Monday July 30, 2012

Automatic License Plate Readers: A Threat To Privacy

While the technology itself is actually kinda cool, it is what officials are doing with the data that has privacy advocates up in arms.

ALPRs are cameras mounted on stationary objects (telephone poles, the underside of bridges, etc.) or on patrol cars. The cameras snap a photograph of every license plate that passes them by آ– capturing information on up to thousands of cars per minute. The devices convert each license plate number into machine-readable text and check them against agency-selected databases or manually-entered license plate numbers, providing an alert to a patrol officer whenever a match or "hit" appears.