Emerging Threats

Police Surveillance: Every Step You Take… They’ll Be Watching You



First it was Snowden and his leak about how the NSA is keeping record of everything you say and do online…

Now it has been revealed that the “Authorities” are also keeping track of every where you go.

A recent article I found, lays out how police are keeping track of your movements using specialized police vehicles and stoplight cameras to mark your daily travels.

I live in Austin, Tx and currently we only have one of these vehicles listed… but the city is petitioning for more.

They are saying that this is specifically to keep a “hot list” of offenders and that it is an attempt to be able to be more efficient at catching criminals.

This may be true, but there is currently no regulations on what they do with this information, or how long they keep it.

Check out the article below and let me know your thoughts (feel free to listen to  I'll be watching you”, by The Police as you read along…):

The information potentially allows authorities to track the movements of everyone who drives a car.

The ACLU documented the police surveillance after reviewing 26,000 pages of material gathered through public records requests to almost 600 local and state police departments in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

Police are gathering the vehicle information with surveillance technology called automatic license plate readers, and it’s being stored — sometimes indefinitely — with few or no privacy protections, the ACLU said.

“The documents paint a startling picture of a technology deployed with too few rules that is becoming a tool for mass routine location tracking and surveillance,” the ACLU said in a written statement.

The license plate readers alert police to an automobile associated with an investigation, “but such instances account for a tiny fraction of license plate scans, and too many police departments are storing millions of records about innocent drivers,” the ACLU said.

“Private companies are also using license plate readers and sharing the information they collect with police with little or no oversight or privacy protections. A lack of regulation means that policies governing how long our location data is kept vary widely,” the ACLU said.

The civil liberties group is advocating legislation regulating the use of the technology.

The readers have been proliferating at “worrying speed” and are typically mounted on bridges, overpasses and patrol cars, the ACLU said.

The devices use high-speed cameras, and the software analyzes the photographs to retrieve the plate number, the group said.

The system then runs the data against “hot lists” of plate numbers and produces an instant alert when a match, or “hit,” registers, the group said. The hot lists include the National Crime Information Center file, which includes stolen cars and vehicles used in the commission of a crime.

“License plate readers would pose few civil liberties risks if they only checked plates against hot lists and these hot lists were implemented soundly. But these systems are configured to store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location where all vehicles are seen — not just the data of vehicles that generate hits,” the ACLU report said.

The growing collection of data allows police to create “a single, high-resolution image of our lives,” and the constant monitoring “can chill the exercise of our cherished rights to free speech and association,” the group said.

“If not properly secured, license plate reader databases open the door to abusive tracking, enabling anyone with access to pry into the lives of his boss, his ex-wife, or his romantic, political, or workplace rivals,” the ACLU said.

Law enforcement argues the tools keep officers and the public safe.

In a blog post last week, the Los Angeles Police Protective League said that license plate recognition (LPR) technology has helped with “literally thousands of cases nationwide.”

“LPR is not an invasion of privacy, but rather a tool for law enforcement to better accomplish its mission to protect and serve. The onus is on law enforcement agencies and governing bodies to ensure that they have proper policies in place for disciplined and responsible use, with appropriate punishments for anyone operating outside of policy,” the union said.

The ACLU report cited how the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2012 tracked the movement of the Mayor R.T. Rybak’s car 41 times at a license police reader in the prior year. The newspaper put the information on a map and gathered the data through public records requests.

The newspaper found that the police department’s plate readers yielded hits of fewer than 1% of the 805,000 plate scans made in June 2012, according to the ACLU.

A hit means that a read matched a listing in a database of vehicles law enforcement was interested in, for whatever reason. They might be reported stolen, for instance, or belonging to missing persons.

As a result, the mayor directed the police chief to recommend a new policy on data retention, the group said.

View the original article.

All I know is that if they are going to be watching what I say on Facebook and where I am driving, they can at least like some of my posts, and have my coffee ready for me by the time I get to Starbucks..

What do you think, is this an overt invasion of our privacy, or a reasonable attempt by police to catch criminals?

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  1. Brian

    July 26, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    This is an overt invasion of our privacy. Worse, there was a “judgement” in Davenport, IA several years ago that “declared” “speed cameras” are UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

    They’re also missing a crucial ingredient: A WITNESS!!!

    • Lex

      July 27, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      When out in public, privacy should not be expected. Eye witnesses are not reliable. It has been proven thousands of times. If one does not break the law, one will not be punished. But, cameras are a proven reliable witness to all crimes, including the most violent.

  2. richard1941

    July 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    What do you want from your government? They are doing their best to catch evildoers. If you are not an evildoer, you have nothing to worry about.

    I recommend that everybody learn morse code. That way, you will be able to send sexy text messages through the walls of your cell in the re-education center. Remember that wall tap code requires an extra tap at the end of each character.

  3. richard1941

    July 26, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    There is a doctrine in police science related to the fourth amendment: “the eye does not intrude”. That means that anything in plain view (like the marijuana particle on the floor of your car that the cop spots with his flashlight) is fair game and can be used as probable cause for further search. That includes license plates. It is not the policeman’s fault that he has a photographic memory of every license plate that he encounters during his workday.

    • Jim28Reg

      July 27, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      This is more of the invasion coming against our rights to privacy. It only makes me more determined to drop the taxs’ I’ve been paying for a driver license – license plates – property tax – income all can be done away with . I’m still working on it. So find it your self. Patriot sights can lead you there.


    July 26, 2013 at 4:17 PM


  5. Roadkill Bill

    July 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    One problem with this article is that you can’t believe anything the ACLU says. More super liberal scare tactics.

  6. Quester55

    July 26, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Part-1; WELCOME To Obama’s POLICE STATE, Or should I have said,” SECRET POLICE STATE?”
    There have been hundreds of Factual Books printed, Warning us of this sort of thing taking place in our Country, Yet those same books dropped out of print, due to very low sales.
    You see, The citizens have adopted the attitude: Not in My country !!, This NEVER Could happen here, We’re a Nation That Have LAWS that PROTECTS Our CITIZENS !!, NO, Not Here, No Way!!”, And it’s this attitude that has paved the way for our,” Corrupted Government,” to Remove your Right to Privacy Without You Knowing it!!
    AND then you think,” WHISTLE BLOWERS ARE CRIMINALS???”
    Got News for you readers, there are Gadgets used everyday by Corporations to SPY on others. Privet Investigators, That use Phone/Cell taps to intercept your calls & other programs that can be used to Turn on Your land-line Phones or Cell phones, To listen in on your conversations, Again, Without you even knowing it! Sounds like It’s to Fantastic to be true ? These Things ARE REAL & YOU CAN CHECK THEM OUT AT ” American SPY Store, & Other Government & Police Supply Outlets! What they sell will Blow you Away!!!
    To those that have been Paying Attention to The seemly Minor Infractions to our Human Rights, This Report means Well, But it’s OLD NEWS to us.
    The Strange thing is, We can Warn the General Public from now, to until the cows come home & not be believed! Yet if the,” Government Controlled Propaganda Press,” states that these things are used for,” The Protection of the People,” You-All will swallow their LIES, HOOK, Line & Sinker”. Read Part 2 for just the fun of it.

    • Lex

      July 27, 2013 at 9:15 AM

      Apparently you did not do too well in English class.

  7. Quester55

    July 26, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Just for Fun, DO NOT DO This at Home!
    Every Camera you see & don’t see on the streets or in Police Cars & Others, use Infrared Light or LED’S to read your Lic.Plates at Night! Now for the Fun; you can purchase INVISIBLE IR Paint or dye, ( The Same Dye used in Clubs for Drinking,) Or Parks for proof of Payment). This Paint can then be sprayed on a Clear plastic Plate, Covering your Tags. Now when you pass one of these Cameras at Night, the Cameras will ONLY SEE A BRIGHT LIGHT REFLECTING back & NOT your Tag Numbers!
    Or if our really Brave or Foolish, You can “TAG” A patrol Car. The Tag can only be seen threw Night Vision & not the human eye, Most of the time!

  8. dodger

    July 27, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    Although this is a different method of spying on us, it is essentially the same category.

    Since I paid for the car (or am paying), the car and all its parts, including the EDR, belong to me. They are my private property and absent my consent, the police or anyone else should not be able to access the information collected by it unless they are able to obtain a search warrant. Of course, if falsely accused of something during an accident, the EDR data could also save your butt!

    Editorial: ‘Black boxes’ are in 96% of new cars
    And you don’t necessarily own what yours record.

    • Lex

      July 27, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      Pretty good way to win a law suit, in a false arrest case.

    • Power Unseen

      July 27, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      You might have paid for the car and all its parts but is it really yours? In UK we are only the ‘registered keeper’. Who really owns it, The Gov.?

  9. Lex

    July 27, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    The ACLU is a genuine pain in the butt & a real deterrent to freedom. Because of them, we have more laws than ever, resulting in less freedom. If the young were raised like they were back in the early days before television, there would be no reason for the ACLU to exist.

  10. Ron Jones

    July 27, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    All of this stalking by the Government and police. internet , phones , cameras and what ever else these Liberty steeling vermin are doing they claim are to protect the American people from terrorist and the like.
    Why do these terrorist want to harm us because we are or are suppose to be a free society. Do they want to take our freedom from us? If this is the case then it seems to me that our Government is taking from us what the terrorist want to take from us. Only using pen,paper and stalking technology to do it instead of bombs and weapons

  11. Ron Jones

    July 27, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    How is it that they steal our privacy like a thief in the night? While securing and strengthening their own.

  12. Carlos

    July 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    It seems the govt. is too addicted to the big $ these rackets bring in. Looks like there will be no serious legislative efforts to outlaw these devices. I wonder how long before some folks get fed up and begin to disable the snoopers? Shooting them out would be the most satisfying but spray paint on the lens is all it takes. It may sound outlandish but people are already shooting down drones. Most of us are law abiding and wouldn’t even consider something like that, but others who have nothing to lose would do it in a heartbeat. If they guard the traffic cams as well as the Lincoln Monument, it should be a piece of cake, LOL.

  13. TC

    August 1, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    i’ve been seeing some sort of camera array setup at various intersections. These are set a hundred feet back or more from the intersection and I notice that they often go off with flashes at cars making turns when the light is still green and yellow. If these are red light cameras, then they are rigged to go off prematurely.

  14. Lucy Mauterer

    August 16, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    I was behind a Lexus today which had a license plate cover that was tinted a dark smoky color. Perhaps we should all invest in one of those. I could barely read the tag and I was stopped in traffic directly behind it at a stop light.

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