L.A. Politician Proposes Bold Plan To Wreck Homes, Destroy Lives And Abuse License Plate Reader Technology

from the conversely,-the-government-is-able-to-fuck-you-free-of-charge dept

Nick Selby says an LA councilwoman has just proposed "the worst use of license plate data in history." He's not lying.

Automatic license plate readers gather tons of plate/location data, which can then be used for law enforcement purposes (when not being sold to, or by, private entities to insurance companies, repossession firms, etc.). The plate/location data may help recover stolen vehicles or track mobile criminals, but they also create massive databases of people's movements. This can create a chilling effect on motorists, as someone said to Selby at a surveillance-focused conference.

“The issue is the potentially chilling effect that this technology has on freedom of association and freedom of transportation.”
Cue chilling effect.
That’s literally the phrase that leapt into my mind when I read the monumentally over-reaching idea posed by Nury Martinez, a 6th district Los Angeles city councilwoman, to access a database of license plates captured in certain places around the city, translate these license plates to obtain the name and address of each owner, and send to that owner a letter explaining that the vehicle was seen in, “an area known for prostitution.”
This should create some additional household friction in the Los Angeles area. There's nothing like a letter from the city informing a vehicle owner that their car was spotted in an area known for prostitution, with the underlying assumption that the only reason a vehicle would be in these areas is because the driver was looking to exchange money for sexual favors.

Martinez says the non-guilty have nothing to worry about, because she's an idiot.
Councilwoman Martinez feels that prostitution is not a “victimless” crime, and that by discouraging johns, the incidence of the crime can be reduced. Martinez told CBS Los Angeles, “If you aren’t soliciting, you have no reason to worry about finding one of these letters in your mailbox. But if you are, these letters will discourage you from returning. Soliciting for sex in our neighborhoods is not OK.”
There are plenty of legitimate reasons for someone to be in an area law enforcement has determined is "known for solicitation." Many drivers live or work in areas "known for prostitution." Many other drivers may have to drive through areas "known for prostitution" to shop, go to work, or just get to the nearest freeway entrance ramp. So, there are plenty of reasons to "worry" about being falsely labelled as a john by the city. And it won't be the city that has to deal with the fallout. It will be the families that are destroyed by Martinez's horrifically misguided proposal.

Even if innocent drivers toss the letters before they do any damage to their personal relationships, each letter generated from this abuse of technology meant to aid police in locating stolen vehicles and/or dangerous criminals will create a public record that can be requested and published by nearly anyone. So, even if a person throws the letter in the garbage after receiving it, someone else could make this information public -- threatening personal relationships, damaging reputations and possibly costing people their jobs. And all because their vehicle happened to be in an arbitrarily "wrong place" at the wrong time.

Selby reports the city council is currently working with the district attorney to see how -- or if -- this can be implemented. Hopefully, someone more aware of the legal ramifications of this proposal will shut it down before it does any damage.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 10:55am

    There's a simple solution to this. Just move all prostitution to places where the councilwoman lives and works.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:02am

    Nury Martinez has been seen in areas known for bribery, corruption, fraud, and embezzlement. Perhaps someone should be sending her a letter implying that the only reason she's there is for criminal activity.

    After all if she's not guilty of taking bribes from, oh let's say, various license plate reader companies to get their readers into wider use, then a letter all but accusing her of doing so shouldn't cause her any problems, or bug her in the least, right?

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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:05am

    By the same logic, licence plate readers could also installed near politicians' offices to accuse anyone nearby of participating in corruption and bribery.

    You'd still send the owner a letter explaining that the vehicle was seen in "an area known for prostitution." Except that you're accusing the owner of being a "top lobbyist."

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    • identicon
      Zonker, 1 Dec 2015 @ 3:09pm

      Re:

      I bet David Cohen would get really tired of receiving those letters every day, and his spokesperson would get tired of responding to each one with the customary "stop calling our top lobbyist a 'top lobbyist'" letter of reprimand.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:17am

    Demolition Man's futuristic San Angeles wasn't a model we want to emulate. Enhance your calm, councilwoman.

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  • identicon
    Glenn, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:23am

    The basic question though: why does anyone think they have the "God-given right" to tell anyone what they're allowed to do with their own bodies (and their own lives)?

    It's the law that makes the *prostitute* the victim. Now, given how thoroughly every politician (such as a councilwoman) prostitutes him- or herself every day... well, I guess that makes all of us their victims. Yeah, that's all bassackwards.

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    • icon
      Richard (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:28am

      Re:

      Yeah after all the prostitute only sells her body - the politician sells her mind and (if you believe in it) her soul.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:36am

        Re: Re:

        Yes, definitely a few souls being sold!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:43am

        Re: Re:

        They are selling their power and influence. They sold whatever vestiges of a soul that may have somehow escaped their long before they took office. She after all believes that her intentions are good and the inevitable corruption and loss of privacy and rights that follow, was unforeseeable. Now if you told her that you had every movement she has made in her public or private life for the past two years and you are going to publish it for all to see, suddenly you would be the one who has gone too far. We never seem to fully think through changes to our laws especially knee jerk reaction changes like this one. There are good reason for this type of setup, but there are many more reasons against it.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re:

        You forgot integrity. Though it might be difficult to prove that any given politician had some integrity to sell, most of them are selling their integrity on an ongoing basis.

        Hmmm, maybe we should term that as renting rather than selling.

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        • identicon
          David, 1 Dec 2015 @ 1:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Politicians don't as a rule sell their integrity, like prostitutes don't as a rule sell their virginity.

          It is shed when you start the profession. A lot less of those items are sacrificed on the job than the sales offers would suggest.

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          • icon
            tqk (profile), 1 Dec 2015 @ 8:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's merely the initial fault which allows what follows. Their need for cash is an ongoing thing, not a single up-front windfall. Donors want them to continue to be kept bought, and that's an installment plan arrangement.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:48pm

        Re: Re:

        YES, there are other countries were people own themselves, their bodies,
        and voluntarily trade sexual favors in exchange for other favors

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2015 @ 9:15am

        Re: Re:

        You mean the idiot Nury Martinez has sold us out!

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

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:34am

      Re:

      It's the law that makes the *prostitute* the victim.

      Yup, it's the law. It has nothing to do with kidnapping, human trafficking, blackmail, paying down "debts" related to illegal immigration, or needing a way--any way--to support a drug habit; all of those women are just ordinary citizens trying to make an honest living degrading themselves of their own free will and choice. And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for those pesky legislators and their laws!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:45am

        Re: Re:

        While everything you list can cause someone to sell thier bodies, you do not solve the problem by making that act illegal, but rather by tacking the reason that people end up in such a situation. and or providing help to such people..

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        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Dec 2015 @ 6:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm with Mason in principle, but with you in practice, AC. The number one reason for women voluntarily engaging in prostitution appears to be the lack of opportunities to make a decent living doing anything else.

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      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:02pm

        Re: Re:

        All of those things are illegal, so if anything legalizing prostitution (where the government can actually regulate it rather than prosecute it) might do a lot more to reduce kidnapping, trafficking, blackmail, and illegal immigration.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:03pm

        Re: Re:

        Treating prostitution as a crime and the prostitute as the victim is downright schizophrenic. Do you arrest people for getting their house burglarized?

        Of course that issue is endemic to vice laws and the subsequent stubborn refusal to see when a law has failed.

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      • icon
        ltlw0lf (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:24pm

        Re: Re:

        Yup, it's the law. It has nothing to do with kidnapping, human trafficking, blackmail, paying down "debts" related to illegal immigration, or needing a way--any way--to support a drug habit

        Ahem...most of us who work for a living in a legitimate job or industry (though I'd certainly argue that prostitution should be considered a legitimate industry if done correctly,) could be doing the same. Ask anyone standing near a Home Depot looking for a job, or ask the many people working under the table in construction, agriculture, and domestic services industries where their money is going, and I suspect you'll find they are doing the same.

        Hell, I am using my paycheck to pay off my debts too. What's to say that one or more of these debts may be illegal too (though they certainly weren't when I took them on,) just because some politician somewhere felt that they should get more of the pie in order to make the system more fair for others?

        I get it, let's make working illegal, and send everyone to jail because someone somewhere may be using their paycheck to do something illegal.

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        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The point I was making, which everyone seems to have missed or ignored, is that in the vast majority of cases the prostitute is the victim of vicious, predatory people and is "working" against her will, and that this has nothing to do with the state of the law regarding prostitution. (ie. it's not the law victimizing them.)

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          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I disagree with that point. Prostitution being illegal is what makes it so easy to victimize prostitutes,so the law has direct bearing on that. If it were legal, it would be regulated the same as any other business and the workers would have the same protection from abuse as everyone else.

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            • icon
              G Thompson (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 7:37pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Which is exactly what occurs in New Zealand and Australia.

              It destroyed nearly all of the corruption (mostly police interestingly) and allowed the sex workers to have complete empowerment of themselves.

              Oh and it annoyed the crap out of the religious twits.. BONUS!!!

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "in the vast majority of cases the prostitute is the victim of vicious, predatory people and is "working" against her will"

            Citation needed.

            Or do you have some personal experience you would like to share?

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Dec 2015 @ 6:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Please don't tell me you are of the persuasion that believes in prostitution as a job like any other. It's not. Imagine filling out a Risk Assessment and Method Statement form like we do in my job (facilities management). That alone should make you think again. What would a Hot Works permit cover?

              Every time I've tried to have that conversation with someone who is active in the sex trade I get a tirade of abuse, not a straight answer. I don't all defensive about my occupation when asked what's involved and what the risks are. A job like any other? I think not.

              If you have to ignore uncomfortable realities to promote your point of view, you're not going to win me over. This principle applies to the other things I tend to get into arguments about.

              While I emphatically don't approve of prostitution as a career choice I've been persuaded by the facts that the most pragmatic solution to a demand-driven problem is to tax and regulate it. Let's face it, prohibition isn't working and we can't just ignore it. Better to manage it and keep it under control.

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          • icon
            crade (profile), 1 Dec 2015 @ 8:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You are the one missing the point. The prostitute is the victim in those cases simply because prostitution is not the crime.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There are plenty of treaties that demostrate most engineers are prostitutes
          and their job descriptions tend to be pretty similar

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:53pm

        Re: Re:

        Prostitution is the world's oldest profession and it isn't going away no matter what laws the government passes. However, we can minimize exploitation associated with it through legalizing, regulating, and taxing it as several European nations do. For instance, we can confine it to highly regulated and regularly inspected brothels.

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

        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 2:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And of course that would totally work, because the presence of a proper civilized market drives out black markets all the time, in all sorts of goods and services...

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          • icon
            G Thompson (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 7:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Actually it does work to the point that the black market cannot compete AT ALL and its easier and safer for the consumers and workers. They are not totally driven away but they are de minimus compared to the whole.

            Your tropes do not stand up to actual reality, and nearly every single one of them has been destroyed by factual data from real life examples that are currently operating in a HUGE amount of countries world wide.

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          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Dec 2015 @ 6:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well prohibition doesn't work, Mason. A proper civilised market drives out black markets, which only exist for restricted or forbidden items. So if "regular" prostitution is no longer forbidden or restricted the black market for "regular" prostitution will no longer exist.

            More "exotic" items would, however, remain available on the black market since where there is demand, supply will rise to meet it. So yeah, the black market would reduce to "only" include kids and people willing to work without using condoms, etc., because we couldn't reasonably make that legal.

            I see no value in continuing the status quo, and if you don't either, what's your solution?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 3:56pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm not for prostitution, but you do realize you just listed a bunch of activities that are already illegal and have much stiffer penalties than being involved in prostitution don't you?

        Instead of muddying the issue, just state that prostitution is a social offense, and its overt existence is an offense to some people because it reveals a face of humanity that many would rather not address. And on the other side, the victims are everyone who enables it, not just those who sell their bodies.

        Personally, I'd be much happier with a law that made it illegal to profit off of someone else's consentual sex. But that would be even harder to police than what we've got right now.

        Maybe the route to go for those who want to be prostitutes is to re-name themselves lobbyists and accept lobbying instead of cash. Sexual favors are then just standard adult consensual behavior again.

        Of course, this doesn't do anything about the drug addiction angle, which isn't really about prostitution at all -- they could be abused for anything else, such as being a money mule, building bridges, cheating on the stock exchange, selling body parts/eggs, or any of the other things that *men* generally end up debasing themselves at to get the cash to pay off their drug habit.

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      • icon
        JMT (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 4:26pm

        Re: Re:

        Based on your claims, you'd think countries that had legalized prostitution would be absolutely awash with prostitution-related kidnapping, human trafficking, blackmail, immigration extortion, and drug use. And yet they're not.

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      • icon
        tqk (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 4:49pm

        Re: Re:

        ... all of those women are just ordinary citizens trying to make an honest living degrading themselves of their own free will and choice.

        That sounds like a few jobs I've done in the past, some of which I found after a while were far more degrading, working for far less reputable people, and getting paid far less than prostitutes do. I found myself envying them at times.

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      • identicon
        helloMello, 30 Nov 2015 @ 9:18pm

        Re: Re:

        seriously Mason? Human trafficking has nothing to do with it?US Dep of Health & Human services did a study in 2008. A sample of 120 prostituted women were interviewed by them to determine if they were human trafficking victims. 118 of them wee determined to be human trafficking victims. --- so educate yourself. MOST of them are not out there of their own free will, or at least 90% of them are not

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        • icon
          G Thompson (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 10:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I can guarantee you that if a survey was done of ALL of New Zealand sex workers, and Australian sex workers in NSW & VIC 99.9999% (and there is over 5000) of them would NOT be human trafficking victims..

          It seems the USA criminalising the industry is the problem.

          But hey what do I know, I only consult and volunteer pro-bono to a fair amount of sex workers and their industry organisations.

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          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Balderdash, what next, claiming that the illegal nature of various drugs opens up massive opportunities for the criminal element to move in, and as a result take blatant advantage of the complete lack of laws and regulations to screw people over left and right, opportunities that would not exist were the drugs in question legal and regulated?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2015 @ 12:43pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ...so educate yourself. MOST of them are not out there of their own free will, or at least 90% of them are not.

          I was listening to a "public service program" on the radio the other morning about human trafficking of teenage girls. One example they gave to "educate the public" was that of teenage girls who have sex with their boyfriends as a result of peer pressure from other teenage girls.

          I guess if you define it broadly enough, almost any sex act can be a form of "human trafficking". Educate yourself, indeed.

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          • icon
            tqk (profile), 2 Dec 2015 @ 1:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            One example they gave to "educate the public" was that of teenage girls who have sex with their boyfriends as a result of peer pressure from other teenage girls.

            Gee, just like the same pressure teenage boys are under from their peers to "get laid." Just sayin'.

            How about we give them both a little education, explain what their hormones are doing to them at that age and what they can do about that, supply them with contraceptives, then butt out?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 4:17am

        Re: Re:

        Do you think prohibition cured all the alcohol related violence or did it fuel it?

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  • icon
    hij (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:29am

    Great Way To Motivate Mass Transit and Bicycling

    Sure, some of you are going to complain that it is not the government's purpose to play school marm and tell everybody where everybody has been. You negative nellies need to look on the positive side. This will create an immense incentive for people to use mass transit or to use bicycles for commuting. (And also to leave cell phones at home or have them tracked as well. And also learn how to wear hoodies around public cameras.) If this can lead to cities with better bike lanes and better bus systems then this is a win for everybody!

    Also, I just like to know where everybody has been because I am a humongous busybody. But, that is another story....

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    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:39am

      Re: Great Way To Motivate Mass Transit and Bicycling

      Nah, her next agenda is to get records of everyone riding mass transit through these areas and send them letters saying they were seen in a bus/taxi/whatever in areas known for prostitution. After all, only criminals trying to avoid the plate readers would be using mass transit/taxis in these areas.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2015 @ 6:27am

      Re: Great Way To Motivate Mass Transit and Bicycling

      This will create an immense incentive for people to use mass transit or to use bicycles for commuting.
      I don't think you've been paying attention to trends in mass transit. Many large systems have been trying to discourage cash and tickets for years—some like NYC don't take cash at all, others charge a large (maybe 50%) premium. They want people to use transit cards, particularly the non-anonymous ones with the "convenience" of being linked to a credit card to withdraw money. Sometimes you can buy these cards with cash but often only at a few locations with inconvenient hours—and of course, if you use it long enough they'll have enough data to build a personally-identifiable profile of you. And sometimes you don't need to use the card at the end of your journey, but you do need it for transfers, and it's often RFID so who knows who's reading it (NYC was caught reading EZ Passes for tracking purposes).

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:34am

    Wait until you pass a school zone...

    You might become labeled as a pedo next!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:44am

    the definition is nanny state

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:47am

    Excellent idea

    For too long, people have shrugged off ALPRs because the average person cannot understand the damage caused by improper use of this technology. I am glad to see Councilwoman Nury Martinez advancing the cause of privacy by giving people an object lesson in how badly the surveillance state can screw up, and doing it on a scale that cannot be waved off as a one-off mistake.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:54am

      Re: Excellent idea

      yes, this could help to show the sheeple what mass surveilance is for and how it furiously rapes your rights

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:47am

    so what where those license plate reader enabled cops doing in those dark places during work time other than hiring prostitutes and buying drugs??? hu?

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  • icon
    Bill Silverstein (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:54am

    It is about time for a lawsuit

    I would think it would be a good time for one of the following lawsuits: 1. Against the use of the ALPRs in general as a privacy violation; 2. Having someone get a ticket for using something that interferes with the ALPR so that there would be standing.

    The supreme court ruled that using a GPS mounted on a car is invasion of privacy and the violation of the 4th amendment, this is not a far leap.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:56am

    “an area known for prostitution”

    Funny, that's how I've heard LA city council offices described.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:56am

    lets propose hundreds of similar ways to fuck the sheeple with the ongoing mass surveillance
    it is not only the Dickpic program you know?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:58am

    Where do the laws on GPS tracking stand right now? Could LA require that all drivers mount GPS tracking units on their cars, and then send them threatening letters saying "We know where you've been. You'd better watch it."?

    The reason I ask is that ALPR units will naturally get smaller and cheaper, and more and more of them can be set up by city governments. Link 'em to a central database, and throw in private ALPR data to boot. The result is pretty obvious: as the density of ALPRs approaches infinity (or distance between ALPR units goes to zero), the resolution of the path followed by any individual car becomes indistinguishable from that generated by a hi-rez GPS transmitter.

    Shouldn't ALPR data be at least as restricted as cell tower data? Not that the restrictions on cellular records are all that good in the first place...

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:21pm

      Re:

      "Could LA require that all drivers mount GPS tracking units on their cars"

      My understanding is yes, as the law stands such a requirement can be made since driving is a privilege granted by the state. Whether or not it would survive a constitutional argument in court is an unknown.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 4:44pm

        Re: Re:

        since driving is a privilege granted by the state

        I feel like I am the only one in the world that believes driving is a right and not a privilege.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2015 @ 6:02am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The danger of bad and reckless drivers is the only legitimate reason for it being a privilege really. It also confuses the right to travel unfortunately. Without said classification I suspect that the blatantly unconstitutional and absurd on its face no fly list would be harder to defend.

          Self driving cars would be a tenable rights situation.

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        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 1 Dec 2015 @ 7:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Travel is a right and not a privilege. The act of operating heavy machinery at speeds at which even minor contact with anything can result in severe injury, death, and/or massive amounts of property damage, on the other hand, is very much a privilege that needs to be tightly regulated for legitimate public safety reasons.

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    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:22pm

      Re:

      Where do the laws on GPS tracking stand right now? Could LA require that all drivers mount GPS tracking units on their cars, and then send them threatening letters saying "We know where you've been. You'd better watch it."?


      No need to tag vehicles with GPS. It's expensive and obvious. Mobile phones are much easier, given that they're nearly ubiquitous and generally speaking are carried voluntarily. You also get far better granularity at the mobile-device level than you do the vehicle level.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:53pm

        Re: Re:

        LA has used blimps high over the city that included high res cameras. If they pared this with cell phone tracking, they basically can go back and trace the historical location of anyone traveling in a car, with a phone. I'm sure they made sure they were not violating any civil rights by making and retaining this kind of information though... After all, they can just lie about how they determined where people where at what time in court and just claim a CI purchased from them, or an informant gave their position. It is called parallel construction, but it really is just the government using any and every means necessary to put away the "bad" people. Please ignore the means as they tout the statistics of their ends.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 5:14pm

        Re: Re:

        What I was really thinking of (including the warrant weirdness in my reply to JF below) was the idea of a requirement that all citizens allow themselves to be tracked, and how high enough resolution/granularity of ALPRs converges with other tracking methods.

        The government can't (yet) require us to carry phones, and I wasn't going for a dystopian future scenario where it does. I was just projecting the use of an existing tech (cameras) to track an existing, legally required ID (plate number), and how it could approximate more obviously questionable methods of mass surveillance.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2015 @ 12:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The government can't (yet) require us to carry phones

          I don't see why not if it can require people to wear GPS tracking bracelets.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:23pm

      Re:

      But ALPRs make GPS unimportant, since they give you the same information, just at a lower resolution.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 2:52pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, I was thinking more about Katzin. That's just the third circuit, but I'll use it and reword my question: if a warrant is required for GPS tracking in a particular jurisdiction, how could they square that with an equivalent technology that doesn't need a warrant?

        I'm assuming that our courts would naturally decide to err on the side of 'fewer rights' rather than more, but it was kind of interesting to ponder. (Weird little things, like the idea that a warrant could be necessary to track one car, but not to track every car.)

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

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 5:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Weird little things, like the idea that a warrant could be necessary to track one car, but not to track every car.

          Remember, a warrant is only necessary if you want to use that evidence in court. However, if you just use it to fish for offenders, then follow up with an investigation which finds other evidence on said offender, you need never mention the original warrantless search. It's sort of like parallel reconstruction, but even cleaner looking.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 5:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Hell, I guess they wouldn't even need courts or parallel construction: they could just monitor the db in near-real-time for cars leaving the vicinity of banks or casinos. Then pull those people over to see if they happen to have any 'guilty', forfeitable cash in the car.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:58am

    we can always give free tshirts with license plates of politicians to the homeless and wait

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 11:58am

    Today's plan

    1. Stroll through LA City Hall parking lots, take photos of all license plates.

    2. Use computer and decent-quality printer to produce replicas of them.

    3. Drive to outskirts of KNOWN PROSTITUTION AREA (TM).

    4. Tape a replica over real plate.

    5. Drive through KNOWN PROSTITUTION AREA (TM).

    6. Stop at outskirts, remove replica, and discard in nearest recycling bin.

    7. Tomorrow, return to step 3.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:00pm

    or just spray paint their license plates to some strategic walls??

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

  • identicon
    David, 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:04pm

    What the honkers?

    I cannot even imagine the purported purpose of such an action. What is the purported benefit?

    Helping unsuspecting citizens avoid driving through areas where they are in danger of having to gouge out their eyes and cast them away rather than be led into temptation by them?

    Or what? Is this supposed to be the equivalent of a polite "Dear Sir! I could not help noticing two days ago on Elm Street that your fly was open. In case you are still up and wearing the same trousers, I would strongly suggest that you either go to sleep right away or, in case that you are undead, rezip your fly before bats fly out."?

    As a warning, this cannot reasonably arrive timely. The only workable purpose is as a harrassment. And if anybody wanted to get harrassed, he could solicit for it more directly.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:22pm

      Re: What the honkers?

      It's not so much that this particular action has some specific benefit, but that the lack of this action creates no benefits at all.

      The primary purpose of the vast majority of laws has nothing to do with getting people to follow them, and everything to do with making sure people don't (and occasionally can't) follow them. A nation of law-abiding people provides no benefit to the bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, politicians and police officers whose primary duties consist of creating and enforcing laws. On the other hand, create a system where laws cannot be followed, enforced or clearly interpreted, and every one of these people can then cash in on guilt (whether actual or imagined).

      Thus, this policy, which serves to create imagined guilt where none existed before to the clear benefit of the listed parties.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:09pm

    if this law passes then we can quote plenty of Ron Pauls Blowback speeches

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:17pm

    I wonder what a thief could use such information for? It would definitely not tell anything about a persons whereabouts. Sure, facebook is good too, but that is mostly for opportunistic and desperate thiefs not going for the big payday. Having access to the numberplate of high profile target and the database would be quite a boon for much more organized criminals. The specific proposal could also be a valuable market research tool for pimps.

    Seems to me the value of the proposal is very limited for fighting crime, but pretty nice for organized crime if they gain access. Sounds like a good way to help criminals to me.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:23pm

    I work for an IT consulting company. My most direct route to some of our more affluent clients in downtown Vancouver BC takes me directly through some of the poorest, most notorious neighborhoods, known for drug trafficking, prostitution, homelessness, and mental illness.

    I can easily imagine the same (or similar) being true in other cities, including the good councilwoman's. Heaven forbid anybody actually have to drive through these places for legitimate reasons!

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

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:57pm

      Re:

      Once upon a time I worked for an ISP in a large US City.

      Our main facility was in the middle of the downtown area red zone, and you couldn't get food delivered after dark. Prostitution, drug houses, doc shops, and all kinds of illicit businesses literally surrounded our building. It was not uncommon for our night-shift operators to be pulled over on the suspicion that they were looking to buy any number of illegal items.

      I'd have gotten a minimum of 2 letters a day in the mail under this program. More if I needed to travel to any of our secondary/overflow facilities during a given shift.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 2:25pm

        Re: Re:

        explain that to the TSA mongrel

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 3:34pm

        Re: Re:

        I just had a thought: people could purchase monthly 'area passes' from the government that allow them to drive in the red zones without triggering a database hit/letter.

        Instant city revenue.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2015 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      I work for an IT consulting company. My most direct route to some of our more affluent clients in downtown Vancouver BC takes me directly through some of the poorest, most notorious neighborhoods, known for drug trafficking, prostitution, homelessness, and mental illness.

      Yeah, sure. We know why you really go there.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 12:32pm

    “an area known for prostitution.”

    I don't know about LA but in my travels I've found no such thing as "an area known for prostitution." None of them loiter in any place; they're always wandering all over, and they don't dress provocatively so you can't tell one from a legit lady walking around.

    Now if she's talking about strip clubs and massage parlors: every one that I've seen (and yes I've patronized a few) have surveillance cameras outside looking out. Thus nobody can approach one without being on camera.

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

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:04pm

      Re: “an area known for prostitution.”

      I don't know about LA but in my travels I've found no such thing as "an area known for prostitution." None of them loiter in any place; they're always wandering all over, and they don't dress provocatively so you can't tell one from a legit lady walking around.


      dunno how much you travel, but there are informally identified "no-go" areas in every major city I've ever been in. They're easy to spot (and hence avoid) if you know what to look for, and the locals always know where they are, but you won't find them on maps.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 1:32pm

    So what she's proposing, really, is...

    ... helping drive business for the prostitutes:

    1) drive around town
    2) wait for letters to arrive
    3) go back to the areas listed
    4) score!

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

  • identicon
    Honest Politician, 30 Nov 2015 @ 2:05pm

    You have to understand that never ever in the history of the universe has a politician ever availed themselves of the services of a prostitute because they are all without a shadow of a doubt God fearing Christians and would never ever do such a thing, so I for one support this idea, it is brilliant.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 2:25pm

    I have wondered why many of you appear to have only one license plate on your car (Germany: 2, back and front).

    Now I know why: you only want to be seen leaving.

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

  • identicon
    Mr.IIirrrrvvv M, 30 Nov 2015 @ 2:40pm

    Technology should take blame

    It's an uphill battle placing blame on the City for overuse or misuse of tech, the social med. Is more to blame for the ruin of our society, damage is enforced here first.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 2:47pm

    some years ago back when i thought i was a free man i came out from breakfast to my car. a lady walking down the sidewalk in my direction said, 'sir, sir.'

    she said her car wouldn't start and she had quite a walk back to her home. would i mind dropping her off there? i was in no hurry and said i wouldn't mind at all.

    on the drive she explained she was short of cash and worried about paying for fixing her car. could she do anything for me in return for a little cash?

    no.

    we drove on a way in silence until we were to where she wanted out. she then explained she really needed $8 and wanted to talk about it. i fished out 8 bucks just to get her out of the car.

    now, how would my free man's record look today if these assholes running this stuff we're out of their diapers back then. i shudder to think of living in this man-made hell-hole these creeps are harking up.

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 30 Nov 2015 @ 3:28pm

    Know-Nothing Nitwitt in Wonderland

    L.A. Politician Proposes Bold Plan To Wreck Homes, Destroy Lives And Abuse License Plate Reader Technology

    After the LA city council enacts council woman Nury Martinez's boondoggle of a delusion into law the council should move on to other pressing city business such as voting to set aside funding for the purchase of another of Nury's delusions a pretty pink pony.

    Every council woman needs a pretty pink pony like every commuter needs a Dear John letter in the mail.

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

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 4:37pm

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    It will be the families that are destroyed by Martinez's horrifically misguided proposal.

    No, I don't think so, for all the reasons you stated. Nobody is going to take this sort of "tattle taling" seriously. It's just a very silly and misguided "idea" which should be laughed at by everyone. The fact that council is seriously studying this proposition (pun intended) does not speak well of them.

    Perhaps a better idea would be placing a CCTV camera across the street from some of the better hotels in town, thereby allowing them to tattle tale on the high class call girls'/guys' clientèle, such as her fellow council members? That sort of hearsay dirt could be used constructively, such as when it shows up on TV during election campaigns.

    If I were a journalist, I'd be looking for things like this from politicians as red flags. Anyone proposing such things would get 24 hour surveillance. "Lets find out what she's been up to, shall we?"

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2015 @ 12:59am

      Re: Stupid is as stupid does.

      Nobody is going to take this sort of "tattle taling" seriously.

      Really;
      They have just had an argument and such a letter arrives......

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 4:50pm

    Oh look, she is a Democrat

    Would say I am surprised, but I am not.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 5:25pm

      Re: Oh look, she is a Democrat

      Would say I am surprised, but I am not.

      Really? This sort of Puritanistic BS is usually a Republican trait. Hmm, maybe there's no longer any fucking difference to speak of between them and they're both reprehensible trash.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 5:42pm

    because she's an idiot

    No she isn't. The chilling effect is clearly the intended outcome. She even claims as much.

    When people in power (business or government) propose something wild and problematic like this, a common reaction is to claim that this must be due to that person's ignorance or stupidity. The wilder the proposal, the more it makes the person look "stupid'.

    In normal social interaction, Hanlon's razor is a useful heuristic. When all else is equal, blaming stupidity is useful because stupidity is common.

    That changes when power is involved, because all else is not equal. These people have an agenda. Ignore that agenda at your own peril.

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 6:24pm

    What goes around...

    I wonder what this idiot would say if she found out we were tracking her movements all over the city, and sent her emails about the inappropriate locations she was seen in...

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 7:44pm

      Re: What goes around...

      Well clearly that would be a horrendous violation of her privacy, as tracking someone's movement like that is terribly invasive, and should be treated as little better than stalking.

      Remember, 'One law for you, another for me'.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 9:52pm

    What I am curious about is if Martinez has exempted herself and possibly anyone else from having said system applied to them.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 10:21pm

    Whore-Busters

    This reminds me of a "spectator sport" that we used to participate in with high school friends many years ago.

    When one of my friends was finally old enough to get a drivers license, we'd all pile in his car and head downtown for some cheap sightseeing. All the shops closed by 6PM, and after that the hookers came out on some side roads off Mainstreet, on the outer edge of the ghetto. His father's car was a Chevrolet Caprice, a model which at the time was commonly used by police. Apparently the sight of 2, 3, or 4 guys (never mind that the oldest was only 16) sitting in a police-type car stopped on the side of the road somehow didn't fit in with the normal nighttime ambience of downtown, a place where male visitors always entered alone (but seldom left that way). Because after we arrived and parked in a good vantage point, cars would no longer stop for the ladies (or if any did stop, they tended to quickly leave empty-handed) and the hookers would usually end up walking away after a short time of our arrival.

    It was a cheap form of entertainment for a bunch of guys who were not even old enough to work at McDonald's. But the party didn't last long. Later that year police suddenly started patroling those streets in force, and the hookers disappeared for good.

    Of all the things that ever happened to us, such as getting stopped by police for no reason, car searched, etc, getting a letter in the mail would have been far, far worse, as none of our parents had any idea of the things we got up to in those mischievous high school days. And my friend with the car would have had a devil of a time trying to explain to his ultra-strict parents -- who were old-school Southern racists-- what the hell he was doing stopping in the 'dark' side of town anyway.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2015 @ 1:01am

    So...

    So... I take it the councilwoman found her husband in bed with a prostitute recently. Tough break.

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

  • identicon
    AndrewLee, 1 Dec 2015 @ 6:22am

    Easy fix

    PhotoBlocker Spray

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2015 @ 8:10am

    The obvious solution, would be to simply crowd source her movements for a few weeks. If she isn't doing anything wrong, then she has nothing to worry about.

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


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