on finding out why the Cops are afraid of Legislation they're not working on, & get to work on enacting it.

    Congress is supposed to be a Check on the Executive Branch, which includes Law Enforcement.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2015 @ 10:42pm

    I've noticed most street intersections in my home town have cameras installed up above the stop lights. I've thought to myself, "Where are all the video feeds from these cameras going? Is there rooms somewhere with 1,000+ TV monitors displaying all four cameras at every intersection?"

    Then it occurred to me from reading TechDirt. There's no rooms with 1,000+ TV monitors on the walls. All these cameras are snapping license plate photos and recording the license plate numbers into a massive database automatically with any human intervention.

    I've also noticed a lot of cameras on bridge overpasses that go over US and interstate highways. Which makes sense from an automated license plate reader point of view. As soon as a car takes a exit ramp off the highway, the car either has to turn left off the exit ramp and cross back over the highway via a bridge or turn right away from the bridge.

    Either way, the car's license plate gets scanned by the camera exit ramp bridge camera to show which exit ramp the car used to exit off the highway. So that explains why I'm seeing so many cameras on bridges near highway exit ramps.

    There's simply too many cameras all over the place, four cameras at every intersection to capture all four directions of traffic, for a human to be watching that many screens. I also doubt the city/state/federal governments are recording and storing live video feeds from 1,000's of cameras 24hr a day. That would require some massive hard drive space to store that much video.

    No, the most logical conclusion is these cameras are snapping photos of license plates, computers then automatically analyze the photos and convert them to text and numbers which are then stored in a massive database. Text requires much less storage space compared to video feeds.

    The whole process being completely autonomous and requiring no human intervention. The only time a human gets involved is when someone types is a search query for a license plate and searches the massive ALPR (automatic license plate reader) database.

    It's already here in my town. I see thousands of cameras at every intersection recording car traffic around here. In fact it's rare to see an intersection without 4 cameras pointed in each direction. It wasn't like this a few years ago. Cameras are everywhere now. Even on bridge overpasses.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2015 @ 4:54am

      Re:

      Sadly OCR isn't always 100 % perfect, so saving just the text is potentially dangerous, as a reasonable literate person could recognise a mismatch.

      If there is no "photographic" evidence which can be re-checked, you'll have the risk of "The computer says you're guilty. Pay in cash or go directly to jail. Computer says so."

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2015 @ 9:00am

      Re: (cameras at traffic lights)

      Check their positioning. In my area the majority of the cameras are looking the wrong way to see license plates. I've also seen cameras along the highways in positions that won't see license plates.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 10:24am

      Re:

      I've noticed most street intersections in my home town have cameras installed up above the stop lights. I've thought to myself, "Where are all the video feeds from these cameras going? Is there rooms somewhere with 1,000+ TV monitors displaying all four cameras at every intersection?"

      Most of those devices you are seeing are related to the Traffic signal preemption system, which detects the approach of an emergency vehicle (or in some places, even buses and other "special" vehicles) and changes the lights to allow that vehicle priority in an intersection.

      The camera, usually infrared, detects a marker given off by an emitter which notifies the intersection control computer that a priority vehicle approaches. The camera doesn't produce an actual feed for anyone to monitor, and just detects and sends a signal to the computer controlling the intersection.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 10:50am

        Technology often has more community-friendly uses than abusive ones.

        In fact, in many cases, abuses become a matter of function creep once the infrastructure is already in place (e.g. stingray devices that attack cellular communications).

        So it is possible that those emergency cameras could be upgraded to include a feed to ALPR collections at some point.

        The really distressing thing is the efforts by law enforcement to suppress public awareness that these technologies exist and their obfuscation efforts regarding the implementation of these technologies. That indicates that they have a clear notion that the public would not approve of them, yet they use them anyway, and then fight every step towards revelations and regulations.

        This indicates that these technologies are not being used in the service of the people, but in the service of the rogue elements of the agencies. It's not being implemented so we can do our job.

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        • icon
          ltlw0lf (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 1:02pm

          Re: Technology often has more community-friendly uses than abusive ones.

          So it is possible that those emergency cameras could be upgraded to include a feed to ALPR collections at some point.

          I don't think it would be easy, unless they add more equipment. These devices only are capable of detecting IR light (and while this is the most common, it certainly isn't the only way, as some TSP systems use radios or strobe detectors instead,) and only in a way that it matches a marker from the emitter. These emitters give off different markers, so what may work in one county may not work in others.

          Depending on the lens and collector, seeing anything through these cameras would be difficult since they just aren't made to "see" anything other than IR light. Of course adding a mirror and a CMOS or CCD chip might be possible, but most of these devices are relatively small and putting those items in would be more difficult.

          However, I am not sure why anyone would do this. It would be far cheaper just to add ALPR cameras in the same way that they added Red Light Cameras or Speed Cameras. In a matter of fact, here in California, there are a lot of cities which have removed the Red Light Cameras but have left the camera attachment points or stations behind. The problem will be running power and video cables to these devices, but I suspect they may still be there from when the cameras were running.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 1:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Further, these devices aren't usually cameras at all but are essentially just photocells used to detect the flash pattern.

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    • identicon
      Lurker Keith, 26 Mar 2015 @ 3:34pm

      Re:

      Also, some of those cameras may belong to your various News Stations (& each might have their own up, accounting for the numbers). I know major highways & locations of frequent traffic jams, in my area, have video shown during Traffic Reports during the Rush Hours.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    charliebrown (profile), 24 Mar 2015 @ 10:54pm

    New South Wales, Australia

    The state of New South Wales in Australia has done away with registration tickets and is relying solely on automatic license plate readers to determine if your car registration is up to date or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2015 @ 4:32am

    Ok, picking on ALPRs for their 0.2% "hit rate" is just bad reporting. All it says is that only 0.2% of vehicles (approximately) are being tracked. That's not a problem with the technology, that's a problem with criminals not all parking in one designated parking lot for officers' convenience.

    What IS an issue is what happened in Boston... tens of thousands of his, and none of them acted upon. They could have returned thousands of stolen vehicles to their owners, but didn't.

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 7:14am

    How a device that delivers a 0.2% hit rate has become something the cops lean on so heavily they simply can't go on without it is a question that deserves a "transparent" answer, rather than the hitch-in-the-throat talking points delivered here.

    That's actually pretty simple statistics. 0.2% hit rate sounds like something really small, until you realize it means "1 in 500." How long does it take you to see 500 different cars? Cops in a big city could encounter that many in a single day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 8:02am

    Slightly offtopic funny story

    A couple of months ago, they installed an ALPR camera near my workplace. It's easily accessible and obvious to anyone walking down the sidewalk. Just the other day, I noticed that someone has glued a poster over the camera's window.

    We need more of that.

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    • icon
      Oblate (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 10:05am

      Re: Slightly offtopic funny story

      Better yet, find a camera in a bad part of town (or heading towards it) and hold up a sign with a picture of the Mayor's license plate on it several times a day. After a few days of this, your town is just one FOIA request from your favorite local reporter away from better data retention laws.

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  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 8:38am

    Maybe they will threaten a slowdown next if they are forced to be accountable for their actions.

    Nothing stop a criminal organization like suddenly being held accountable for the crimes it commits.

    And yes I am referring to the blueshirts when I say criminal organization.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 10:24am

    Another idea for a revolution-minded hack

    Put a bunch of numbers on the back of your car that the OCR can read (and interpret as positives) but are obviously not your license plate.

    If you want to do it extra-fancy like, make those numbers the licenses of known VIPs or government vehicles.

    "Where are they all going?"

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  • icon
    Geno0wl (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 11:27am

    snarky

    In 2008, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) reported to the city council that after using just four LPR units for 16 months, it had read 793,273 plates, with hits on just 2,012 of them—a "hit rate" of just 0.2 percent. In other words, nearly all of the data collected is innocuous. Despite this, in that same report, then-OPD Deputy Chief Dave Kozicki (who has since retired) dubbed the LPR setup an "overwhelming success."

    You can be snarky about the "0.2%" hit rate, but look at this from another perspective. 16 months is 1.3 years or ~486 Days. That is 2,012 hits over ~486 days or ~4.1 hits PER day that they may otherwise completely miss.
    When you are Tell Chief Dave Kozicki that the OPD catches 4 extra "bad guys" PER DAY because of LPR of COURSE he will say it is an "overwhelming success."
    And I, for one, will actually on that metric actually agree with him. Does LPR have problems? Of course it does. It needs checks and balances and it needs proper training for its users.
    But being snarky about the whole "0.2% hit rate" completely misses the point. And that point is that MOST people are actually "good" people, and LPR for quickly and efficiently helps officers find the actual bad guys.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2015 @ 11:54am

      Re: snarky

      But that 0.2% hit rate is probably far higher than the TSA's hit rate when it comes to catching imaginary underwear-bombing terrorists by examining everyone's genitals for compliance.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2015 @ 11:47am

    It's funny that the Presidential Limousines (there are several identical ones) get to use bogus license plates, with every car having the exact same license plate -- a situation that would be most definitely illegal for us peons.

    And presumably these license plates are not exactly registered. Maybe kind of like the idea that if God ever came to Earth, he would not need to carry a proper ID.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Oblate (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 12:51pm

      Re:

      | And presumably these license plates are not exactly registered.

      Just checked online. Since 2009 the Presidential limos have been registered to 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 25 Mar 2015 @ 11:58am

    Privacy Screens

    What is somebody made a license plate cover that restricts viewing of the license plate. You know how there are the monitor privacy screens so you can only see your monitor from a mostly directly in front of position? What is somebody used those types of screens to make it so license plates could only be read from ground level? That way anything up higher aimed down would have a very hard time reading the plate. Does something like this exist already?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2015 @ 12:18pm

    Sure, no problem, just so long as you stop fukng installing them in PUBLIC fkng spaces

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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