Ars Technica acquires automated license plate reader database

Ars TechnicaIn response to a public records request, we obtained the entire LPR dataset of the Oakland Police Department (OPD), including more than 4.6 million reads of over 1.1 million unique plates between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The dataset is likely the largest ever publicly released in the United States—perhaps in the world.

In other words, once the readers are deployed throughout a city, state, or nation, anyone driving within that nation can be tracked and their habits analyzed after the fact, once they have for some reason become a person of interest to law enforcement -- or to anyone willing to write a FOIA request for the information.

It is, quite literally, the end of privacy for the personal movements of individuals. The police will be effectively following everyone all the time. And so will everyone else -- remember, while the police have access to the registration data for the plates, the plates themselves are displayed publicly and so is your face when you are driving your car. Anyone who happens to see you in your car can get your license plate, file a public records request, and find out every time you have been seen by the automated reader system for as long as the data is retained.

And that's likely to be a long time.

This entry was published Thu Jun 25 12:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2015-06-25 12:03:45.0. [Tweet]

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