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Original post made
on Jul 24, 2013
Before the fringe goes into a full frenzy here, lets all take a deep breath and realize that the only license plates that will get checked are those that can be seen IN PUBLIC places while the car is driving around. Any officer or citizen can see your vehicle and it's license plate driivng around, parked in a parking,lot, or parked in your driveway right now.
Let the complaining start.
Another arrow in the Ministry of Truth's quiver.
I'm watching you
I support the use of these cameras, but am not so excited about the retention of the data. I was hoping that the police would use the "real time" option of this equipment to identify vehicles that might be stolen, or if possible, were owned by people with outstanding warrants.
The premise was that the camera/software would extract the license plate number, look it up in a "hot list" (or some such) and if the license number were not in any such list, discard the information.
From various reports, it would seem that there are actual recordings being made. According to today's Post, the information is "recorded in a database". Why? Why can't the police do the right thing, which is use the information to find "bad guy"--not track "good guys"?
The Post article claims that the videos recorded by the patrol car are forwarded to the County for "storage". The officer being quoted (Lt. Zach Perron) didn't seem to know for how long these videos would be stored. In this Weekly article, "Perron said there are safeguards in place, including penal codes that govern whether an officer is accessing law-enforcement information without a need to know."
This seems like a very evasive statement. What constitutes "need to know"? How are the recordings stored? On tape, or on-line? What authorization mechanisms are in place? And what paper trail is in place for those accessing the recordings?
The need to record/store video footage, rather than just look up the numbers in real-time, and alert the officer driving the car to a possible violator's being close by, seems very wrong to me.
The police also need to document the effectiveness of these tools, by publishing the number of stops that they make--based on information coming from these cameras.
How long before we find out about a cop misusing the database and stalking (err, 'investigating') a woman who made the mistake of smiling at him the other night?
Or starts tracking the guy who happens to take his ex out to dinner?
Has happened. Will continue to happen. Intrusive big government databases will always be abused.
Who guards the guardians? Do you trust the city of Palo Alto to protect data about your movements?
from another poster in a different thread - "The government should not have a database containing the movements of private citizens who do not have outstanding warrants. To do so is unconstitutional, outrageous, and wrong."
To quote an even wiser man - "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"
Want someone to help protecet the privacy of you, your spouse and your children?
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ACLU on license plate readers Web Link
"In some places, less than 1% of data collected by license plate readers has any connection to wrongdoing. The amount of data linked to serious crimes is even less than thatso miniscule that in comparison to the data collected on innocent people, it seems almost invisible."
To understand how this affects YOU please realize that the automation of reading your license plate allows your personal habits to be stored indefinitely for later retrieval. Any place your car is parked, and subsequently scanned by a plate reader, that location is now in a database that gets shared with all sorts of different agencies. Authorities will be able to figure out exactly what your preferences are in terms of how, when, and where you shop, eat, drink, etc. This isn't a question of if the data will be abused, it is a question of when the data gets abused.
sorry about the double post, don't know how that happened - ed, please delete the duplicate
"Any place your car is parked" or your teenage son parks your car, or your wife's car, etc. Digital is FOREVER. The same lesson you tell your kids about texting.
I am one to think that I don't care if government or law enforcement knows my whereabouts. Let them listen to my phone calls and track my car, whatever. I'm not doing anything wrong. I have nothing to hide.
BUT, this seems to cross a bit of a line to me. It's the storage process. The paper reported yesterday on a man in the east bay who requested the records and found pictures of him and his daughter getting out of their car in their driveway years before. This is way too invasive. The records should be either destroyed after say 30 days, or sealed only to be examined by court order (the data could really help in missing person cases).
So I could, in theory, request the records on my spouses car if I think she is cheating on me. I could request the records on that neighbor I suspect is illegal so I can find out where all his illegal family lives. I could find out where the ex-friend is working now. I can indeed think of a ton of wrongful reasons to use and access this information.
People who think cops are going to access this information to harm innocents are nuts and no one listens to them anyway. It's the private citizens who can do damage with this stuff.
> People who think cops are going to access this
> information to harm innocents are nuts
Here are two examples of police accessing official databases illegally. Guess the DA is listening, at least in these cases.
This is a horrible invasion of our privacy.
In United States v. Jones, Justice Scalia wrote: "We hold that the government's installation of a GPS device on a target's vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constitutes a 'search.'"
Sure, we just have two police vehicles tracking everything they see, now. What if it becomes all of them, and all the other public vehicles? The trend is toward collecting ever-increasing data about where everyone of us is, at all times.
This isn't about whether they might more easily catch you doing something illegal. It's one more step towards the goal of knowing everything about you.
That is in total contraction to our constitutional right to privacy. "In 1972, at the Legislature's urging, the people of California used
the initiative process to add 'privacy' to the list of 'inalienable
rights' guaranteed by Article 1, Section 1 of the California Constitution."
California's Constitutional Right to Privacy
"It is not different from officers typing in the license plate to an in-car computer" [Lt. Perron]... The reader photographs every license plate in the path of a patrol car, adds a time and location stamp and adds the information to a database...
This is one officer who needs to be re-educated for the digital age! (I suspect most officers too)
There is a lot to consider about these kinds of "law-enforcement" methods. But to have a genuine discussion we need information.
dataMiningCaptain says that this will enable authorities to figure out "exactly" where and what we are doing. I think at least in this case this is incorrect. While it's possible that a police car could patrol around and triangulating smart video cameras in conjunction with GPS could locate a car, by assuming the licence plate is associated with the car it is more likely that the location of the squad car is what is being recorded, not the exact location of the car.
It also does not know who is driving the car. If the car is parked in a parking lot, there is no telling where the owner is, or what the owner is doing, and most likely at least now, the car's exact location is not going to be known or recorded.
This will be able to find people who have their cars registered as off the street, or without registration at all, or belonging to someone of interest, or it may record the location of a car of interest that can be searched in the future.
Hypothetically, if there was a crime committed, police could drive around and collect the cars in the local area and compare that with cars in locations near similar past crimes. For example someone who drives into Palo Alto to commit a crime might be recorded by this or other cameras. The right software could be able to pull up plates of interest for investigation.
This could be a very useful tool in an age of anonymity because due to such a large populations and crowds and the depersonalization of our society.
I'm not sure what to make of all these surveilling tools yet, but one thing is for certain, it would be good to know how they work, what they do, what they are meant for, and how informed people believe they might be abused.
One example would be put someone in this car and maybe all they do is drive a block before they find a lapsed registration. Maybe they are spending all their time writing up tickets for registration and therefore not doing their regular jobs. I don't see many cars patrolling Palo Alto these days, and it seems to have encouraged bad driving habits in a lot of people. Police just are not around to pull people over like they used to. Is this going to help or hurt with that?
It seems like every time I drive north on Alma over Embarcadero where the road narrows there are always people who way back near Churchill jump into the right lane, or weaving through traffic to pull in front of someone who is driving safely. Why don't these people ever get tickets, there are many of them every day. I would like to see more time for Police to patrol, not less.
>> So I could, in theory, request the records on my spouses car if I think she is cheating on me.
Either you own a car or you don't. You cannot pull up records on someone else's car that I know of. Sounds like you want the state to be complicit in helping you cheat on your spouse? ;-)
Dudes and dudettes: why must you go so far from home for your examples of government privacy abuse? It's right here in the area. "In a 2-1 vote, the panel said that the Atherton Police Department was right in firing Mr. Ponce in 1998 for numerous violations of department policy including alleged misuse of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS). Mr. Ponce was also accused of violating a restraining order and destroying personal property in a case involving his ex-girlfriend."
BEWARE * BEWARE * BEWARE * BEWARE * BEWARE * BEWARE * BEWARE *
Beware any ridiculous postings that includes inane garbage like this: "I don't care if government or law enforcement knows my whereabouts. Let them listen to my phone calls"
WHAT?!!?! Let cops listen to your phone calls without Warrant?!?!?!? Without the constitutionally protected privacy, and audit trail, that Warrants provide?!?!?! Are you completely out of your mind?!?!?
These fools want to give away YOUR CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHTS, simply because they are ignorant of everything Americans have fought for since the 1700's. Suggest you completely disregard posts with such blather. Garbage in, garbage out.
@ Before all the Spin Starts:
I don't think that the problem is with how the police will use this new "power." It is the POTENTIAL in regard to how such a power could be abused.
Do we really want to live in a "surveillance society?"
The difference between officers manually inputting license plate numbers and this new system is the fact that manual license plate entry is usually done when the officer has "cause" to do so. This new system automatically records EVERY license plate that it detects -- regardless of whether or not there is a "cause" to do so.
Instead of treating citizens as decent, law-abiding countrymen, this system views all citizens as "potential criminals."
What happens to all of those license plate numbers? This is tantamount to police officers knowing WHO owns the vehicle, WHERE your vehicle has been, WHEN it was there and then storing that information.
Law is not perfect, this will be abused.
Shame on them. Work on creating a community of good people and have less crime.
This new development stinks. I am appalled (but not surprised) that the PA City COuncil approved spending $40k to buy such device (even if they never were purchased with that money).
Apart from the concerns about privacy raised by earlier posters, with which I am in complete sympathy, I am concerned with the use of tax payer money for these devices. These devices privilege sucking up all the info they can vacuum, and do not include any protection for the privacy interests of law-abiding citizens. This is a class example of government being seduced by the latest "sexy new technology" that costs big bucks and that will yield dubious benefits beyond what would be realizable by manual entry. And even if this info sponge will enable more stolen vehicles to be recovered, sometimes it's best to decline to accept an innovation that bestows benefits if accepting it carries unacceptable costs, here in terms of risks of privacy interests being violated. My reaction to Santa Clara County's "gift" of these devices to local communities: "Thanks, but no thanks!"
Are there any restrictions on this data? For instance, the DMV sells your info for a profit. didn't know that?
What's next? Will PAPD sell this info, so that you receive advertisements based on where your vehicle license plate image was recorded?
Don't think it isn't possible.
So The Weekly will follow up asap to tell us what safeguards are in place, right?
Every patrol car needs one of these, and we should put stand alone units at the major entry points of the city. If you don't like it, you can always ride a bike.
Are you kidding!?!
If there were safeguards or if they were in place --- As residents you should have been informed of the safeguards BEFORE they began to use the license readers. Or maybe not.
BTW... Our city is planning on implementing use of these as well---- Yippee!!! and we all believed they have enough to do.. "Protecting and Serving" the public that is, does that really exist anymore?
Oh yes,,, wait until the day arrives when bicycles are required to be registered and yes,,, you guessed it, have license plates!
Gee...if your idenity gets stolen wonder how "lifeLock" will protect the innocent... hmmm... gets you thinking.
Good times in America
This can only be a good thing to catch criminals. Anyone who lives a moral, ethical, Jesus-like life doesn't have to worry. Anytime we enter public domain, we are being watched by cameras and the general public with their eyes and smartphones. Live as a mole if you want no exposure. Or moved to a distant rural area in the Midwest. You will soon suffer from lack of mental stimulation.
Whaaat? I heard that the Palo Alto parking enforcement people had a version of that license plate reader years ago....yanno, to check for valid reg and other issues. Whatever. I don't care. They are already quite effective at catching me when my reg expires anyway. I realize the bigger picture about losing our privacy and "Big Brother," but they already have those capabilities anyway, and we have very little recourse. Better we know about it than for it to be done in secret.
I care more about the fact that any $10 an hour private investigator can go on to Lexis Nexis and get the cell phone number of your current spouse so that they can reach YOU to discuss a person you were married to and divorced from in the early SEVENTIES!!!!
Of course! That's the answer to this... Run and hide and live as
"A mole in a distant rural area in the Midwest"
That is exactly why we live in the United States of America.
I strongly oppose this.
How often do we hear of systems like this getting hacked?!
We likely only know a fraction of the invasions of banking systems and other corporate systems. Such entities are usually embarrassed and try as much as possible to minimize or keep hidden these security breaches.
We have heard about patient data getting out from Stanford.
We do know government is pretty hapless. There could be any number of motivations by bad guys to invade our privacy, and some have been stated above.
[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Ten years ago it sounded like all motor vehicles would be actively tracked by now just to collect taxes.
> Do we really want to live in a "surveillance society?"
I am not sure this is the question.
We already have police driving though our streets watching our cars and driving. This merely automates their jobs and makes them faster at it.
The question with keeping archives, and with NSA monitoring of phone calls, how important are these tools. what limits are in place on them and what safeguards can be in place.
It's not hard for me to see that capturing and tracking phone calls could make a huge difference in fighting organized crime. How else can the police get at these people? Or even the kind of banking fraud we have seen the last years. Or other types of crime. Having those records and maybe those calls online could make a huge difference in solving crime.
The question is, how can the system be abused. If all my phone calls are archived somewhere I am much less likely to care if they are never accessed or only accessed with respect to some criminal investigation. We might be hugely happy that our phone information might acquit us of a crime, or convict a guilty party.
I do not want some third party being able to use my phone calls against me. I don't want sensitive business information of mine getting into the hands of someone who might compete with me or steal my idea. I'd feel a lot better about this if I could be assured that is not going to happen.
If I cannot be assured that there will not be misuse, then I am against it.
Does the name Edward Snowden ring a bell?
There are very good reasons why all of this spying is bothering aware people on both the left and the right. It's the sheeple in the middle, who always tamely "go along to get along", who never want to make waves...those who think "it couldn't happen here", those who say "I'm not doing anything wrong so I don't care" or "I feel safer if they are spying on everyone all the time", who are the enablers and the threat. They would always trade freedom for security because they are cowardly by nature.
"You can fool some people sometimes,
But you can't fool all the people all the time.
So now we see the light (what you gonna do?),
We gonna stand up for our rights!" --Bob Marley
I'm assuming the Mtn. View police car(s) with rooftop scanning cameras that I've seen for at least two years now have been recording. This in no way excuses Palo Alto making the same mistake, but it would have been great if the uproar would have started earlier before its spread.
blessing: if you knew, why didn't you post two years ago?
How do we get away from these hideously unregulated things? I'm not for making the cop's job easier when I'm not doing doing anything wrong. Given their egregious mistakes, egos, violence & abuse of power, they can't be trusted. Besides, why would Palo Alto even need these things? Please. W/the horse outta the barn already & Menlo getting ready to be just as stupid, we're seriously looking at curtailing our spending in local towns who use these technologies, in protest.
I'd say People watch your back... BUT apparently someone else is doing that and more.
Oh no I'm not worried at all...
Did someone say Proctology?
Pretty soon the cops will be interested in whether you did #1 or #2 when you used a public bathroom.
It appears that Americans spend more time in their cars than in their living rooms and have gotten the two confused. They expect the same privacy in their car that they have in their home, even though the law does not support that.
I am delighted to hear that PAPD has started to read license plates. Any measure that reduces the crime rate in this area is welcome. Just in an area of a few hundred yards from our house, there has been bank rubbery, hold up, theft, purse snatching, armed rubbery, bicycle theft, and so on. For anyone who is concerned about the privacy, you should realize that Google knows much more about you than any government agency. So, calm down and let the rest of us who feel the need for security to start enjoying our neighborhood.
I propose a different approach. Private citizens could purchase these cameras to protect their own neighborhoods, and turn over the data only when there is a local crime.
The Daily Post carried another story this morning (Thursday) where the police spokesperson, Lt. Perron, admits that the PA.PD does not currently have a policy about the storage of data, but seems to suggest that a written policy would exist by the close of August. It seems that the Police Chiefs Association (Santa Clara County) are going to convene to discuss the matter, soon.
Given that these cameras have been around for several years nowit's kind of amazing that our highly paid police Management Team did not think to consult with other police departments about their use of this equipment before using it.
The Post article concluded its article by pointing out that former State Senator Joe Simitian had introduced legislation last year to restrict the storage of this sort of data to sixty days. It seems that, under heavy lobbying from the manufactures and law enforcement, the bill fail to pass muster. There should be some interesting reading in the Senate's files, where this specific technology's use is concerned.
Information on Simitian/SB1330:
The following groups voiced opposition to the restraints proposed by Simitian:
OPPOSITION : (Verified 5/29/12)
Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs
California District Attorneys Association
California Narcotic Officers' Association
California Police Chiefs Association
California Public Parking Association
California State Sheriffs' Association
Chief Probation Officers of California
Cities of Bellflower, Beverly Hills, Lakewood, and Palmdale
League of California Cities (initial opposition)
Los Angeles Police Protective League
Riverside Sheriffs' Association
Perhaps it would be worth contacting Simitian's office to see if he can provide any documentation about the opposition to his bill. It's rather clear that the police seem to have little interest in protecting our 4th Amendment rights, such as they are, when travelling our highways, and byways.
The assumption is that the law is always on the side of the law, so let them have this stuff.
You think your society can't turn into Nazi Germany?
If you do, I can't agree with you.
Don't want your whereabouts tracked.
Are you paying cash or using a credit card?
Using land lines or cell phones?
Using the Internet? Guess you are if you see this.
You can already be tracked.
Personally if this helps track stolen cars, I'm for it.
Don't fool yourself,
And if it helps find people of certain ethnicities?
Oh almost forgot, sharing pictures on the net of yourself taken with a cell phone. GPS data and timestamp are typically embedded in the pic.
All this is happening already, as many have already said above.
What surprises me most is that there are those who think that they have complete privacy in their lives. Those days are long gone.
The fact that there are no longer phone booths, airlines won't accept cash on flights, that phone numbers and social security numbers are linked to your grocery purchases, bank accounts, tax records, school records, library usage, etc. show that everything you do is in a data base somewhere.
Huh? Where did that come from?
Don't fool yourself,
When you apply for car registration, ethnicity is not a question asked, so its not in the plate database. The picture the system takes is not of the occupants, but of the license plate. They don't know the car owner's movements, they know the car's movements within a police jurisdiction.
Also avoid all the toll bridges and dont have Fastrak in your car.
I'd be more afraid of your credit card and cell phone if you are truly concerned with being tracked.
not talking about cars
talking about good guys bad guys
and is govt always the good guy
and this is the thing you are going to worry about? This is trivial.
Stanford's network was breached yesterday.
If a person or group can breach Stanford University -- which undoubtedly takes great care of the privacy of faculty, staff and students -- how much "care" is taken by a local police department which constantly says that they are "underfunded?"
Like I said, I am less concerned with police claiming HOW this will be used than I am with the potential of how it COULD be used.
I am disappointed when people do not realize that this treats ALL citizens as though they are potential criminals.
It seems that our law enforcement officials should review GRISWOLD V. CONNECTICUT (1964).
Justice William Douglas wrote the majority opinion in which he stated that the Bill of Rights provide for a "zone of privacy" for Americans given the various "penumbras" and "emanations" from individual amendments. If a person has a "right of privacy" in conversing with a doctor, then doesn't a citizen have a "right of privacy" on the phone, parking a car or driving down the street?
In the same case (Griswold v. Connecticut), Justice John Harlan argued that the 14th Amendment forbids the state from engaging in any conduct -- without justifiable cause -- that is inconsistent with the concept of "ordered liberty." In GRISWOLD, the case dealt with searching the bedroom for contraceptives. How is privacy of one's car or phone any different than receiving counseling for contraceptives?
Again, there is little "wrong" with police using a computer to find a stolen vehicle or vehicle associated with an "Amber Alert" kidnapping. However, what if it is used to spy on citizens who aren't suspected of imminent dangers or kidnappings? What if the info was used to "track" citizens?
What if, in the future, cameras were used to locate and track EVERY car? It would be "efficient" for the police in tracking down criminals. However, it can also be used by the state to effectively "profile" every person...automatically.
A few years ago, I listened to a lecturer speak about the need to establish "crime databases" for every criminal. "Eventually," he argued, "society can 'tag' convicts or suspects with chips and cameras/GPS tracking will know where they are at all times." This speaker stated that this would be protested, so it would need to be introduced and integrated slowly into society.
I dismissed this as the rant of a "conspiracy theorist." Now, it makes me wonder.
I just think that there is something wrong when our fellow citizens (law enforcement employees) who work FOR us begin to view and react to their employers (taxpayers) as though they were all potential criminals.
If nothing else, there should be "checks" placed upon such surveillance techniques to ensure that they are used sparingly and only when a situation deems it necessary. The information should OTHERWISE be stored offline and protected from any leak.
Sorry, I can't resist...
"The drones are coming, the drones are coming!"
Funny thing about those that think big intrusive governments should get away with all this - they never offer an explanation of what is "too much".
Is it too much if the government points a camera from the street, points it onto your 'property'? Drones flying overhead and recording everything, including your back yard? Wall piercing vision devices on a drone?
If you think massive collection and storage of license plate data is okay, then please tell me where you draw the line.
Pending your rational answer, I'll stick with the ACLU.
So first assuming the license database is online and in the clear and someone hacks in and steals it, What do they get but a bunch of license plate numbers at GPS coordinates of when a car happened to be in the vicinity of the one police car outfitted with the camera? They would also have to crack the DMV to resolve that to an actual car owner. Thats a lot of trouble for so little value. The data on most individuals will be too sparse to determine any sort of pattern.
But if you are really concerned, ride a bike.
Don't fool yourself - have you read about the computer security guy in Hayward who looked into his local copshop's use of the readers & what he found? It was chilling / & it wasn't just a photo of license plates.
ok, I'll bite, what did he find? Point me at an article. I was not impressed by the CNN piece above if thats the guy you are talking about. A bunch of pictures of his car in his driveway over the years. He apparently is not really concerned with them because he is sharing them unblurred with the world.
It's about the storage of the data and who is allowed access to it. If I driver my car over to a friend's house or to a restaurant and the license plate gets recorded in the process, i don't want anyone, including the government, to know about it as long as I didn't break the law. No government agency and no individual or private group should ever be allowed access to this data as long as I din't break any laws.
> If you think massive collection and storage of license plate data is okay, then please tell me where you draw the line.
That a fair question ... assuming "we" got to draw the line at all. I doubt it.
I think a good, honest but very difficult, objective way would be to be to have a fact-based discussion based on the cost-benefit. I think the calculation so far by the "military" and "corporations" is that we cannot keep our current way of life without spying on people and knowing what the worse among us is up to because the "terror" threat "appears" to be able to come from anywhere. We are always forced into a wartime/martial POV on any of these questions.
Our government picks fight, and then says our people have to be regimented, and herded like farm animals because the population cannot be trusted to be secure. But when you look at most of stories of real terrorists that have been uncovered it has been alert citizens that have brought them to the attention of authorities. To evade the issue completely the military says they cannot talk about the facts and they need to be secret. Can you imagine this? This is the root of the problem, citizens allowing unknown groups with unknown effects to be operating all over the world including our own country.
Asking, are our perceptions of what we have to fear based in fact or propaganda and what are the real numbers and root causes of these fears. Since we are not given access to the facts and numbers what citizens think is some version of a fiction presented that they have an affinity or politlcal motive for, but certainly not the truth.
Rather than just say we will not tolerate ANY invasion of privacy, and then delude ourselves into thinking that would really happen anyway - let's ask what is the cost and what is the benefit of each capability. And find out what rights are worth what to people?
I think there may be an economic bargain here. They say the data mined from the average person is worth money, so let's find a way to open this up to some kind of market. Instead of just appropriating our data, privately and publicly, why not pay people for it in a new social contract? If we are expected to be active team America participants, then what do we have to do, and what do we get for it?
The bottom line on all of this is that we have no control anymore of the rights we were supposedly granted as human beings, back when we cared about such things.
Now all "we", deserve is what we can demand, and "we", the people daring to demand anything is something our media and society seems predisposed to call socialism and align itself against under some banner of misdefined freedom and patriotism.
Pretty convenient for the corporations, isn't it?
The line is The Constitution. That applies to government and corporations.
The security over civil liberty meme seems pretty dumb when you look at that post in the other subject: more Americans have died this year from gun toting toddlers, than for terrorists.
You have no right to privacy to pictures that can be taken in public. I can take your picture if you are in public. Your car is also far game
I give up. Just drill and insert a tracking device into my skull already. I'll be a nice quiet little worker bee.
CrescentParkAnon - re your latest post - I am impressed! Reminds me of Jaron Lanier's astute observations about how internet companies monetize users w/out payment, a la Facebook.
Bob - The Truth Is Out There - & it ain't the aliens doing it to us.
Walk. Ride your bike. Take the train.
It is always interesting to read the online Police Report Log and notice the large number of suspended license citations in all areas of the city and at all hours of the day and night when the only related grant money sought was to reimburse the police to sit outside the courthouse to stop people driving vehicles whose drivers had just had their licenses suspended by a judge. However, if only one police vehicle was already reading license plates of vehicles being driven on public streets, and that data was linked to a data base of vehicle owners who had their drivers licenses suspended, it would be easy to find a pretext to stop such vehicles. The pretext hypothesis is plausible when you notice in the Police Report Log that those issued citations for driving with a suspended license usually don't receive a citation for any other moving violation.
Just think of it as the google streetview of license plates
"Just think of it as the *BIG GOVERNMENT* streetview of license plates" where the government keeps the data forever.
There, all better now........
oh and government does not have access to street view. ;-)
That's right... Not the chip inside the skull, silly :0
The Barcode tattooed on the body!
The public doesn't have the same powers and potential via the law to use (or misuse) such "street view" data as they see fit.
Why is such a "right to privacy" needed? Do you remember Rebecca Schaeffer? Her stalker learned Schaeffer's license plate and obtained some information from the DMV. He showed up to her door and shot her.
Afterward, Congress passed the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (1994) that prohibits the leak of private information to the public. Yet, the potential is always there in an online world. Anything from network hacking to internal corruption could lead to some dire consequences.
Yes, I realize that the police are not meaning to use this information in this way. They want to find "bad guys." However, they are effectively treating the entire public as potential criminals. This is tantamount to an early stage of an Orwellian police society.
TO: Posted by Anon, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2013 at 10:44 am
"I am one to think that I don't care if government or law enforcement knows my whereabouts. Let them listen to my phone calls and track my car, whatever. I'm not doing anything wrong. I have nothing to hide."
Most of us have nothing to hide and we shouldn't have to hide the fact!
BUT if you are mistaken for someone else, if someone makes a mistake and enters your license into a data base, if you get onto a No-Fly list, if someone steals your identity, if you become associated in a database to a crime, if you are ID'd in a criminal line-up, etc., etc. Those big Ifs are almost never correctable. Your life will be pretty well ruined by the time things are straightened out, where that is possible.
A taint of suspicion attached to the innocent is as bad as guilt where databases are concerned.
"I have nothing to hide."
Agreed, you are hiding nothing, including your utter traitorous disregard for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. So where do you draw the line?
Get rid of the 4th amendment?
It's a matter of time before we find out the PA cameras, provided by Santa Clara County, turn out to have been funded by the feds, the string attached being that all photos/data go to the NSA database where an ever more complete dossier of all US individuals is being compiled.
What a sad, sad state of affairs-- Just pithy.
What's next retinal scanners?
Or is it body bar-coding?
How do you figure taking a picture of your vehicle in public violates your 4th amendment rights?
> How do you figure taking a picture of your vehicle in public violates your 4th amendment rights?
I'll just explain my own position on this. Yes, they have the right at the time to know who I am or where I am in public ... but, keeping long term track or my every movement, archiving it and analyzing it is nothing that the Founders of our country ever considered or expected or would have stood for.
Constitutionally I believe it would fall into the category of an unlawful searches, and the kind of search where a government agent goes in just looking for a reason to find something unlawful - called a "fishing expedition".
"but keeping long term track of (sic) my every movement".
That's not a fair representation of what this system does.
Taking pictures of my licence plate/vehicle and archiving it and accessing it later ...
> That's not a fair representation of what this system does.
They take pictures and they have to archive those pictures for evidence don't they? How do you know what this data will be used for, or more importantly how do you know the system so well that you can can guarantee me that it will not be used for this or other purposes? How do you know data is going to be dumped. I've worked for some of the premier IT companies in the valley and I can tell you they have no idea what is in their data repositories and they play games with it when it comes to legal requirements.
To really talk about a thing one has to have the thing explained - honestly. I have not heard much honesty from corporations or the government lately and that trend seems to be getting worse, not better.
To track your every move the police car would have to follow you 24/7. Go inside buildings. Go outside the police officers jurisdiction. What is really happening is every time your car, not you, but your car crosses paths with the police car. A picture might be taken. That's a far cry from recording your every move.
You're simply splitting hairs. Technology moves so fast now that you do not know what this would develop into in 5 to 10 years, or what other video sources might be mined.
I also never said anyone "personally" would be archived, but that is going to be next at some point.
This itself is a far cry from anything covered in the Constitution or specifically allowed. Your total dismissal of anyone's honest concerns shows you to not be very thoughtful about the issue of privacy, maybe you don't care, but that doesn't mean you have to attack or belittle others for wanting to know more and discuss the framework for this and why it is allowed.
I only corrected your misrepresentation of the systems capabilities
You are fooling your own self - you merely tried to make the conversation about what it was you were talking about which is a small part of the issue.
I am under no obligation to limit my discussion to a system that you do not know any more than I do about. People are talking general principles here, as you very well know, your underhanded attempt to limit people's concerns to one aspect of this discussion is rather dishonest.
The pilot program is one camera, then pretty soon it's more, then pretty soon it's stationary cameras, and who know what happens to the data? You do not know the future or plans for this, so why do you blindly support it by being disingenuous about
> They take pictures and they have to archive those
> pictures for evidence don't they?
No, they don't. The simplest system would take a picture, extract the license plate number, and look it up in a "hot list". If there were no "hit", then the number, the picture, and any other "metadata" would be discarded. If there were a "hit", the officer would be alerted. The Officer would stop his/her vehicle, and resolve the issue--by whatever means is necessary. If arrests are made (ie--for stolen vehicles or outstanding warrants), then possibly it might make sense to archive the pictures that lead to the Officer alert. (There is always the possibility of an error, leading to a false arrest. So, having all of the information that led to this problem would be needed.)
There is no reason to save/archive the pictures of vehicles on the street at the same time the police are on the street that are not the object of police interest.
As to any fixed camera recordings, these should be discarded as quickly as possible. The argument that these need to be archived in case they "might be needed" is extremely weak. Particularly since there seems to be no written policies at the moment about retention periods, or what "need to know" access really means.
Some of this concern about the police might well be overshadowed by the fact that private companies are allegedly involved with collecting this same kind of information for their own commercial purposes. According to an article in the Daily Post, former State Senator Joe Simitian seemed to think that there were some extensive databases already in place, with absolutely no regulation as to their use.
I don't think that we have much to worry about from "hackers" breaking into the SCC Data Center and stealing these files. If this were an issue, the files could be encrypted, so that the thief would end up with garbage, unless someone from inside the Data Center provided the encryption key.
> these should be discarded as quickly as possible
Yeah, should be.
So, where is all this information coming from, and how do you know it is accurate.
As far as databases and encryption what could be done and what are done are often two separate things.
I'm not against the idea, with all the texting and eating and whatever else officers do in their squad cars I am sure this would make it safer and more efficient than having them key in car after car or just give up and not do it at all. How often is there a stolen car that a police car just encounters that is driving and acting normal?
I think of things like how much of a problem is this though? It seems like it is mostly a revenue enhancer to get more tickets. For example, perhaps there are people who do not realize their registration is overdue. This happened to me last time. I walked around my car one afternoon and noticed the month sticker was "last month". I got in and drove right to AAA that moment. With enhanced ID like this I could have been caught and given a ticket to no real purpose except to generate cash for the county or whoever gets that money. People driving with overdue registration notice it. They are not criminals and they do not really need an expensive system in place to ticket them before they can fix their registration.
So, what is the effect of this in terms of the system as it is now, and then there is what is the hardware in place, and what else could it do. As I said above it might be useful to archive the data the squad car generates to convict or exonerate suspects. The question is who has access to this data?
FYI - parking enforcement can give you a ticket for missing license plate, expired tags, etc. If anything, that,s how you're going to get those type of tickets....via personal experience BTW.
> As far as databases and encryption what could be done and
> what are done are often two separate things
Perhaps. The issue is one of good data center administration, which includes the need for good security measures, and the auditing of execution of those measures.
In the case of file encryption, running a computer program to determine if files that are supposed to be encrypted are actually encrypted is not difficult. Both the Center Security Manager, and the local Auditor, should be making these checks, periodically.
> So, where is all this information coming from,
> and how do you know it is accurate.
Watch this video and think about it. The officer says that it takes about 1 sec for a plate identification to take place.
At the end, we see that this particular system has archived images to a server. The officer offers some indirect explanation for what the police can do with these archived images.
We should be examining these systems in terms of just how much information any officer can retrieve, and just how much logging of these accesses is done.
In case you missed in today's Palo Online ---
"Stanford reports security breach, urges password changes"
So whatever information is collected with these readers, retained etc. in their database "CAN" be breached.
> So whatever information is collected with these readers,
> retained etc. in their database "CAN" be breached.
To the extent that all systems are breachable, that is true. But there is no linkage between one system and another. Stanford's problems are vastly different than a data center for a county police function. Stanford would not be unwise takling all of its confidential data off of the Internet, and placing it on a "inner net"--accessible to only those that need that data.
What's important is that SCC produce some sort of a publishable policy for data storage, and that the County's stewardship is audited by the County Auditor, and possibly the Auditors of its clients.
Oh, no, we all know a city government is far better at protecting databases than Stanford University!!!! ha!
And what about the cases of cops using this type of power to stalk women and harass any guy who even glances at his ex? Yeah, we know buddy, she asked for it, right?
This invasion of privacy and data collection is over the line. If you don't draw the line here, the 4th amendment is toast, only a matter of time before this camel gets more than a nose under the tent. Wait until they tell you the drones (here in 5 years, funded by Obama, want to wager on it?) will never look in your window or gaze upon you or your daughter sunbathing by the pool. Honest Abe, we promise, we're the cops! We'll never do it!
Honest! We'll nevvvvvvvvvah abuse private information! Never happens!
-> "400% increase in police data abuse" Web Link
-> example of a power abusing Romeo: "Oviedo police reports said Sgt. Dwayne Walker, who resigned amid the probe, used his D.A.V.I.D. account to run 19 separate searches using the first name of the bank teller and her race as part of the search criteria." Way to go, Romeo!
-> the funniest, except it's so sad: cops can't even help themselves from illegally spying on other cops!! Web Link "But the case that received the most attention last year involved Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Donna "Jane" Watts, who found herself at the center of a firestorm after she pulled over a speeding police officer at gunpoint in South Florida. Last month, she filed a federal lawsuit against more than 100 officers and agencies, alleging 88 law enforcers from 25 agencies viewed her private information more than 200 times."
Awww, Jane, sweetheart, that'll teach you girls not to mess with cops, even if you are a cop! We gonna show you how a boys club really works!
Thanks for that interesting link, Remote Rianna.
Maybe this is how the police officer from Menlo Park figured out how to keep his job after being caught with a hooker in a motel room.
What is being sold to us as business as usual, too big to fail, etc is really just massive abuse and corruption. Why add to it if there is no benefit?
I wonder if being forced to log in or have an account on Palo Alto Online yields enough data to identify people and find out about them? The excuse would be that someone "might" make a threat or commit a terrorist act.
This system has to use these kinds of "tools" to prop itself up because it sure is not making use of the citizens of this country.
So what are those concerned about this issue going to do besides write their opinions on some newspaper blog. You are the residents, you have the ability to change the current dysfuntional city government. The City Council doesn't have the leadership or knowledge to address this issue and have lost the public's trust, the City Manager is clueless, and God forbid the Police Dept. should be left to make decisions on their own. If the residents of this city don't take action against government intrusion then they have only themselves to blame.
Thanks Wayne, for the illuminating ALPR YouTube video link.
Former Council member, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, 1 hour ago said:
> you have the ability to change the current dysfuntional city government.
You're the alleged Former Council Member ... you tell us? You say the City Government is dysfunctional, why, and how do what action should city residents take? It's not our own fault if there is nothing we can do, so quit blaming us, we didn't vote for any of this.
Maybe you "should" vote! The community residents have a voice. Perhaps instead of feeling sorry for yourself or blaming others, take the iniative and demand that your concerns are heard. You can't change opinion by sitting in front of a computer and hiding on the internet hoping someone else will act on your behalf.
> Former Council member
> Maybe you "should" vote!
Well, assuming you are referring to me, what makes you think I don't vote, or that I feel sorry for myself or blame others. I asked you a question which given your presumed experience you should have some better answers to ... is that all you got? What did you learn being on the council, or maybe you weren't.
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