Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

The Federal Government is Using Tracking Tech to Monitor License Plates Nationwide

Published on February 4, 2018 by   ·   No Comments

Derrick Broze/Activistpost

In another example of the growing use of surveillance technology by the United States government, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency now has access to a nationwide license plate recognition database.

Last week The Verge reported that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency now has access to a nationwide license plate recognition database after finalizing a contract with the industry’s top license plate data collection company. A copy of the contract shows that ICE finalized the deal in early January. The contract will make ICE the latest of several federal agencies who have access to billions of license plate records which can used for real-time location tracking. The Verge reports:

The source of the data is not named in the contract, but an ICE representative said the data came from Vigilant Solutions, the leading network for license plate recognition data. “Like most other law enforcement agencies, ICE uses information obtained from license plate readers as one tool in support of its investigations,” spokesperson Dani Bennett said in a statement. “ICE is not seeking to build a license plate reader database, and will not collect nor contribute any data to a national public or private database through this contract.

Vigilant Solutions released a statement denying any contract with ICE, noting that they do not share contractual details per “a standard agreement between our company, our partners, and our clients.” The company has more than 2 billion license plate photos in their database due to partnerships with vehicle repossession firms and local law enforcement agencies with vehicles equipped with cameras. Local law enforcement agencies typically use some version of an Automatic License Plate Reader. ALPRs are used to gather license plate, time, date and location that can be used to create a detailed map of what individuals are doing. The devices can be attached to light poles, or toll booths, as well as on top of or inside law enforcement vehicles. “The result is a massive vehicle-tracking network generating as many as 100 million sightings per month, each tagged with a date, time, and GPS coordinates of the sighting,” reports The Verge.

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