Phoenix is following in the steps of a number of cities to begin using ALPR systems to find parking scofflaws. Read about it here. For the two of you who don’t know what ALPR is, its automated License Plate Recognition. A Video camera photographs a license place, automatically digitized the picture, and then a computer looks up the plate number on a list prepared by the court of people who are eligible for towing. Easy enough. Most cities that have installed the system have found it works very well.
But of course the ACLU is involved. They feel that this is big brother “checking up” on us. By photographing our license plates they now know where we are and when.
But…..are they right? Do you really trust the same government that delivers your mail and cleans up oil spills to not keep a record of all the license numbers scanned. According to the city of Phoenix, the license plates are compared with the list of scofflaws and then dumped. But cept if you read further, you find that the police are also using the system to search for stolen cars, and felons, and look – they use the system in ball game parking lots, to scan for bad guys. Unfortunately they get your license number, too.
I haven’t thought this one through, and usually I’m on the other side from the ACLU. But in this case, I just don’t know…comments sports fans?
Oh, yeah – the ACLU comment:
Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, said plate readers are a national trend toward increased surveillance of residents. She said the ACLU has raised questions about how governments manage data collected from the cameras and offered policies that outline acceptable uses. “Part of the problem with these is, you don’t have any assurance that these technologies will remain focused on people with unpaid parking tickets,” Soler Meetze said. “If you start using it to track and record every movement of an automobile and the person driving it, that would represent a serious privacy concern.”