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Government surveillance isn't just in our phone records and search engine history, but on our roads as well.

That's what the Center For Investigative Reporting found when researching the small cameras popping up on police cars across the country known as license plate scanners. License plate scanners allow police officers to quickly scan thousands of license plates a day, looking for runaway criminals or stolen cars. In California there are very few limits on these readers and almost no transparency. These cameras record time and place of your vehicle, and even can store a picture record of your whereabouts.

Michael Katz-Lacabe, a security consultant, requested the records from the San Leandro, Calif., police department of every time his car was scanned. He was amazed at the frightening amount of information police had recorded. His two cars were scanned 112 times since 2009, and average of about twice a week. There was even a picture of him and his two daughters getting out of his Toyota Prius in their driveway.

The Center For Investigative Reporting points out that the use of license plate scanners has been growing quickly and quietly across the country. Read their fascinating story here to learn more.


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  • 499 Comments
      chzyrider
      • 1 Year Ago
      Scan everyone's license in case they may be a wanted criminal. Test everyone's bodily fluids in case they may be using drugs. Audit everyone's income and expenditures in case they may be evading taxes. Monitor everyone's communications in case they may be terrorists. Scrutinize everyone's daily speech in case they may racist. Watch everyone's diet in case they're eating too much. ...and so on... Where would it end? It may not, unless the public stands up and says; "No more intrusion!" Sadly your rights of privacy seem to end at your bathroom door. And yet I predict the government may soon be wanting come in there as well to monitor how wasteful you are with the toilet paper to potentially charge you for ultimately deplenishing our forrests if you use too many sheets per wipe. There are some valid reasons for this government intrusion, when warranted. But far too often it is a blind blanket accusation on the entire public infringing on our individual privacy as citizens. Some may say "why worry if you have nothing to hide" but it is likely that everyone has some little secret they would not want discovered no matter how trivial.
      mrleoharrington
      • 1 Year Ago
      We are quickly becoming a police state! I had a personal situation happen because I was pulled over 4 years ago for a traffic stop. I won the case in court! Then my aunt borrowed my car and was driving home late one night and guess what?? She was pulled over!! A cop ran the plate and saw the incident in the past. Once he saw I was not driving the car he let her go and apologized? This is a "fishing" for a reason to give someone a hassle in some cases... It needs to go!
        Pamela
        • 3 Months Ago
        @mrleoharrington

        I think "fishing" like that is still against the state constitutions in exactly three (or is it four?) states.

      geocur3971
      • 1 Year Ago
      The overwhelming amount of non-warrant watching should -- SHOULD -- alarm every American. The conbined government and constabulary snatching of ALL information on millions of us is a clear indication that these forces, totally and expensively armed with OUR money, are already out of control. Much like climate change that runs amuck with corporate resistance to checks of any kind, these forces will destroy our society -- or whatever is left of it after 'clean bones-pickings by corporate America, the NRA and the 'Tea Party'.
      legend43219
      • 1 Year Ago
      Land of the free?
        Pamela
        • 3 Months Ago
        @legend43219

        Back when I graduated law school - 2000 - we still had RIGHTS.

      thescot
      • 1 Year Ago
      Don't these big brorther stories make you feel warm and fuzzy all over or do they scare the crap out of you.
      lawrencentral
      • 1 Year Ago
      Police use of this scanning technology is self limiting by cost/benefit ratio. Expanded use will bog down law enforcement more than delivering any benefit. For those who value privacy, necessity inspires invention = counter measures to defend, deflect and distract unwarranted police intrusion. These measures, also "quietly" in play include, but are not limited to: light refracting laminate coating to put on tag to render photos taken by red light cams unreadable. Clever, difficult to detect, quick tag obscuring devices for passive anonymity. It is not well known that police discard and ignore the unclear images of the thousands they review. They follow the path of least resistance just like water.
      jay
      • 1 Year Ago
      POLICE ARE THE WORST WAST OF CIVIC MONEY THERE ARE. THEY NEVER PREVENT OR SOLVE A CRIME, THEY ISSUES SPPEDING AND PARKING TICKETS TO TAX PAYING CITIZENS. FOR THE MOST PART, THEY'RE A BUNCH OF JERKS!
        Pamela
        • 3 Months Ago
        @jay

        Again, it's just this latest generation of police recruits. These last 10-20 years or so. They've all grown up under "Operation Pipeline" and they're all racist SOB's. Interestingly enough racist DOCTORS were the reason I went to law school, not racist SOB Police. But they're getting there.

      yorkpamale
      • 1 Year Ago
      Another violation of the government promise to get out of our lives. If they ONLY scanned license plates connected to serious crimes it wouldn't be so bad.
        Pamela
        • 3 Months Ago
        @yorkpamale

        BINBO. They just run EVERYBODY through as if EVERYBODY is a potential "criminal". It's profiling and profiling happens to be against the US constitution.

      • 1 Year Ago
      Hail Hitler! Now kick in my door and label me a terrorist !
        Pamela
        • 3 Months Ago

        Tell me about it! My car isn't big enough for me to raise my hand that high to make that Nazi Salute, but I feel like doing just that!

      mike krachala
      • 1 Year Ago
      only way to stop this is by the people. refuse to be treated this way. start law suits everywhere you can the only thing they understand is money and looseing it. be careful who you elect. its now the people turn to stand up aginst these people. doesn't matter what it takes.
      • 1 Year Ago
      In regards to surveillance equipment for police,, well it is just another way to get more money out of the public. Like anything else,, more and more control in our society, it is getting out of hand at times,, all I hear if your doing anything wrong you got nothing to worry about??? well as a matter of fact we all do!! Who is paying for all this? Are we criminalizing our society? if it was just one thing going on it would be OK, but when we start infringing on our liberty and our privacy and giving up our rights, we end up like Russia or china, or something else.. With all being said who actually is catching the criminals?? who is the ones whom actually keep it all under control, it is us the American people,, We have to stop the wide abuse of authority out there,, all I keep hearing is how our secrets are being exploited? well have you all noticed so much for our social security numbers being used for almost everything now, and why are we providing foreign countries with our public information? All I hear is the terrorism word now,, how about oil over watch committees, Stock market committees, I guess it is all OK to just take from us,,, where was everyone that were getting payed or elected to watch our backs out there"" to protect us from all this? In summary be very careful who you vote for, and make sure we have control on our ruling government, not them having control on us> GOD BLESS,, Yes I said GOD BLESS
      akileo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well shut up and stop complaining.... Don't you know that the TERRORISTS are COMING!!!!! We need to spy on you dumb American citizens.... Emails, phone calls, whereabouts have to be documented so we can stop the TERRORISTS from taking our freedoms away.
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