Another Way The Police And Private Corporations Track You: License Plates

On top of already ubiquitous surveillance cameras and facial recognition technology, there’s no refuge for Americans as the location of their cars are also relentlessly tracked, report Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-Devries for the Wall Street Journal:

For more than two years, the police in San Leandro, Calif., photographed Mike Katz-Lacabe’s Toyota Tercel almost weekly. They have shots of it cruising along Estudillo Avenue near the library, parked at his friend’s house and near a coffee shop he likes. In one case, they snapped a photo of him and his two daughters getting out of a car in his driveway.

Mr. Katz-Lacabe isn’t charged with, or suspected of, any crime. Local police are tracking his vehicle automatically, using cameras mounted on a patrol car that record every nearby vehicle—license plate, time and location.

“Why are they keeping all this data?” says Mr. Katz-Lacabe, who obtained the photos of his car through a public-records request. “I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Until recently it was far too expensive for police to track the locations of innocent people such as Mr. Katz-Lacabe. But as surveillance technologies decline in cost and grow in sophistication, police are rapidly adopting them. Private companies are joining, too. At least two start-up companies, both founded by “repo men”—specialists in repossessing cars or property from deadbeats—are currently deploying camera-equipped cars nationwide to photograph people’s license plates, hoping to profit from the data they collect.

The rise of license-plate tracking is a case study in how storing and studying people’s everyday activities, even the seemingly mundane, has become the default rather than the exception. Cellphone-location data, online searches, credit-card purchases, social-network comments and more are gathered, mixed-and-matched, and stored in vast databases.

Data about a typical American is collected in more than 20 different ways during everyday activities…

[continues in the Wall Street Journal]

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  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    DARPA has a device in development that sends out a flash of light, then records all the reflections which are consistent with optical grade glass.

    Then it targets these areas with a rather intense laser, pitting the optics past the point of usefulness.

    Automatically.

    Can’t wait for that technology to trickle down to the consumer market.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    DARPA has a device in development that sends out a flash of light, then records all the reflections which are consistent with optical grade glass.

    Then it targets these areas with a rather intense laser, pitting the optics past the point of usefulness.

    Automatically.

    Can’t wait for that technology to trickle down to the consumer market.

    • Matt Staggs

       I’ve always thought that DARPA sounded like the name of a Hindu goddess.

    • Matt Staggs

       I’ve always thought that DARPA sounded like the name of a Hindu goddess.

      • Calypso_1

        Apotheosis of DARPA!  My God!  It all makes so much sense now.  So many connections falling into place!  Staggs you are a genius.
         

    • Calypso_1

      There are techniques of utilizing photonic bandgaps in optical crystals that could negate this tech.   I’m sure they would also be investigating this for their own countermeasure development. 
       

    • Calypso_1

      There are techniques of utilizing photonic bandgaps in optical crystals that could negate this tech.   I’m sure they would also be investigating this for their own countermeasure development. 
       

    • Meh

      o.0 Glasses?

      • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

        Actually, they can even detect reflections from retinas.

        So yeah, even eyeglasses.

        There’s some international rules about using “blinding lasers” in combat, but surprisingly those types of rules don’t generally apply to a government’s use of force against its own population.

  • kowalityjesus

    Here’s an anarchy idea for ya, kids: go to parking lots and switch around people’s licence plates.  This and my dream of shooting out mercury-halogen street-lights to restore the night sky.

  • kowalityjesus

    Here’s an anarchy idea for ya, kids: go to parking lots and switch around people’s licence plates.  This and my dream of shooting out mercury-halogen street-lights to restore the night sky.

  • kowalityjesus

    Here’s an anarchy idea for ya, kids: go to parking lots and switch around people’s licence plates.  This and my dream of shooting out mercury-halogen street-lights to restore the night sky.

    • Anarchy Pony

      Does a BB or pellet gun have enough kick? If so, it would be a nice quiet and effective method.

      • kowalityjesus

        an air-rifle probably.  I can’t profess to have that much gumption nor free time nor power over my fate.  I am an imagination anarchist, but a practicing Christian.

        • Calypso_1
          • kowalityjesus

            thanks calypso, I should have thought about Jesus turning over tables in the temple before I let my goodie-two-shoes get in the way.  I suppose its not the only point of dissonance between my multiple philosophical groundings, take for example Ron Paul who uses libertarian concepts largely inspired by Ayn Rand, and yet Anton LaVey  who uses those same ideas to develop the philosophy of Satanism.  Is moral relativism really what I am whittling down to?

          • Calypso_1

            Well if that doesn’t work out for you there’s always haruspicy.

          • Calypso_1

            Well if that doesn’t work out for you there’s always haruspicy.

          • kowalityjesus

            Unfortunately. I would need regular access to sacrificial animals, and unfortunately I have lent my tongue to a snake so excuse me.

          • kowalityjesus

            Unfortunately. I would need regular access to sacrificial animals, and unfortunately I have lent my tongue to a snake so excuse me.

          • kowalityjesus

            Unfortunately. I would need regular access to sacrificial animals, and unfortunately I have lent my tongue to a snake so excuse me.

          • Calypso_1

            The serpent’s song is a beguiling art.

          • Calypso_1

            The serpent’s song is a beguiling art.

          • kowalityjesus

            I felt like I was diluting the poignancy of my and the others’ comments by usurping the conversation for excessively personal affects. If you want to further interview me, feel free at warrenite1000@gmail.com

      • Ted Heistman

        No. Don’t ask me how I know though ;-)

        • Anarchy Pony

          Mum’s the word.

      • Infvocuernos

         On a lot of street lights there is a little light sensing module that looks like a soda can(sort of) and sits on the top of the light housing, if you shoot that, then the street light will be disabled without the telltale broken glass-I hear anyway, never would I engage in wonton vandalism against the state. 

      • Calypso_1
    • Auto5734955

       A slingshot w/marbles works amazingly well, but don’t take my word for it ……..try it yourself.  don’t forget to use gloves so you don’t leave fingerprints on the marbles.

  • David Williams

    ” “repo men”—specialists in repossessing cars or property from deadbeats” Now people that are 60 days in arrears of their car payment are “deadbeats”. Nice. Welcome to Amerika where you WILL be categorized.

  • ishmael2009

    Scary stuff. Bad enough that the police are doing it but how the hell are private companies allowed to do this? 

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    there’s a simple way to stop this
    but it would require a majority of people who don’t want to be controlled
    and that’s the problem
    the majority of people like being sheeple

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    there’s a simple way to stop this
    but it would require a majority of people who don’t want to be controlled
    and that’s the problem
    the majority of people like being sheeple

    • I_abide

      Why worry about your freedom when there’s a god awful reality show on television.  Besides like you said most people like comfortable control.  Real freedom would be too scary and they’d have to actually work to protect it. 

    • I_abide

      Why worry about your freedom when there’s a god awful reality show on television.  Besides like you said most people like comfortable control.  Real freedom would be too scary and they’d have to actually work to protect it. 

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