Coming to a Mall Near You: Federally-Funded Spy Cams

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
coming to a mall near you federally funded spy cams

The profusion of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras amongst police forces has given privacy campaigners a tough "sell." How can you explain the possible abuse of a system that simply does a MUCH better job of what cops are supposed to be doing anyway (i.e. checking license plates for stolen vehicles and any outstanding warrants on the driver)? News10 reports that the privacy people may have an easier time fighting ANPR, now that Sacramento's Arden Fair Mall is using the system to scan vehicles entering and exiting its premises. Mall Security Supremo Steve Reed says chill, it's no biggie [paraphrase]. "The information from the cameras would only be shared with Sacramento Police and in those cases, only plate information would be passed on to law enforcement. Other personal information about shoppers, their vehicles or their purchases is not included." Whew! And guess who's footing the bill for these ANPR cameras with their self-enforced privacy limits? You are! "The cameras were paid for by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant to help keep a close watch on all the comings and goings at the busy shopping hub." How many other malls have federally-funded ANPR cameras? Can the feds get the info too? TTAC's investigating.

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4 of 9 comments
  • Sherman Lin Sherman Lin on Dec 17, 2007

    Its not quite a police state unless the government is requireing the cameras to be placed on private property.

  • Martin Albright Martin Albright on Dec 17, 2007

    Am I the only one who thinks it's odd that people believe that their license plate number which is displayed prominently on the front and back of their vehicle (back only in some states) is somehow "private" information?

  • Blunozer Blunozer on Dec 17, 2007

    @Sherman Lin emphasis on "not quite" a police state.

  • Shiney Shiney on Dec 18, 2007

    just like Guantánamo Bay is "not quite" a Gulag.