By on August 21, 2013

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Planning on visiting Florida’s Longboat Key island? According to Wikipedia, Maria Sharapova is a resident, which is probably reason enough to visit the beach there. Should you make the trip, however, you should be aware that the local police will record your arrival and departure. They will also be keeping the records of said arrival and departure for as long as ten years. Whether you — or the ACLU — like it or not.

Longboat Key police chief Peter Cumming (snicker) told a local television station that he’d be retaining the data for up to a decade whether there is any legitimate purpose for doing so or not.

The ACLU notes that

Automatic license plate readers have the potential to create permanent records of virtually everywhere any of us has driven, radically transforming the consequences of leaving home to pursue private life, and opening up many opportunities for abuse. The tracking of people’s location constitutes a significant invasion of privacy, which can reveal many things about their lives, such as what friends, doctors, protests, political events, or churches a person may visit.

In our society, it is a core principle that the government does not invade people’s privacy and collect information about citizens’ innocent activities just in case they do something wrong. Clear regulations must be put in place to keep the government from tracking our movements on a massive scale.

Your humble author’s primary concern with all this is about 40% government misuse and about 60% “public-private partnerships”. We’re all familiar with the junk mail generated by companies who purchase access to DMV records. What will happen on the day when some enterprising company manages to purchase access to camera records from multiple municipalities and run them through a couple D-Waves? How much would you pay to know where your neighbor’s husband spends his evenings? How much would your employer pay to know whether you visit a bar or a bath house or a mosque or an evangelical church? How much would a burglar pay to know when someone is two hundred miles away from their home?

If you think nobody’s interested in buying those records, you’re probably wrong. There’s going to be a long line of private companies lined up as cash-strapped municipalities with cameras realized what they’re sitting on — and I can easily take a guess at who will be first in line.

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107 Comments on ““They’re all stored as evidence, that’s right. Even if we don’t use them.”...”


  • avatar
    cartunez

    My biggest problem with the government doing anything is they aren’t accountable for what they do. In private business of there is misuse they can be sued out of existence. Government because of the ability to tax (take by force) can and does do what its wants. Sure you can “vote the bums out”. But the next bum will do the same thing.

    • 0 avatar
      kkt

      It’s the other way around. Government is much more accountable than business. Government has public disclosure laws and elections. Business does not. Business doesn’t have to tell you what records they keep at all, and you can’t vote for a different CEO.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The difference being that I am free to choose whether to patronize a given business. If I don’t like their practices, I don’t have to give them my money. The Government on the other hand, they take it whether you want to do business with them or not. Policians know this, so it creates a never ending cycle of abuse, no matter which party or person is in control.

        • 0 avatar
          cartunez

          Thanks Danio you understood my point. I am not always the best with the written word.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I’m pretty sure that you didn’t choose to have Experian, Transunion and Equifax to monitor and score your credit.

          You don’t seem to understand how this stuff works. Data collection companies gather information on anything that moves, and then try to find a buyer for it, none of whom asked you whether you wanted to be in their databases in the first place.

          In any case, there is no real line between public and private here. If the government can’t collect it themselves, then they’ll just buy it. The Fourth Amendment provides very little expectation of privacy in public places, and the new digital technology will be exploiting that lack of protection.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Would you have a problem with the police setting up a camera and mic across the street from your house? No warrant, no reasonable suspicion. No reason at all.

            Same question, but now let’s say you express interest in running for public office – city council, mayor, etc and you’re running against the incumbent.

            Do you not see how this can be abused?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Would you have a problem with the police setting up a camera and mic across the street from your house?”

            Either you didn’t read my post, or else you meant to respond to someone else.

            I don’t want ANYONE monitoring me without a good reason. Private or public, it makes no difference to me.

            All of them pose a threat. But there isn’t much that I can do about it. The Fourth Amendment doesn’t offer much protection, and there’s about zero chance of that situation changing in my favor.

            Experian never asked me whether I wanted to have my activities turned into a credit record. But I’m not a customer, I’m just a product. The glibertarians need to wake up and realize that the private sector poses a risk to privacy, regardless of what your ideology tells you about glorifying actors in the private sector who owe you nothing and whom you didn’t elect.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            We weren’t specifically talking about data collection companies. For the purpose of this convesation, we could separate those out from others that provide goods and services and merely keep records of purchases. Many of those companies are sensitive to people’s privacy demands and go to great lengths to assure them their information is safe and won’t be sold to appease their customers as generally, people don’t want to be tracked or have their information sold for marketing purposes. This is an agreement most people are alright with.

            Companies who’s sole purpose it is to collect your data and sell it, fall into a murky category that often conflicts with privacy rules, mainly depending on how that information is used, that being the key. Most people aren’t comfortable with the act of collection, public or private, simply because of the fact that the information now could be misused once cultivated. Make no mistake, regardless of what the current standing of the issue within the law, I am not particularly fond of anyone, public or private, cultivating information on me without my knowledge or consent.

            So, no, I don’t condone the actions of private data collection services either, and this objection is not necessarily on a legal basis. My main concerns of Government over private surveillance is that the Government holds the greater ability of force.

      • 0 avatar
        cartunez

        Can you name me one business that is not accountable to the people that purchase its products/services? Keep in mind I am not speaking of crony capitalist businesses.

        • 0 avatar
          aristurtle

          Jack called out Equifax like right there in the post.

          I mean, I guess you could make the argument that you’re not the customer of your credit report; your (potential) lenders are? Either way, they’re not at all accountable to you when they put something in there; that’s kind of the whole point of their service.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            They’re not accountable?

            http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/equifax-lawuit-woman-wins-186-lawsuit-credit-bureau-19813017

        • 0 avatar
          cfclark

          The difference in this case (and with the credit bureaus) is that you are not the purchaser; you are the product. They’re accountable to the agencies/other companies that purchase the data, not to you.

          I guess this is as good an argument as any for using public transit/walking/bicycling anywhere you need to go, if you don’t want your movements closely tracked.

          • 0 avatar
            kkt

            And don’t forget to take the batteries out of your cell phone.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yeah, I don’t understand the outrage here since this has been happening for decades!

            Every road trip I’m on there are CBP cameras along the roads, and in other places there are cameras that belong to the State Police. In some towns there are cameras on top of the traffic light poles.

            They’re not there for decoration. They’re there to collect license plate data and pictures of the vehicle’s occupant(s).

            Once a person is out in public, that person can have no reasonable expectation to privacy.

            And the same applies to the credit-data environment. Once you have obtained credit, your financial data, repayment history, and credit rating can be distributed to any and all interested parties, sometimes for a fee.

            If you own property, anyone can do a search or look-up on you, your residence, your property taxes, and in turn can obtain private info like your DOB, SSAN, income data, home phone number etc etc etc.

            Credit collectors do this all the time. That’s their function in life, to uncover as much info as they can on people they pursue.

      • 0 avatar
        Da Coyote

        “Government is much more accountable than business. Government has public disclosure laws and elections. Business does not. Business doesn’t have to tell you what records they keep at all, and you can’t vote for a different CEO.”

        Wow, sorry to add negative vibes here, but did you come from the planet Marshmallow and major in underwater basket weaving? Such cluelessness can only mean that for you 2+2=6 for large values of 2 as 2 approaches 3. Folks are in the gubmit because there is very little else they can do to keep a roof over their heads.

      • 0 avatar
        Rick T.

        You must not read/hear the news very much. Hell, you can even be responsible for getting people killed and not lose a dime’s worth of pay.

        And you can vote for a new CEO if you’re a shareholder. If you’re not, it’s really none of your concern.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        But gov’t can pass law after law, court case after court case, making their actions legal. Business may get away with that once or twice, but in the long run they’re eventually sued or legislated against.

    • 0 avatar
      AmeroGuy

      Except that in many cases they can’t be sued out of existence. You see we have these things called adhesion contracts, they’re not contracts in the traditional sense because there’s no bargain but if you want to use many businesses services you have to sign. And guess what, businesses have figured out they can put just about anything in these things because people want to buy things like cell phones. So most consumers have signed away their rights to sue without even realizing it.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    All those records of visitors to places like LBK can be monetized, eventually. Who better to send follow up vacation solicitations to than out-of-state travelers already predisposed to Florida’s Gulf Coast? Data miners delight.

    However, there is a solution. Excellent bike lines from downtown Sarasota all the way out to Anna Maria on the northern tip of the keys, all the way up to the southern edge of Tampa Bay. Plenty of public beach areas to stop at, not to mention a good selection of restaurants and kitschy shops along the way. (Do stop at St Armand’s Circle for fine shops and a Starbucks prior to the ride out, and an ice cream from Kirwins on the ride back).

    Cue anti-cyclist tirade now: But remember this, the bike has no license plate thereby granting you anonymous passage.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      >>>the bike has no license plate thereby granting you anonymous passage

      Do you generally wear a balaclava while cycling in Florida? Automated facial recognition isn’t nearly as accurate as reading license plates but it’s better than most people realize.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Ain’t hobbies swell?

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    I’m going to agree 100% on the private access concerns, but worry less about the government. I’ll put myself at 80/20 instead of 60/40. Belief in government conspiracy relies almost entirely on the implied belief in government competence. Anyone who works regularly with the government on a regular basis will likely chuckle a little at this point.

    Companies like Target, however (I assume the store name refers to the customer, not the products) will use all collected inforamtion filtered through state of the art algorithms written by highly paid computer scientists to find out what gender your daughter’s baby will be, and they are not alone.
    that being said, in modern iPhone society, there is nowhere to hide from being taped, photographed, or made digital note of. we’ll just have to get used to it.

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      Target has indeed used data mining of a customer’s purchases to determine that the customer was likely pregnant, and tailored the ad mailers to her home according to that probability–which took the young lady’s parents by surprise, as she had not yet broken the news to them of her unplanned pregnancy. And all this without a loyalty card, just gleaned from her credit- or debit-card receipts. (So note to pregnant teenagers: Keep cash on hand.)

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “Anyone who works with the government on a regular basis will likely chuckle a little at this point.”

      :-D

      Next time a fed gets under your skin just say:
      “I heard you’re getting downbanded.”

      Are you old enough to remember Barney Fife?

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I was thinking exactly the same thing about govt competence, and I did chuckle right before I read the line about how those of us will chuckle when reading it. You nailed it!

      I have had this discussion at work a lot too with the extreme anti-govt guys I work with. They are convinced we are going to have a revolution any day now over this kind of thing. And not that I don’t see their bigger picture point and concerns, but after working in gov’t contracting at very high level security installations for a cpl decades, and seeing the gross level of idiocy on a daily basis there, I just really cannot believe they would even have a clue how to manage the massive amount of data they would gather if they really tracked everything on everyone. They are simply not that smart or motivated, and there are private sector companies that are both.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I stopped chuckling at the government a long time ago…

      “(Reuters) – The National Security Agency’s surveillance network has the capacity to reach around 75 percent of all U.S. Internet communications”

      …someone in the government graduated sneaky school and they’re mad about the wedgie they got in the locker room

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      “Belief in government conspiracy relies almost entirely on the implied belief in government competence. Anyone who works regularly with the government on a regular basis will likely chuckle a little at this point.”

      Anybody who’s worked for a company with more than 100 or so employees knows that institutional stupidity isn’t limited to governments. Doesn’t mean that the data isn’t going to be used for nefarious purposes by public or corporate entities.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      Yeah…worry less about an incompetent government? I’m MORE worried about an incompetent government. I worry about things like warrant for the residents with my address number on South Freedom Drive, when I live on North Freedon Drive.

      Put another way, an 800 lb gorilla can do collosal damage whether it is competent or not. With the Patriot act and apparently limitless taxpayer dollars to spend on technology and police personnel, we now got a 1,600 pound gorilla on steroids, able to do mega-damage notwithstanding their level of competency.

      Please tell me why the HSA, IRS and other agencies need to buy millions of rounds of hollow-point ammunition? As to your point of competence, a bullet don’t know if it’s aimed at the right person….it just does damage.

      “We’ll just have to get used to it.” Sounds an awful lot like “I love Big Brother.” You may be resigned to it, mate. I choose not to be.

      Are you going to go out on your feet, or on your knees?

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      “I’m going to agree 100% on the private access concerns, but worry less about the government. I’ll put myself at 80/20 instead of 60/40. Belief in government conspiracy relies almost entirely on the implied belief in government competence. Anyone who works regularly with the government on a regular basis will likely chuckle a little at this point”

      I’d beg to differ.

      Fear of government misuse is not conspiracy theory and often stems from a well founded belief in government INcompetence.

      And maliciousness:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_IRS_scandal

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Imagine a network of private license-plate readers. For example, every time you pass a CVS drug store, you are recorded. Everytime you pass a REDBOX you are recorded. Everytime you pass a McDonalds you are recorded. Every time you pass a Dunkin’ Donuts – okay, I’ve actually never PASSED a Dunkin’ Donuts. You get the idea. It’s like “Enemy of the State”, except the data will be controlled by a private corporation rather than the government. It’s pretty scary, and my aluminum foil hat doesn’t even give me any protection.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      So what are they gonna do? Advertise at you? Oh, the humanity!

      • 0 avatar
        usernamealreadyregistered

        Advertising really isn’t the issue, even if it’s annoying to start seeing weird online medical advertisements after you run a Google search to learn about your elderly relative’s most recent health problem. The problem with large-scale data aggregation by private parties is that there isn’t much to keep it out of the hands of state actors. And it seems like there are no real commercial consequences to private parties rolling over for government requests. In a world of PRISM, private vs. public data aggregation is a distinction without a material difference.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          OK, so “state actors” find out I patronize CVS, McDonalds, Red Box and Dunkin Donuts.

          OMG… You’re right! They’ll know it IS my fault I’m fat!

          • 0 avatar
            usernamealreadyregistered

            Sneer quotes aside, it seems I may have picked the wrong place in this discussion thread to make the broader argument that there is no longer any meaningful difference between government and non-government parties aggregating personal data.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        “So what are they gonna do? Advertise at you? Oh, the humanity!”

        Think again buddy.
        You come near Donut shops? That’s gonna cost you some health insurance premiums. Don’t like it? Too bad.

        Didn’t come to a complete stop. I’m sorry sir, but even though no one got hurt, you are a risk and we will have to increase your auto premiums, unless you buy a driver-less car.

        You think you have nothing to hide, you lovely angel you, but I have news for you. The economy is falling apart, and the cash strapped local governments are just itching to come down hard on a whole slew of victimless crimes (for the safety of the children of course). You may not be a criminal now, but something you do now will eventually be a crime. If it gets really bad, you will be guilty even when you are innocent.

        Pick up a history book.

  • avatar
    wumpus

    You might want to pass around any article that isn’t so much about cars before posting. I’m sure earlier editors thought that thier personal agenda in politics was absolutely critical, but it lead them each down a slippery slope that didn’t end well. It also causes “outrage fatigue”, causing you to look like the boy who cried wolf when you report the real deal.

    D-Wave??? Are you seriously afraid that the government will find a superior solution to your traveling salesman problem and check up on you 1% faster? It isn’t clear if D-Wave can break the secure email that you and about 12 other people who use it (sigh:(), and even less certain how the local cops are going to use it for data mining. I’m much more worried about run of the mill SQL databases simply piling up the data on me.

    I suppose the NSA and friends will be piling up the propaganda now about how they are stopping terrorists with every traveller gropped and recorded. But it seems foolish to stage “breaking news” from the regular fare of cars and fiction without having something that is actaully “news” to say.

    • 0 avatar

      TTAC has covered the issue of license plate readers and the civil liberties aspects as they relate to motorists, before, both as straight news items and as editorials.

      The story has to do with government surveillance of motorists. How that “isn’t so much about cars” is unclear to me. Perhaps you can explain.

      Perhaps JB should have posted this as an editorial, not a News Blog item, but as far as the content is concerned, it’s perfectly within TTAC’s wheelhouse.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I agree that it’s a good discussion topic. Judging by the amount of comments and the points discussed, many other commenters feel the same. Why there are constantly people who get cranky about anything of a polical nature being posted is beyond me. Politics is an area of life that affects nearly everyone in some way. If they really want to bury their head in the sand about it, they can choose to read something else. There is plenty of something else to read on this site.

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    There’s nothing legally different about this practice than there would be for a police officer (or a private citizen, for that matter) to stand on a street corner writing down license plate numbers. Technology has just made something absurd into something affordable, that’s all.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris FOM

      There is, actually. In US vs. Jones the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that a difference in scale can become a difference in kinds. The police placed a GPS on a car to track there whereabouts of a suspected drug dealer them used it to nail him. The government’s argument was that the GPS did nothing that a police officer following him couldn’t have accomplished as well, but the Court ruled that requiring a police officer to do the tailing created a manpower burden lacking in using GPS, which removed any upper bounds on how much tracking could occur.

      Does it apply to LPR, which do not require encroaching on the vehicle itself? No ruling to say, but precedent argues that it might.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        If I recall correctly, the majority opinion in Jones only held that the GPS tracking required a warrant because attaching the device to the suspect’s car constituted a trespass on his property. The difference in scale stuff was all in the minority concurrence.

        Come to think of it, I also remember having a, uh, “heated discussion” on this site before the Jones decision, where a number of people were complaining that the appellate court had ruled that attaching GPS devices to cars without a warrant was A-OK and I asked if what they really cared about was the physical device on their physical property, or about having their movements tracked, because plate-reading cameras are becoming ubiquitous at intersections and can accomplish the task much more “cleanly”.

        I’ve got the feeling that this one’s going to take another court case, and if you’re opposed to the tracking then I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you. Aside from having a convenient location to set up the cameras (and, of course, being the legal authority that requires the use of license plates in the first place) the state isn’t doing anything here that a private citizen couldn’t do.

        Thought experiment: a private company sublets out space in a number of private retail shopping places and sets up plate-readers, then collects and correlates the data to track cars. Maybe they link the license plates up to the customers’ names (as stated on their credit cars when spent in said retail establishments) while they’re at it. Did they necessarily do anything illegal? If the answer is no, how could it be illegal for this company to donate or sell that information to the government?

        Basically, you’re going to have to figure this one out through passing new legislation, as New Hampshire did.

        • 0 avatar

          There are already companies doing this – there’s a repo company in Baltimore that has a bunch of cars with scanners mounted on them. They use it for their repos as well as selling it. They were mentioned in a WSJ article a while back.

          http://fnrecovery.com/wordpress/repo/

  • avatar
    BerlinDave

    And there was a reply to one of my posts regarding the esteemed officers of the law earlier today. I quote:

    “++ Hating cops is so lame.

    Nothing says pallid basement internet slug like hating cops.”

    Things like this just make me love the pigs.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      If one never left the basement, they wouldn’t likely develop much distaste for the abuse of authority. It’s when you step outside and into society you get that.

      Contrary to the quote you posted, it is more likely it is the basement slugs and couch potatoes blindly accept all the actions of authority figures as valid. They’re less likely to have been on the receiving end of injustice at the hands of those figures.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Personally things started downhill in this democracy when the Supreme Court decided that a personal income tax was NOT an invasion of privacy.

    • 0 avatar
      cartunez

      Way before that but yes the government ability to tax (steal) for the “good” of society is a part of the problem. Democracy is complete nonsense. Allowing the majority to dictate the overcome of anything reminds me of when my mother used to ask me if I saw everyone jump off a cliff would I want to do it.

    • 0 avatar
      FractureCritical

      I would argue that things started going downhill in this country when a bunch of rich old white guys decided they didn’t want to pay their taxes any more and formed a ‘Tea Party’.
      That was over 200 years ago and.
      Amazing how things have changed since then, huh? ;)

  • avatar
    shelvis

    Why is it absolutely horrible for the gubmint to have your drunk text records, hemorrhoid cream purchase histories, porn preferences, evidence of streaming the entire run of 3’s Company episodes twice, and receipts for every trip to the VD clinic but it’s OK for Amazon, Target, American Express, etc to have the same info?

    Libertarian ideals about private property and the free market providing a panacea for everything are creating some interesting murky areas.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Many people aren’t OK with those companies having/keeping those records. Those that are OK with them having those records, but not OK with the Government cultivating them, accept that they voluntarily contracted to do business with those companies and accept the record keeping practices that go along with it. The difference between those companies and the Government is that the Government would be procuring that information without their consent.

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        So what happens when the Government buys this info legitimately on the free market?
        My purchasing habits provide much more potential wallet damage if accessed by my insurance providers as well lenders than if Obama got it.
        What is the difference between a private property owner’s surveillance camera and a police camera on public property? Who decides what to do with that data? What benefit does the government have in knowing you went to 7-11 at noon on Thursday? Private comapnies certainly could benefit from that info however.
        All of this anti government tin foil hat thinking requires that you buy into the notion that the politicians somehow control business interests when it’s fairly obvious that the opposite is actually the case.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          The main difference is what, if anything, is done with the information. The general discomfort we’re talking about with the Government cultivating of information is their greater ability to use force against someone should they suddenly choose to act on the information gathered.

          I’m not particularly worried about the 7-11 goons coming down on me for buying a coffee at the gas station that one day, however the unsolicited marketing might be annoying. The Government has the ability of sanctioned force to come after me in many different ways and more closely affect my life. While I’m no shining example of squeaky clean, any supposedly law abiding person could be charged with any number of felonies without much effort on a whim, depending who has a chip on their shoulder for you.

          Personally, I’m not comfortable with a Government that has that much power, and I’m not interested in feeding them any more information about me than necessary. I have little to nothing to gain from it, but much to lose.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        Exactly.

    • 0 avatar
      cartunez

      People tend to confuse the libertarian thought process as simply being anti government let private business do it. The thought is that in most things the government should not be doing it and if there is not a market for it then private business would not do it simply because of economic reasons. As I stated earlier – who do you feel more comfortable telling to piss off if they don’t provide you with service and or product you expected – the government or private business? Plus the good thing about discussions is that they are just discussions I don’t believe in all or nothing scenarios – I understand that there has to be give and take but I don’t ever wanna be forced to do anything.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        The main problem with this theoretical model is that markets are finite in size. Let’s say that I disapprove of the business practices of the big three credit reporting bureaus, so I refuse to do business with them. Well, I don’t do business with them anyway — their customer is the lender, not the borrower. So instead I can only work at one level of indirection, so I refuse to do business with lending banks that use any of them.

        That works, right? Market forces, vote with your dollar. I just go and get my mortgage through some bank that isn’t using Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion to collect data on their customers. Except, whoops, there aren’t any! Really, there aren’t!

        So, without any government force aside from the basic protections on personal property, I am forced to either (a) do business indirectly with the credit bureaus, or (b) rent an apartment instead of buying a house and never build equity or own real property. (Pedants will point out that I could buy a condemned building in Detroit with the proceeds from selling my used motorcycle, or live under a plastic tarp in that back section of the park that the police don’t check, or move back in with my parents, or whatever — I don’t think I need to refute all of these individually, do I?)

        When available actions are finite (and, outside of theoretical models, they always are), then preventing you from doing something is often the same as forcing you to do something else.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I am not fully apprised of the rules lenders have to abide by, but it would seem that as awareness of how credit rating services and lending works, customers may demand banks that use a different system or don’t do business with an undesirable company in the customer’s eyes.

          That being said, I don’t know what the regulatory barriers are in place, or whether that would be possible. Ideally, in a free market, it would be. Imagine something a bit more upstanding than say your average loan shark. I’m not sure they use Equifax, but their rates can certainly be more usurous thank banks. Perhaps the cost of doing business?

          At this point, I don’t think enough consumers are fully aware of how the lending process works, who has gathered what information on them and from where etc. But as the last few years have shaken up the credit industry, there is a greater demand for alternative banking and lending, so who knows what the future holds.

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          Except you don’t have a Right to Borrow Money at a Reasonable Rate. That perk is open to those who correctly play the bank industry’s risk game. You can borrow from friends, relatives, etc. But if you want a 4% loan of $200k for 30 years, you better show a pretty good track record to prove you’re worth that risk. Right now there are no alternative risk-assessment methods outside the credit agencies. Now that the market has demonstrated the need, some will come up. It is painful to be on the bleeding edge of market innovation, but if you’re not willing to play the game you’re going to have a rough time.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    There may be a market solution for this – using somewhat shady legal tactics. There are firms now that will create a false or alternate digital trails of your online activities.
    In the future, for those with the means, services will be available to throw misinformation images at the digital camera skynet.

  • avatar
    skor

    As things stand now, there’s really not much we can do about it. The courts have consistently ruled that there is no expectation of privacy when you are in public. It’s never been illegal to photograph people or objects in public places. The only difference now is that technology has made it so cheap, almost anyone can do the same as these Florida cops.

  • avatar
    timlange

    Do these license plate readers store any other info than the plate number or image of the plate? Other than checking a hot list of plate numbers what information do they then lookup and store?

    If all they have is the plate number, location, time/date, well just about anyone can do that. I would think looking up the plate (by searching another state’s DB) would be very time consuming and not worthwhile.

    Maybe Wal-mart is doing it too with all their cameras on their stores. How about usage of ‘value’ cards to get discounts? They sure track those, CVS even wants you to sign your HIPPA rights away to get their card.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      >>>I would think looking up the plate (by searching another state’s DB) would be very time consuming and not worthwhile.

      Oh yeah, would take billions of clock cycles. Thousands of milliseconds, at least, knowing how decrepit local government IT infrastructure is. The really difficult part would be maintaining the interface to fifty different database schemas because you know states would never agree a single one to use.

      Anyway, I doubt the “plate reader” itself stores anything — they’re network endpoints, they’ll report the plate number and timestamp to a central computer, which can then correlate the different cars, locations, and timestamps onto a nice map overlay. It’s an interesting engineering problem and I wouldn’t mind working on it myself, but it’s nothing groundbreaking at this point.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      These license plate scanners do have instant access to out of state databases. Several years ago I was stopped by a deputy in Florida after his scanner indicated my plate was not on file. I had just gotten a new plate the week before and it had yet to appear in the database. I showed him my registration receipt and all was well.

      When this happened the deputy and I were both northbound on I-75 at around 70-75 mph. His dash mounted scanner read my plate from the adjacent lane as his car overtook mine. It took no more than a few seconds for the computer in his car to run my plate and get a response from Alabama where my car was registered.

  • avatar
    raph

    That’s interesting about a work place using licence plate info to track employees. At my work place currently, if you call out, my employer even if they have knowledge of your whereabouts a and what your doing cannot hold it against you if you have comp time on the books.

    We’ve had plenty of people call out then post on Facebook about what a great time they’ve had.

    In a HR meeting the rep asked all of us what do you do about an employee that has the weekend off with enough comp time and vacation to extend it to a three day weekend and routinely called out. Nobody answered and the rep said ”that’s right, you don’t do anything, unless they have exhausted all of their time”

    So I guess at least in this instance purchasing such info would be by and large fruitless, well at least as us/peons are concerned. Higher up the food chain might present a different issue?

  • avatar
    mars3941

    As long as your not breaking any laws and abide by them you have nothing to fear. With our out of control society the government has to step in or God knows what would happen. I have never been bothered because I respect the laws ans abide by them. They can read my plate all they want as I have nothing to hide or worry about. I just go about my daily life and don’t concern myself with things I can’t control, but how I conduct myself I do control.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It’s easy to take this position until you get reprimanded for something you and the Government may not necessarily see eye to eye on.

      The book “Three Felonies a Day” comes to mind.

    • 0 avatar
      cartunez

      Must be nice to know you are in perfect compliance with all laws and codes of the Federal, State, local, and various other “enforcement” agencies.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know about you, but I’m a citizen of a country founded by people who knew they were criminals in the eyes of the state, so they made sure to protect people who might be seen as criminals in the eyes of the state.

      Bottom line is that yes, I might indeed have something to hide and it’s still none of your or the government’s business. You may want to live in a nannified busybody state, I don’t.

      There are two categories of crimes, those that violate some sense of morality, like rape, murder, theft, etc. and those that just violate the law. That second group of “crimes” has been exploded along with the expanding regulatory state. The regulatory state and its cheerleaders have grossly expanded the notion of what is a crime so that it’s almost impossible for average people or businesses to not be seen as criminals in the eyes of the state.

      What is not expressly forbidden for the government to do, they will do, and what is not expressly permitted for non-government types to do, the government types will prohibit.

      Danio suggested that you read Harvey Silverglate’s Three Felonies A Day. Augment that with Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop, and you can see why “honest law abiding citizens” indeed have something to fear.

      • 0 avatar
        Mark MacInnis

        Ronnie S. +1M

        What he said….

      • 0 avatar
        Rick T.

        Highly recommend Radley’s book. Regarding the news lately, don’t try to rescue a baby deer in Wisconsin or grow okra on a farm in Texas with neighbors nearby.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        “That second group of “crimes” has been exploded along with the expanding regulatory state. The regulatory state and its cheerleaders have grossly expanded the notion of what is a crime so that it’s almost impossible for average people or businesses to not be seen as criminals in the eyes of the state.”

        Absolutely. This is where the “I have nothing to hide” crowd gets to taste truncheon.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Kindled Rise of the Warrior Cop this afternoon and can’t put it down.

        Lucid, impartial and fascinating. I’ll still be on the “wrong” side of this issue after finishing it, but hugely better informed.

        Thanks for the reference.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      This is your big mistake right here…

      “As long as your not breaking any laws and abide by them you have nothing to fear”

      You’re assuming laws can’t be changed in an instant or just completely ignored, one day you’re a pious, self-righteous law abiding citizen and the next day you’re an enemy of the state

      • 0 avatar
        Mark MacInnis

        And pretty much all it takes for you to become an enemy of the state is for anyone in the government to say so. Anyone at all….with an axe to grind.

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      You don’t get it do you?

      The ones breaking the law big time get a slap on the wrist.

      People like you on the other hand don’t (and won’t) fight back, so in an increasingly cash strapped world, you can expect to see more and more minor offenses (many of which you never knew about) get prosecuted with extreme prejudice.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Psst.. mars

      Duck in here, man. There’s a bathroom and some vendos.

      Later on after they’ve hosed off all the droppings out there we can just scoot on home.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    I’ll conduct myself the way I choose. It’s worked out fine for many years and I don’t need any lessons. You do what you want and I’ll do what I want.End of story.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    If you have ever been to Longboat key,you would understand.
    Being under 40 is cause for suspicion.

  • avatar
    Francois

    All you guys complaining about the Government are comical. Especially the one where people were whining about the police the other day. You sound like spoiled teenaged children. All this talk about the Government and the police running roughshod over your rights, being unaccountable to the people, etc is total nonsense.

    Here is the bottom line: the .gov and their agents are completely accountable to you through the ballot box. Don’t like something? Vote them out of office. You can’t? Well, then, you’ll just have to accept that you are out of touch with the people in your country. Don’t like being searched by the police? File a lawsuit. If you win, good job. If you lose, have some dignity and acknowledge that you were wrong instead of crying like a child on the internet. Don’t like some PD in Florida storing info on your movement? Don’t go to Florida. If you must go, accept that the people of that local want those photos stored. When they decide they don’t, they will force the local politicians to change the policy.

    “But, but, but…tyranny and stuff!” Okay, convince the voters to vote your way or shut the f..k up.

    You can either convince everyone else you are right and vote some people out to force change, or leave and go somewhere else. Don’t like those options? Tough Sh*t – Full Stop.

    Politicians respond to the people that vote them in to office. If they aren’t doing things the way you like, it just means you are out of step.

    I guess you better learn to live with it.

    Now cue the comments referring to me as a “sheeple” or accusing me of having a low IQ, etc.

    Seriously, this website is turning into DemocraticUnderground/Reddit or whatever sovereign citizen website is popular today.

    • 0 avatar
      usernamealreadyregistered

      “Here is the bottom line: the .gov and their agents are completely accountable to you through the ballot box.”

      I’m not sure that “completely” means what you think it means.

      “Don’t like something? Vote them out of office. You can’t? Well, then, you’ll just have to accept that you are out of touch with the people in your country.”

      The erosion of legal protections intended to protect the rights of individuals who are out of sync with prevailing mores is in fact the problem.

      “Don’t like being searched by the police? File a lawsuit.”

      After the fact compensation never really fixes the initial wrongdoing.

      “Okay, convince the voters to vote your way….”

      Working on it.

      “Politicians respond to the people that vote them in to office.”

      Politicians respond to a lot of things.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I don’t remember ever having the opportunity to vote on the NSA. Apparently neither did congress. The NSA is accountable to no one which translates into activities that are above the law and in direct violation of the constitution

    • 0 avatar

      Have you ever tried to change a policy of your local city government or police department?

      I have. Just to get a neighboring police department to obey state law regarding when LEOs can break traffic and parking laws (they were parking in the middle of the road, in the left turn lane, in order to perform routine traffic surveillance, which is not exempted under state law), I had to send out emails to both city managers, which got ignored, both police chiefs, which got ignored, a talk with the police officer in charge of parking enforcement in my own city (when I asked him for a citation of the law that allowed it, he told me “there are thousands of laws, I can’t just cite one like that”, which is funny coming from a guy who probably knows chapter, verse, paragraph and subsection when he’s ringing you up for a violation), a phone call to the mayor, a phone call to the county sheriff’s department (whose “plain sense reading” of the law was completely nonsensical), and then finally taking time out of my schedule to attend a city council meeting.

      Interestingly, after all the cops and city managers and mayors made up excuses for how it was really legal, me simply reading the law to the city council with the city manager present, in public, on public access video, convinced a majority of the council and the city manager that cops indeed have to obey parking laws and can only break traffic and parking laws when going to, but not from, an emergency (I love the “but not from” part because it shows that the legislators expect cops to cheat) or when engaged in the pursuit or apprehension of an actual criminal or someone already suspected of being a criminal.

      The law is below. Now should I really have had to have made all that effort to get them to agree to the genuine plain sense meaning of the law? It was almost amusing to watch how they would tie themselves in knots to avoid acknowledging what the law actually said.

      MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE (EXCERPT)
      Act 300 of 1949

      257.603 Applicability of chapter to government vehicles; exemption of authorized emergency vehicles; conditions; exemption of police vehicles not sounding audible signal; exemption of persons, vehicles, and equipment working on surface of highway.
      Sec. 603.

      (1) The provisions of this chapter applicable to the drivers of vehicles upon the highway apply to the drivers of all vehicles owned or operated by the United States, this state, or a county, city, township, village, district, or any other political subdivision of the state, subject to the specific exceptions set forth in this chapter with reference to authorized emergency vehicles.

      (2) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle when responding to an emergency call, but not while returning from an emergency call, or when pursuing or apprehending a person who has violated or is violating the law or is charged with or suspected of violating the law may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, subject to the conditions of this section.

      (3) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may do any of the following:

      (a) Park or stand, irrespective of this act.

      (b) Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation.

      (c) Exceed the prima facie speed limits so long as he or she does not endanger life or property.

      (d) Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in a specified direction.

      (4) The exemptions granted in this section to an authorized emergency vehicle apply only when the driver of the vehicle while in motion sounds an audible signal by bell, siren, air horn, or exhaust whistle as may be reasonably necessary, except as provided in subsection (5), and when the vehicle is equipped with at least 1 lighted lamp displaying a flashing, oscillating, or rotating red or blue light visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of 500 feet in a 360 degree arc unless it is not advisable to equip a police vehicle operating as an authorized emergency vehicle with a flashing, oscillating or rotating light visible in a 360 degree arc. In those cases, a police vehicle shall display a flashing, oscillating, or rotating red or blue light visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of 500 feet to the front of the vehicle. Only police vehicles that are publicly owned shall be equipped with a flashing, oscillating, or rotating blue light that when activated is visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of 500 feet in a 360 degree arc.

      (5) A police vehicle shall retain the exemptions granted in this section to an authorized emergency vehicle without sounding an audible signal if the police vehicle is engaged in an emergency run in which silence is required.

      (6) The exemptions provided for by this section apply to persons, teams, motor vehicles, and other equipment while actually engaged in work upon the surface of a highway but do not apply to those persons and vehicles when traveling to or from work. The provisions of this chapter governing the size and width of vehicles do not apply to vehicles owned by public highway authorities when the vehicles are proceeding to or from work on public highways.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Lets throw some gasoline on those flames, “OnStar”. It can track you and even monitor your in vehicle conversations.
    But hey, one can chose to sell everything and live out in the middle of no-where. But then, what about those spy satellites that can count the hairs on your ass?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    (yawn… shuffle)

    Jeezuz, you guys still at it?

    Any pizza left?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have some concerns about government collecting this data, even though I lead a very boring life and drive the speed limit and obey the traffic laws. I realize that my Kroger’s Plus Card and Staples Rewards Card gives a lot of personal information to businesses and that we are constantly being monitored but I do feel that this information should not be kept for ten years or indefinitely. In the wrong hands this information can be dangerous. There needs to at the very least be a time limit as to how long this information can be retained. Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the Minority Report.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    Thank you forposting this Jack.

    I can not wait for the day America wakes up and stops seeing the USA as Republicans V Democrats, it is Government V us and we are losing our liberty and freedoms day by day to a government auctioned off to the highest bidder that cares only about power.

    Homeland Security is not about protecting us from terrorists, it is about the government protecting themselves from us-you can blame Bush and Obama.


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