Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-02-2019, 11:44 AM
Patch is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: In my house
Posts: 2,028

License plate readers and privacy?


Anyone know if there's any legal rulings or decisions on license plate readers (LPRs) and privacy in the US?

I ask because this is the case in Sacramento, California. There are a large number of license plate readers around the city. They record the license plate of the vehicle, and also take a snapshot of it. Meter readers driving around town aren't just looking for parking violators, but they're also operating LPRs and recording the data. They drive around parking lots doing the same thing, and also around neighborhoods recording plates of vehicles in front of houses and in driveways. The information is stored for years, at a minimum.

To me it seems wrong as it's government tracking people. Where they're going, and who they're visiting. he counter I hear is "it's public information, as they're traveling in the public and have no right to privacy." But if I were to follow someone around all day, every day, recording where they were traveling, that would be stalking. But because it's automated and there's a large government force dedicated to gathering the information, somehow it's ok. This seems very wrong to me, and I was wondering if this had come up in courts and been challenged before.
  #2  
Old 10-02-2019, 12:18 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 12,029
It's generally not illegal.

I'm not sure that following someone around would be stalking legally. See this cite

In California, for example, stalking is "Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family."

So, following someone around to see if they were committing crimes would probably not be stalking. You don't have malicious intent and you're not making a credible threat.

I agree that it's really problematic and we should limit it. But the law takes a while to catch up to technological changes, and policymakers are loathe to limit the police in any way. It's part of a larger societal problem. It got really easy to collect a lot of data, and store it forever, and we haven't grappled with the implications of that very well.
  #3  
Old 10-02-2019, 12:26 PM
Machine Elf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 12,291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
Anyone know if there's any legal rulings or decisions on license plate readers (LPRs) and privacy in the US?
Here you go.

There's also this page. From there, I found this PDF file detailing policies in the city of Sacramento, which states:

Quote:
Originally Posted by City of Sacramento
All ALPR data and images downloaded to City servers shall be retained for a minimum of 90 days pursuant to California Government Code 34090.7 and maximum of 2 years in accordance with the City’s Records Management Policy.
So the information is stored for years at a maximum.

There are a lot of other rules in that document regarding how the data may be used, who may use it, how it is to be safeguarded, and so on.
  #4  
Old 10-02-2019, 12:36 PM
Gary T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 11,369
You drive a car at the pleasure of the government. You're required to register and license the vehicle and you're required to procure a driver's license. It seems to me the government has every right to check on the license plate that they issued for any number of reasons – expired tags, license on wrong vehicle (e.g. if a thief swapped some plates to avoid detection), warrant out on vehicle or owner, etc. That you see it as their trying to track your whereabouts sounds somewhat paranoid to me. If it really bothers you, you're free to walk, take mass transit, or hire a ride (cab, Uber, etc.).
  #5  
Old 10-02-2019, 12:42 PM
Sicks Ate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: KS, US
Posts: 6,701
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
That you see it as their trying to track your whereabouts sounds somewhat paranoid to me. If it really bothers you, you're free to walk, take mass transit, or hire a ride (cab, Uber, etc.).
One of the uses for the LPR database is for it to be used to see if a plate has been scanned, and when and where. Not every agency that uses LPRs uses it for that purpose, though.

I worked at a law enforcement agency during the time they were discussing loading ALL LPR scans from every department in the state in to a centralized database.

Since I would have been involved when the project got off the ground, I would have had to refuse to participate due to my sincere objections to such a database.

Fortunately, I left before that came to fruition. I don't know if it's a thing now or not.
  #6  
Old 10-02-2019, 12:46 PM
Machine Elf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 12,291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
That you see it as their trying to track your whereabouts sounds somewhat paranoid to me. If it really bothers you, you're free to walk, take mass transit, or hire a ride (cab, Uber, etc.).
Which all sounds fine, except ubiquitous cameras and automated facial recognition are on the way.
  #7  
Old 10-02-2019, 12:58 PM
Derleth is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 21,281
License Plates: The Sensitive Information You Publicly Display

(I suppose some here will be constrained from seeing the paradox in the above.)

There's no way license plates can be private, especially from the government which issues them. They're out in public every time the car is in use, and most of the time it isn't, and the whole point to their existence is that they're a unique key into a database maintained by the government to track automobile ownership and usage. Treating them as if they're private is like treating the cars themselves as if they were private, like it was a big secret that there was a blue Nissan Altima driving around Pittsburgh. It isn't about policy so much as it's about basic logic and physics.
__________________
"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.
  #8  
Old 10-02-2019, 01:22 PM
Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,738
I'm not a fan of governments (or private entities) just amassing as much info as they can, absent cause, and THEN deciding what use they can make of it. But I AM somewhat of a personal privacy nut. I'll point out the obvious, that license plate scans indicate where a VEHICLE is/was, not the individual.

Recently saw something alluding to the HUGE amount of information available from Illinois toll roads, iPass and the like. Just waiting for toll info to be used to issue speeding tickets. The mining of big data is a HUGE developing issue in the legal field.
__________________
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
  #9  
Old 10-02-2019, 01:39 PM
Joey P is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 29,215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post

To me it seems wrong as it's government tracking people. Where they're going, and who they're visiting. he counter I hear is "it's public information, as they're traveling in the public and have no right to privacy." But if I were to follow someone around all day, every day, recording where they were traveling, that would be stalking.
Except the police aren't following people around all day. They're scanning all the plates in a given area. They *might* be able to put that information together in a way that would give them a rough idea as to your whereabouts over the course of a day or week, but it's a far cry from stalking.
  #10  
Old 10-02-2019, 02:26 PM
CookingWithGas's Avatar
CookingWithGas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 13,423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
That you see it as their trying to track your whereabouts sounds somewhat paranoid to me.
I used to think that about my phone records until I found out what NSA was doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
There are a lot of other rules in that document regarding how the data may be used, who may use it, how it is to be safeguarded, and so on.
I am not a conspiracy theorist but I do believe that once the government collects data on its citizens, it is vulnerable to misuse/abuse, regardless of the rules.

If this data is used for things like identifying stolen cars or people with outstanding warrants, then such data should used at the time it's collected and not saved for years or months.
  #11  
Old 10-02-2019, 05:45 PM
Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: N of Denver & S of Sanity
Posts: 13,553
Wasn't there a recent SCOTUS case that stated tracking a car's location at various points of time long term amounted to a 4th amendment violation unless there was a warrant?
  #12  
Old 10-02-2019, 06:42 PM
Sicks Ate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: KS, US
Posts: 6,701
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
Wasn't there a recent SCOTUS case that stated tracking a car's location at various points of time long term amounted to a 4th amendment violation unless there was a warrant?
I believe that case involved a GPS tracker planted on the vehicle.
  #13  
Old 10-02-2019, 09:33 PM
dstarfire is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Tacoma, WA; USA
Posts: 1,548
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
I believe that case involved a GPS tracker planted on the vehicle.
I also seem to recall a case where the court (not SCOTUS) ruled that LPR readers feeding a centralized database was effectively the same as placing a tracker on the vehicle, and that such a thing was impermissible even when their was no physical interaction with or physical trespass of the vehicle.
__________________
Dion Starfire, grammar atheist.
  #14  
Old 10-02-2019, 10:03 PM
Sicks Ate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: KS, US
Posts: 6,701
Quote:
Originally Posted by dstarfire View Post
I also seem to recall a case where the court (not SCOTUS) ruled that LPR readers feeding a centralized database was effectively the same as placing a tracker on the vehicle, and that such a thing was impermissible even when their was no physical interaction with or physical trespass of the vehicle.
You may very well be correct, but I am unfamiliar with that case. I approve of the decision.
  #15  
Old 10-03-2019, 06:57 AM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 20,309
SCOTUS's take on recording tags with cameras and computers is that it's merely a faster way of doing it than by people with pens and pads. Since they consider the latter to be perfectly okay, what difference does it make legally if you go higher tech?
  #16  
Old 10-03-2019, 10:41 AM
Spiderman's Avatar
Spiderman is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: somewhere East of there
Posts: 11,029
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Recently saw something alluding to the HUGE amount of information available from Illinois toll roads, iPass and the like. Just waiting for toll info to be used to issue speeding tickets. The mining of big data is a HUGE developing issue in the legal field.
This was one of the fears when EZ-Pass came out. They know the distance between any two toll points. They know what time you entered & exited. Assuming no traffic jams nor your stopping at a rest stop, they can very easily calculate your average speed. They said they wouldn't issue tickets based on this to allay fears. Of course when do you expect a politician to keep their word, especially when there's money in it for them, even if not directly into their pockets fines would free up other funds for other uses so they don't look bad by raising taxes (as much).
  #17  
Old 10-03-2019, 11:01 AM
CookingWithGas's Avatar
CookingWithGas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 13,423
Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
SCOTUS's take on recording tags with cameras and computers is that it's merely a faster way of doing it than by people with pens and pads. Since they consider the latter to be perfectly okay, what difference does it make legally if you go higher tech?
I have been unable to find a SCOTUS decision on this, but this year the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that local police can't "passively collect data on people who aren’t suspected of criminal activity."
  #18  
Old 10-03-2019, 11:25 AM
Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,738
Quite different from the OP, but vehicle info related - there was a case in the local news lately, where they charged people with murder. The amount of info they were able to pull off the car's computer was amazing (to me). Not only where the car went, when it stopped, but even which doors were opened.
__________________
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
  #19  
Old 10-03-2019, 12:17 PM
Dallas Jones is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orygun forest
Posts: 4,956
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
You drive a car at the pleasure of the government. You're required to register and license the vehicle and you're required to procure a driver's license.
And, you are required to publicly display that license plate. Some states front and rear, some only on the rear of the car. But you have to display it.

Plate readers are just a technological advancement of what is already required.
  #20  
Old 10-03-2019, 12:39 PM
CookingWithGas's Avatar
CookingWithGas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 13,423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
And, you are required to publicly display that license plate. Some states front and rear, some only on the rear of the car. But you have to display it.

Plate readers are just a technological advancement of what is already required.
Not at all. The requirement to display a plate has nothing to do with the activity of reading all plates and recording their location and maintaining that data. Plates are displayed to verify that a car is properly registered, and to identify a car in case of probable cause that the car was involved in a civil or criminal offense. It is not required so the government can track the movements of everyone who owns a car.
  #21  
Old 10-03-2019, 12:53 PM
JoseB is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Den Haag, NL
Posts: 1,708
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiderman View Post
This was one of the fears when EZ-Pass came out. They know the distance between any two toll points. They know what time you entered & exited. Assuming no traffic jams nor your stopping at a rest stop, they can very easily calculate your average speed. They said they wouldn't issue tickets based on this to allay fears. Of course when do you expect a politician to keep their word, especially when there's money in it for them, even if not directly into their pockets fines would free up other funds for other uses so they don't look bad by raising taxes (as much).
Heh... something like this has been implemented already for years in the highways here: “trajectcontrole”. At a certain point on the highway your car triggers a photo; after X km of highway (and at the exits between the start and end points of the trajectcontrole) there is another camera. The system has automated number plate reading; it knows at what time you entered the controlled stretch of highway and at what time you leave it, and calculates your average speed.

Officially, only the data of the vehicles that break the speed limit are kept for further processing, all information on law-abiding vehicles being destroyed as soon as the calculation has been made and it has been seen that the speed was OK, but well... Dunno whether to believe that or not :P
__________________
NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!
  #22  
Old 10-03-2019, 02:42 PM
Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: N of Denver & S of Sanity
Posts: 13,553
Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
SCOTUS's take on recording tags with cameras and computers is that it's merely a faster way of doing it than by people with pens and pads. Since they consider the latter to be perfectly okay, what difference does it make legally if you go higher tech?
Nothing for a one-time deal. Tracking a car's position over multiples day over a long period of time is considered a search (IIRC) under the 4th Amendment
  #23  
Old 10-03-2019, 03:19 PM
md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,079
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Except the police aren't following people around all day. They're scanning all the plates in a given area. They *might* be able to put that information together in a way that would give them a rough idea as to your whereabouts over the course of a day or week, but it's a far cry from stalking.
When a city the size of LA or NYC had a couple of license plate readers - maybe. When they become as common as traffic cameras, and all that data is collected - it's not a long stretch to realize that cameras placed at busy intersections and choke points, plus a giant database of all such readings, results in a "connect the dots" display of where and when a vehicle travelled.

I read something about HOA's setting up LPR's to see who visits the neighbourhood and when, how long they stay (with fun privacy implications like "why is that car always there? He's not on the occupant list. Are you violating the family-only tenant rule?" Similarly security at large shopping malls have them to scan the parking lot for assorted issues - abnormally long parking times, abandoned or stolen cars... Also suggestions that such private LPRs could add their data to a law enforcement network database.

just because California dumps the data after 2 years doesn't mean others who read the database are obliged to do so with data they download.

Plates were intended for (a) visually signalling the licensing is complied with and (b) verifying ownership during traffic stops or witnessed offenses and (c) allowing a means of assigning parking and other unoccupied traffic violations to be attached to a vehicle.

The only thing that comes close to the LPR issue is (2), and that was not anticipated to morph into a means to constantly track anyone anytime. The big issue is the database. IIRC, the whole issue with NSA record collection - vaguely recall some court cases over this - the government needed probably cause to collect data like who you called, when how long etc. ("pen register" data, I think) Collecting innocent citizens' data for no valid reason (probable cause) was a violation of the 4th amendment.

Reminds me of the story of the medieval bishop directing a siege of a French town. When they were going to overrun it and kill the heretic Cathars, he was asked how they could tell the heretics from the good Catholics. His reply "Kill them all, God will sort them out."
  #24  
Old 10-03-2019, 04:59 PM
Patch is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: In my house
Posts: 2,028
Circumstances have pulled me from the office for a few days, so there are some questions and clarifications I have for folks at work who know more about the system than I.

Yes, 'stalking' is a bit of a reach, but it certainly is tracking me nonetheless, especially when they are recording what's parked in front of my house and in my driveway. And I know for a fact one of the ways this is used is, "hey, we arrested Bob on drug charges. Where does he hang out? Oh, we see his car parked at 123 Elm Street. Who lives there? Let's run background on them and see if they have a criminal history. Where do we see that person's car and who are they visiting?" Great, so because it's easier for Bob to park across the street in front of 124 Elm Street, now that person is being looked at. This isn't about looking for stolen cars, it's about tracking the populace.
  #25  
Old 10-04-2019, 12:11 AM
pkbites's Avatar
pkbites is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Majikal Land O' Cheeze!
Posts: 10,980
Quote:
Originally Posted by dstarfire View Post
I also seem to recall a case where the court (not SCOTUS) ruled that LPR readers feeding a centralized database was effectively the same as placing a tracker on the vehicle, and that such a thing was impermissible even when their was no physical interaction with or physical trespass of the vehicle.
You may be thinking of This.

Up until rather recently (last 2 decades anyway) anyone could get the data of license plates. In my state it was 2 bucks to find out who owned what and where they lived.
It wasn't until the stalker laws and other such laws took effect that knocked that out. Some states even sold CD's with every plate and cross reference names. In many places private security ad investigators can still legally obtain such info. How's that helping everyones paranoia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
But if I were to follow someone around all day, every day, recording where they were traveling, that would be stalking.
No it isn't. What do you think private detectives get paid to do? In most states there are certain elements that have to exist before it's stalking.

Last edited by pkbites; 10-04-2019 at 12:13 AM.
  #26  
Old 10-04-2019, 01:37 AM
nightshadea is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: a condo in hell 10th lvl
Posts: 5,688
I know that when the city of Oakland writes a traffic ticket they take a picture of the plates

When my aunt had a car they sent her a parking ticket by mail ... Now we live 800 miles SE of oak/SF

I called and disputed the ticket and after giving him the license plate number and a few minutes of discussion he took the ticket processing number and said " wait a few seconds I'm looking at the picture of the plate now.. Oh yeah, it's supposed to be xyx9 instead of xyz 8" typed some stuff in and changed it and said, "you might get a late notice or two just toss em "
  #27  
Old 10-04-2019, 01:55 AM
bengangmo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 9,693
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
Circumstances have pulled me from the office for a few days, so there are some questions and clarifications I have for folks at work who know more about the system than I.

Yes, 'stalking' is a bit of a reach, but it certainly is tracking me nonetheless, especially when they are recording what's parked in front of my house and in my driveway. And I know for a fact one of the ways this is used is, "hey, we arrested Bob on drug charges. Where does he hang out? Oh, we see his car parked at 123 Elm Street. Who lives there? Let's run background on them and see if they have a criminal history. Where do we see that person's car and who are they visiting?" Great, so because it's easier for Bob to park across the street in front of 124 Elm Street, now that person is being looked at. This isn't about looking for stolen cars, it's about tracking the populace.
It doesn't seem to me that this is a good argument.
Compiling a database of where a drug dealer goes and being able to catch more of his customers? So cry me a river.
Or to put it another way....
Track a known kiddy diddler by his license plate, and catch others that are like minded.
What's more of a concern is the possibility of non criminal behaviour being found out and used against people.
E.g. affairs, participating in a swingers event, etcetc
  #28  
Old 10-04-2019, 02:26 AM
pkbites's Avatar
pkbites is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Majikal Land O' Cheeze!
Posts: 10,980
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightshadea View Post
I know that when the city of Oakland writes a traffic ticket they take a picture of the plates
Most of the hand held ticket printers have cameras. Our current ones can take up to 10 pics per cite.

But I don't think that's what the OP is concerned about.
  #29  
Old 10-04-2019, 04:30 AM
bob++ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Worcestershire UK
Posts: 6,772
I guess that you guys would not be too happy over here in the UK, where plates are scanned everywhere you go. I go to the supermarket and they get scanned on the way in and on the way out because there is a three-hour restriction on free parking. All filling stations scan the plates of every car to combat drive-offs; Transport for London scan my plates when I enter and leave the congestion zone and many sensitive areas scan the plates of every passing vehicle. Most police cars are now fitted with ANPR so if the pull me over, they already know if the car is taxed and insured, and who owns it.

There is a lot more; some of which is public knowledge and some not, and the UK has some of the most surveillance cameras per head in the developed world.
  #30  
Old 10-04-2019, 12:35 PM
md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,079
Pictures or video of license plates were pretty common for a decade or three. IIRC, the freeway tollbooths etc. would take pictures for catching toll evaders. The big shift is when a camera can feed a character recognition device and add a license plate (by text) to a database complete with location and time info with no human intervention. This takes things a step further - with sufficient coverage, you now get the "connect the dots" capability to track a car anytime, any place. Plus the manufacturers that sell these devices to private citizens might include the capability (optional or not) to update a central company database with the details, adding to the level of detail available to anyone who can finagle their way onto the database.

It's the same shift as when GPS trackers became available. When police had to allocate a human to watch and follow someone, it was only done in serious circumstances. When it's simply a matter of catching the car unattended and slapping a device in the wheel well or under the bumper and then collecting 24-7 data real time, for an unlimited number of people - that's a whole different matter. The police did not need a warrant to tail someone - they do to GPS them. there has to be a reasonable suspicion or whatever the threshold is for a warrant. Doing the same thing by putting a series of cameras along the way is no different - except the Supreme Court decision, IIRC, hinged on the act of actually trespassing and touching the subject's vehicle.

But basically, there's a privacy issue in having a long history of the actions of innocent people immediately accessible to police without a warrant, or to private third parties with who knows what restrictions, if any. The same can be said of facial recognition, with the proviso that it is less reliable than LPR tech. (I note that Hong Kong is planning to ban facemasks to combat civil unrest) Of course, the next question will be - how reliable is LRP tech, and does the system also store photos (for verification)? Do we take a computer's word for it that it did not make a mistake reading, with possible life-altering repercussions? As usual, the law has not caught up with technology.


(I'm reminded of the story about some kids who took a photo of a teacher's license plate, printed out life-size copies and taped them over their car plate and drove through a number of red-light cameras.)

Last edited by md2000; 10-04-2019 at 12:36 PM.
  #31  
Old 10-04-2019, 02:04 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil's Avatar
FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Land of Cheese Coneys
Posts: 18,061
I started a thread about this years ago when I first encountered these police vehicles because the car wash I operated at the time had a fleet account with a local PD and they were wondering if the cars equipped with the cameras could go through the wash or not (no they couldn't).

Here it is: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=597387

Those cops are using them to catch outstanding warrants tied to the plates. They just sit there all day, then suddenly swoop out and pull someone over and arrest them. It's a little creepy, but understandable given that we submit to the idea that driving is a government-sponsored privilege.
__________________
Posting From Above The Browns
  #32  
Old 10-04-2019, 03:40 PM
doreen is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Woodhaven,Queens, NY
Posts: 6,600
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiderman View Post
This was one of the fears when EZ-Pass came out. They know the distance between any two toll points. They know what time you entered & exited. Assuming no traffic jams nor your stopping at a rest stop, they can very easily calculate your average speed. They said they wouldn't issue tickets based on this to allay fears. Of course when do you expect a politician to keep their word, especially when there's money in it for them, even if not directly into their pockets fines would free up other funds for other uses so they don't look bad by raising taxes (as much).
And yet EZPass has been in NY for something like 26 years, and I've never heard of someone getting a ticket via hte above scenario ( And I've often been in cars that would have gotten a ticket if they were doing this) Speed cameras, however are another story - and as far as I know, they don't even need to read your license plate at the moment of taking the photo.

Last edited by doreen; 10-04-2019 at 03:41 PM.
  #33  
Old 10-07-2019, 12:46 PM
Patch is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: In my house
Posts: 2,028
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
So the information is stored for years at a maximum.

There are a lot of other rules in that document regarding how the data may be used, who may use it, how it is to be safeguarded, and so on.
Did some follow-up this morning on it.

The data that's collected is distributed to a private company, which is a clearing house for a large number of license plate readers nationwide. Retention policies of Sacramento at that point are irrelevant, as the data is in private hands.
  #34  
Old 10-07-2019, 12:52 PM
Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: N of Denver & S of Sanity
Posts: 13,553
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengangmo View Post
It doesn't seem to me that this is a good argument.
Compiling a database of where a drug dealer goes and being able to catch more of his customers? So cry me a river.
Or to put it another way....
Track a known kiddy diddler by his license plate, and catch others that are like minded.
What's more of a concern is the possibility of non criminal behaviour being found out and used against people.
E.g. affairs, participating in a swingers event, etcetc
It's for things like "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause" that I'm glad I live in the United States. I wouldn't want to live in the police state "catch the criminals no matter the cost to the innocent" that you live in.
__________________
When I was a boy, a mere lad, A FAERIE APPEARED UNTO ME AND TOLD ME I WOULD BE BOTH POPE AND KING! But … I am a bastard. And a pretender.

-Richard Hariss
  #35  
Old 10-07-2019, 01:12 PM
md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,079
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
It's for things like "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause" that I'm glad I live in the United States. I wouldn't want to live in the police state "catch the criminals no matter the cost to the innocent" that you live in.
Exactly - oddly enough, it's not restricted to drug dealers and pedophiles. EVERYONE is caught up in the database. Too many coincidences and you get dragged down to police HQ despite a lack on non-circumstantial evidence.

The "I have nothing to hide" mentality is very misguided. Do you want your travel activities available to anyone willing to pay? Your boss, to see if you left early too often? Maybe the cops will assemble a list of cars parked at venues that serve liquor, and put a yellow flag on anyone who shows up on the list more than twice? See which way patrons go home and wait there until their reader goes "bing!" and pull you over for a breathalyzer? Does the "I have nothing to hide" mentality extend to allowing the police to pull you over whenever you are driving after 9PM and pass a police car because you were designated driver a few times? Do you want your insurance rates to go up because you drove to the bar or a restaurant that serves alcohol?

(And those are only some of the scenarios I can imagine. Privacy used to be nice. )
  #36  
Old 10-07-2019, 02:57 PM
Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: N of Denver & S of Sanity
Posts: 13,553
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
The "I have nothing to hide" mentality is very misguided.
I wonder how many of the "I have nothing to hide" crowd would willing allow cops to search their house, car and person at anytime - even if they're not there.
  #37  
Old 10-07-2019, 03:21 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,548
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Except the police aren't following people around all day. They're scanning all the plates in a given area. They *might* be able to put that information together in a way that would give them a rough idea as to your whereabouts over the course of a day or week, but it's a far cry from stalking.
Police here, anyhow, are scanning plates as they patrol, looking for plates associated with warrants and stolen cars. So it isn't just in limited areas.
  #38  
Old 10-07-2019, 03:50 PM
Spiderman's Avatar
Spiderman is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: somewhere East of there
Posts: 11,029
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
Retention policies of Sacramento at that point are irrelevant, as the data is in private hands.
No, they should be contractually obligated to the retention policies of the 'owner' of that data. They should be deleting it after two years if that was Calif wants. If they're not doing such they are in breach of the appropriate section(s) of the contract & potentially subject to some penalty. Probably just financial but potentially criminal as well. I don't know the specifics as to their contract or Calif law to be able to give more detailed answers.
  #39  
Old 10-07-2019, 08:38 PM
Paul in Qatar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Posts: 12,961
You have no reasonable expectation of privacy when you drive around on the streets with a big identification number on the car. The computers are simply doing what a policeman with a notebook could do, and have done for decades. It is a change of scale, but not of type.
__________________
800-237-5055
Shrine Hospitals for Children (North America)
Never any fee
Do you know a child in need?
  #40  
Old 10-08-2019, 12:24 PM
RioRico is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: beyond cell service
Posts: 161
Privacy? It's an illusion. We are tracked everywhere, our communications monitored, our habits, locales, spending, associates, fetishes et al recorded and backed-up forever. Data is immortal. We are known and can't hide.

Motor vehicle ownership and usage are state-granted privileges, not divine rights. Drive by the rules you can't get away with violating. Yes, a state can do whatever it wants with any motor vehicle data... within their legal bounds. In states resembling democracies, if you don't like those legal bounds, you can vote for change.

But licence-plate scans are old and trivial. Modern factory-built motor vehicles are computers that roll. On-board systems record vehicle data. I predict that soon, licensed vehicles' data will be legally required to be uploaded regularly to state servers for real-time analysis. Your every infraction will be known, and appropriate citations issued and fines levied automatically. Maybe ten bucks per mph over the limit per ten seconds. THAT would be a great fund-raiser!

LPRs are only a token of our ubiquitous-surveillance future. Forget privacy.
  #41  
Old 10-08-2019, 04:06 PM
md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,079
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
You have no reasonable expectation of privacy when you drive around on the streets with a big identification number on the car. The computers are simply doing what a policeman with a notebook could do, and have done for decades. It is a change of scale, but not of type.
That's the whole point. What was impractical or very limited (or too expensive) when done manually with old tech, now is suddenly trivial and ubiquitous. Film used to be expensive, slow, and had to be processed and then scanned manually for details. Today, computers can record 24-7 in unlimited numbers, isolate licenses, faces, and many other details and correlate all these things automagically. 3 shifts of policemen tailing a car is replaced by a GPS device that can't be shaken. A stake-out can be replaced by a motion-activated surveillance camera. Etc.

Add to that, many of these activities, like LPR databases, belong to private companies so are not bound by rules about government warrant restrictions.

I don't have a problem with police or security trolling parking lots for stolen cars. I d object to the data being stored for 2 years or longer, searchable, to build up a list of where I go for a year or more. Unless they can tell a judge why they need this, before the data starts getting collected, it's none of their business.
  #42  
Old 10-08-2019, 05:16 PM
Napier is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 9,579
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
You drive a car at the pleasure of the government. You're required to register and license the vehicle and you're required to procure a driver's license. It seems to me the government has every right to check on the license plate that they issued for any number of reasons – expired tags, license on wrong vehicle (e.g. if a thief swapped some plates to avoid detection), warrant out on vehicle or owner, etc. That you see it as their trying to track your whereabouts sounds somewhat paranoid to me. If it really bothers you, you're free to walk, take mass transit, or hire a ride (cab, Uber, etc.).
This is a dated way of considering the issue, and technology change is so important here that it can completely change the important issues.

Suppose a state decides to raise funds by allowing anybody with a credit card to enter a tag number and get a list of timestamped locations for the past year. Would that change your statement?

I'm not free to walk, take mass transit, or hire a ride. I live miles from anyplace and I'm too old to hike 30 miles a day to keep my job. There's no mass transit here and I don't think we can even get cabs. Airport shuttles, yes, but I don't know if that would facilitate living a typical life in rural America that practically requires automobile use to participate in the adult world.
  #43  
Old 10-09-2019, 04:49 AM
Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 15,034
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
You have no reasonable expectation of privacy when you drive around on the streets with a big identification number on the car. The computers are simply doing what a policeman with a notebook could do, and have done for decades. It is a change of scale, but not of type.
In fact, this was done years ago -- just not by police.

A casino in Atlantic City hired 'spotters' who sat by highways with binoculars and recorded license plate numbers of customers of other casinos. Then the casino bought the name & address of the owners (back then, anybody with cash could buy that info) and used it to mail coupons & special offers to try to get those gamblers to switch to their casino.
  #44  
Old 10-09-2019, 11:58 AM
Projammer's Avatar
Projammer is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SW Arkansas
Posts: 6,674
Are there laws that tags must be displayed on parked vehicles that aren't parked illegally? There are plate frames that can hide your plate with the push of a button.

What if I'm just ultra-paranoid and remove my plates when I park and store them in the trunk?
  #45  
Old 10-09-2019, 01:02 PM
doreen is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Woodhaven,Queens, NY
Posts: 6,600
Quote:
Originally Posted by Projammer View Post
Are there laws that tags must be displayed on parked vehicles that aren't parked illegally? There are plate frames that can hide your plate with the push of a button.

What if I'm just ultra-paranoid and remove my plates when I park and store them in the trunk?
If it's parked on the street, most likely the plate must be displayed. From NYS:

Quote:
1. (a) No person shall operate, drive or park a motor vehicle on the public highways of this state unless such vehicle shall have a distinctive number assigned to it by the commissioner and a set of number plates issued by the commissioner with a number and other identification matter if any, corresponding to that of the certificate of registration conspicuously displayed ...
  #46  
Old 10-09-2019, 01:08 PM
md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,079
Along the same lines, the Reagan administration way back when proposed another category of secret. A single fact may not be secret, or private - but a computerized list of a large collection of such data should be considered secret. For example, knowing Bob next door works for the local police - may happen. Having a complete list of all the members of the police -or FBI, or CIA, or NSA, or Secret Service - should not be publicly available or passed around.

Adding computerization is more than just a change of medium. It takes the value of such data to a while new level.
  #47  
Old 10-09-2019, 02:15 PM
jnglmassiv is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Chicago's Northside
Posts: 3,200
Quote:
Originally Posted by doreen View Post
If it's parked on the street, most likely the plate must be displayed.
I had some cars in storage while I was away at school. The cars were not parked on the street. They had plates but I let the registration expire since I wasn't driving them. I returned home to a pile of unregistered plates and nuisance vehicle tickets. Apparently cars visible from a public way can be inspected.
  #48  
Old 10-09-2019, 03:10 PM
Loach's Avatar
Loach is offline
The Central Scrutinizer
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pork Roll/Taylor Ham
Posts: 25,581
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
I have been unable to find a SCOTUS decision on this, but this year the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that local police can't "passively collect data on people who aren’t suspected of criminal activity."
Your cite is for one county in Virginia and it pertains to following a specific Virginia statute not a broad constitutional issue.
  #49  
Old 10-16-2019, 11:05 AM
Spiderman's Avatar
Spiderman is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: somewhere East of there
Posts: 11,029
More databases to search - Philly is going towards parking meters by license plate. Now, not only will 'they' know where you drive, but where you park.

They're also basically forcing your to pay either by card or their app as the new machines won't have the ability to take bills, only coins so you'll either need to pay by a traceable source or carry around pounds of coinage. Not exactly user friendly for a city with so much tourism; I doubt out of towners will download an app for one time use & I hate putting piddly little charges on a credit card.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:27 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017