On the other the idea that they are logging every time, and place they see your vehicle is very disconcerting to me.
License is tied to the person, and I'd hope that solely recognizing the plate of a car owned by someone with a suspended, revoked or never-existing license doesn't represent probable cause to stop the car and check out the driver. I suspect some PDs probably claim it is.
I don't think there should be a penalty for it, but it's definitely worth checking out.
For example, if there's a man with a suspended license and no wife or kids, it would be suspicious for his car to just be on the road.
I agree, it's fair game for probable cause. Otherwise, they couldn't pull over a car driven by bank robbers or kidnappers on the basis of its license number.
I don't get it. Why?
Maine, New Jersey, and Virginia have limited the use of ALPRs, and New Hampshire has banned them outright, according to http://www.infowars.com/automated-license-plate-readers-thre...
The hardware is cheap enough ($1000/camera) that there's no purely financial reason private interests couldn't start using them, e.g., for billboard advertising, etc. But for sure the idea is pretty scary.
We also have a law that describes what a licence plate must look like. (https://www.gov.uk/displaying-number-plates/overview)
I have no idea what happens to the data these machines collects - there's potentially a lot of information about people's movements there.
On top of this, it actually looks pretty good--far better than I would expect a government website to look!
There are things I like about ALPR and things I don't like -- it's up to you guys to make sure it isn't abused. This technology could be abused without oversight.
Images are taken from cameras and matched against known "hot lists" of wanted people. Wanted for what? That depends. There's a list for expired plates (a.k.a. revenue generation - the selling point is that law enforcement will recoup the cost of the systems very quickly), stolen cars, murder suspects, missing people, sex offenders. There is even a notion of a "secret" list where the cops operating the system aren't even aware of what the analysts are looking for. These systems can also do geofencing -- if a plate for a known sex offender is spotted within a certain distance of a school, they're busted. Lots of stolen cars have been recovered via ALPR -- and remember most serious crime starts with the criminals obtaining a stolen car.
The system can also be used for internal investigations -- for instance there was a cop who was stalking his ex-wife who happened to have an ALPR. They pulled the capture history and her license plate came up multiple times. So he's busted.
Depending on how the system is set up they could store and back up the images and geolocations forever. There is current pending legislation regarding how long they can store data. The highway patrol can only store data for 60 days, most police departments have no such limitations. Update it looks like this failed--http://gizmodo.com/how-automated-license-plate-readers-threa...
Given enough mobile and fixed ALPR cameras the end result would be the same as having a GPS tracking device on everyone's car. I don't see why citizens should subject themselves to that long term data collection.
How about controls? Anyone querying the data leaves an audit trail behind. There are lots and lots of auditing and authorization levels built into the systems. That being said if something isn't configured correctly as was depicted here... http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/08/technology/security/shodan/
Something to note, this technology is out of the bag. In the future 3M which makes most license plates are going to be adding QR codes to license plates. http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/6029 You won't really need specialty cameras.
Presently there isn't a national database for ALPR but they're working very very hard to make this a reality. It's up to you guys to make sure this technology is used with proper restrictions and oversight. As I heard out of the mouth of a salesman after a sale to a middle eastern country "Hey regimes are great for business!"
The common argument for privacy in relation to democracy, is that:
If being associated to a political group will be counted against you and the data from such a system could be used to prove your attendance or affiliation to such a group...
...then you are unable to freely express your political beliefs as a consequence of being tracked.
Too often I hear people say "I don't mind personally." But it does affect everyone, since it chills political speech which hurts democracy.
It bothers me that this can happen.
I don't see any good reason that they should be allowed to store the data for later analysis, especially if the "hot list" check comes up empty.
The fact that I'm spotted in public is not an unreasonable invasion of my privacy. Nor is a check of my license plate; this has already been possible, if less efficient, ever since patrol cars had radios.
Keeping a log forever of everywhere I've been spotted is unreasonable, if I'm not otherwise under active investigation.
Maybe not a government run one, but there sure are private ones. Companies like Vigilant (http://vigilantsolutions.com/) probably have over 1-2 billion plate reads nationwide, and law enforcement agencies can get free access to it (http://nvls-lpr.com/nvls/).
source code http://gemini.gmu.edu/cebcp/LPR/for-police-leadership_LPRD.h...
well, the code used to be there. I wonder when they pulled the code?
Updated to fix link.
OR, you can simply not put the plates on and blend in with all the other new cars -- and there's no shortage of new cars in the Bay Area. Usually, the dealer has placed their own cardboard/paper license plate with their own company logo in its place. When I bought a new car, I just flipped it around so it was just plain white.
As long as your car is a late model and reasonably clean, with the registration stuck to the windshield, cops probably won't bother pulling you over. Parking tickets may still be issued from the VIN. If you are pulled over, you might get a dressing down and a fix-it ticket to put your plates on within x days. You can do this for as long as you'd like to press your luck.
Apparently you do get a bar code (according to one 2005 article), so the exemption would be of no use against automated readers. It just keeps ordinary citizens from being able to identify your car.
 http://pictures.dealer.com/m/mercedesbenzoftampa/1069/537b8d... 
http://bimmerboard.com/members/q/original/VIN%20located%20be...  http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showpost.php?p=3856500&postco...
I'm going to cross-post from another forum, where we had a similar discussion on ALPRs.
My reply was in response to how a town can use ALPRs to justify the layoffs of 2-3 parking personnel.
"Nope, the way you justify this is you don't pay for it.
The way it actually works is the manufacturer employs a team of grant writers, whose job is to know about any and all municipal, county, state, federal grants. In conjunction, with a team of lobbyists to influence the increased disbursement of funds to towns to help in the "war on terror". And the cherry on top, is the team that works with each state (or each regional purchasing authority) to get the manufacturer's products onto the approved list of law enforcement-related purchasing items.
The manufacturer then sells 2-5 systems to your town as a way of increasing revenue collection for the cost of $0 (see, grant writers?) plus annual maintenance cost. Your town sells it as a way to crack down on drug dealers and other undesirables. The manufacturer gets about $100K in revenue at this turn.
Then the manufacturer sells professional services to integrate the camera lookup system into your town's DMV, property tax, and criminal databases. So, you're not limited to just parking tickets.
Then the manufacturer sells the use of a certified company employee as an "expert witness" in case you need someone to testify to the accuracy of the system during a court proceeding (that is a result of their surveillance technology).
Then they sell the mapping/GIS software integration at a rate of $300/mile driven for cities, and ~$80/mile driven for highway patrol/state troopers.
I seriously wish I was joking about how the game is played. *
This is what happens when you base all of your municipal revenue on inflated real estate prices/assessments and the floor disappears from under you. You go scrambling for any sort of revenue you can get.
* = I've talked to some officers and detectives in my old town, and they state that they turn the system off when riding with it, because it generates so many hits that they cannot possibly respond to each individual one. My suspicion is that its both that, and the cost per mile driven."
And someone else's follow-up to my post:
"Thanks, you gave me the perfect lead-in to explain my comment.
A lot of these will receive "grant money" from the DHS with the stipulation that the culled data is fed to the DHS for their global database.
There was a PBS Frontline on this subject about a year ago."
For example, in Ontario, ALPRs were used in conjunction with RFID to build a toll road that was free of toll booths in 1997. (Politics later led the toll road to be sold by the provincial government to a privately-owned European company, which has been surprisingly good at maintaining said tollway, even during winter storms.)
Along with all the cars that are just visiting friends in the neighborhood, &c. I'm not saying it couldn't be useful, but it should be treated with care.
Every vessel in Puget Sound, Washington State, is tracked with cameras and radar. We see two stereo cameras mounted on top of the channel marker from Rich Passage at south end of Agate Pass.
I've read this is now all part of the USCG-Coast Guard, the NW is in District 14(?).
ALPR has some technical and business advantages over RFID. The RFID car-identification solution has been around over ten years; ALPR wasn't as effective then. If it has been, we'd probably have ALPR toll-collection systems instead of RFID.
I hope this pushback against ALPR won't extend to private uses of it for reasonable and limited purposes.