Catherine Crump, Berkeley Law Professor who focuses on the legality of data and surveillance, explains in her TED talk the dirty little secret of police license plate readers (LPRs) that you see on police cars everywhere. Not only are these license plate readers checking for delinquent insurance, suspended registration, active warrants, expired tags, and suspended driver’s licenses, these LPRs are tracking the movement of lawful citizens, snapping photos, and storing the data for future reference. The lesson here is that every citizen should send an open record request asking for any license plate reader data including time, date, location, and photo information for their license plate number to their local police department. You might be surprised by how much information the government is storing on you including where you travel, what church you go to, where you live and who you travel with. This military-style technology combined with the dramatic fall in the price of data storage spells trouble for the privacy of private and law-abiding citizens.
-Author: George Creal