Not to mention, the police agencies who have no damn business following our every move. It’s pretty much nobodys business where I, you or anybody goes. Unless a crime is being committed, every one should just mind their own fucking business. I am not a fan of the ACLU, however this is a matter I agree with them about. The type of American who wishes to be safe should practice the old and effective method of self defense and preservation, not rely on the government to keep them safe at the cost of the very freedoms our forefathers fought and died to give to us.
We are becoming weak.
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Group says police are recording, storing data on millions of license plates
Officer Dennis Vafier uses a laptop in his squad car to scan vehicle license plates during his patrols Tuesday in Alexandria, Va. Local police departments across the country have amassed millions of digital records on the location and movements of vehicles with license-plate scanners, and they’re keeping the records for weeks or even years. / Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
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WHAT THE ACLU WANTS
The American Civil Liberties Union has more than a dozen recommendations for government use of license-plate scanner systems and the data collected, including: • Police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred before examining the data. • Unless there are legitimate reasons to retain records, they should be deleted within days or weeks at most. • People should be able to find out whether their car’s location history is in a law enforcement database.
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Police are recording and storing information on millions of license plates that aren’t related to suspected violation of the law or any known activity of interest to law enforcement, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The rights organization collected data supporting this claim through Freedom of Information requests in 38 states.
The license-plate scanners look like video cameras and generally are mounted in pairs on either the rear fender, the trunk or sometimes the roof of police cars and parking enforcement vehicles. Some also are mounted in stationary locations, such as road signs or bridges.
They are, “in effect, government location tracking systems recording the movements of many millions of innocent Americans in huge databases,” said ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump, the report’s lead author. And the ACLU says there is little supervision or control over the data recorded, in most cases without the citizen knowing.
The ACLU says only “a tiny fraction of the license plate scans are flagged as ‘hits.’ ” For example, in Maryland, for every million plates read, only 47 — or 0.005 percent — were potentially associated with a stolen car or a person wanted for a crime.
“Yet, the documents show that many police departments are storing, for long periods of time, huge numbers of records on scanned plates that do not return ‘hits,’ ” the group says. “For example, police in Jersey City, N.J., recorded 2.1 million plate reads last year. As of August 2012, Grapevine, Texas, had 2 million plate reads stored, and Milpitas, Calif., had 4.7 million.”
Milpitas police Sgt. Frank Morales said the municipality with a population of 68,000 “is a small community, but we attract very many visitors. We have a large mall here, the Great Mall” and that could account for the outsize number of license plate records. It’s a discount mall situated between two interstate highways and two freeways.
The ACLU last summer, in 38 states and Washington, filed nearly 600 Freedom of Information Act requests asking federal, state, and local agencies how they use the readers. The 26,000 pages of documents produced by the agencies that responded — about half — include training materials, internal memos and policy statements.
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