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Is Law Enforcement Crossing Line by Taking Photos of Drivers, Passengers?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A license-plate scanning system designed to combat drug trafficking and other crimes has raised serious privacy questions because of the technology’s ability to snap photographs of drivers and their passengers, the ACLU said, reports Bloomberg.

The concern is that authorities will combine the photographs with facial-recognition software.

“This adds a whole other dimension to what is already a very significant surveillance infrastructure,” Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the ACLU, said in an interview. “Facial recognition software holds the potential to super charge this kind of system. We haven’t seen anything like a nationwide systematic infrastructure snapping photographs of Americans as they go about their lives, and this is what this appears it can turn into.”

Records obtained by the ACLU found that the license-plate database had more than 343 million records.

“An automatic license plate reader cannot distinguish between people transporting illegal guns and those transporting legal guns, or no guns at all; it only documents the presence of any car driving to the event,” the ACLU said in a blog post last month. “Mere attendance at a gun show, it appeared, would have been enough to have one’s presence noted in a DEA database.”

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