Stolen Car Database License Plate – Copyright © 2023, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Notice of debt collection from CA | Do not sell or share my personal information

Deputy Charlie Cam of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has the only patrol car at the La Mirada substation equipped with ASAP, a four-camera system mounted on the roof of the vehicle that continuously scans and photographs license plates of vehicles. car nearby.

Stolen Car Database License Plate

Stolen Car Database License Plate

More and more cameras — hundreds across Los Angeles, thousands nationwide — are engaged for a simple purpose: Taking pictures of license plates.

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Digital photos, captured automatically by cameras mounted on cars and utility poles, then tagged with time and location, are transmitted to giant databases running on remote servers. Police can then search those databases to track the drivers’ previous whereabouts.

But such databases are also being built by private companies, which can sell access to anyone willing to pay, such as lenders, repo officers and private investigators. . That is raising concerns among privacy advocates and lawmakers, who say the rapidly growing industry is not only ripe for conflicts of interest but also downright invasive. encroach.

“What they are doing is out of bounds,” said state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), who is pushing legislation to rein in the industry.

Hill agrees that license plate data can assist law enforcement, but believes the industry needs restrictions. He said he worries that partnerships between police and for-profit data companies could lead to police doing the bidding of insurance companies and repo companies.

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His legislation would prohibit public agencies from sharing data they collect with private entities, ban license plate scanners from accessing private property without consent and make it easier for privacy lawsuits against data collectors.

To demonstrate the power of the database, Hill hired a private investigator to follow his wife. Instead of tracking her down, the detective paid for access to license data that showed Hill’s wife had parked her car at a Sacramento gym more than 100 miles from their home.

In another case, a man in San Leandro, California, filed a public records request and learned his car had been photographed more than 100 times, including one photo of his children. his daughter in the driveway.

Stolen Car Database License Plate

Hill’s legislation faces an uphill battle. A similar bill in California failed amid intense lobbying by law enforcement officials and industry in 2012. In Utah, lawmakers backed legislation limiting data collection license plate data for commercial purposes after being sued by one of the leading license data collectors, Vigilant Solutions in Livermore, California. Like other data companies, Vigilant claims a free speech right to take photos in public.

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This industry is growing rapidly. A 2010 study found that one-third of large police departments use license plate readers. In 2012, the most recent data available, a survey found that more than 70 percent of the nation’s police departments had scanners.

Vigilant, in particular, has seen its appeal among law enforcement officers increase because it can provide police departments with access to an inventory of more than 2 billion scans, maintained by an affiliated company, Digital Identity Network. That database is fed by cameras mounted on vehicles driven by repossession agents traveling on the nation’s roads.

The two companies have 160 employees. Vigilance reports that more than 3,500 law enforcement customers use the company’s cameras or access company data. The digital identity network has more than 250 customers. A Vigilant representative estimates that the entire industry brings in up to $500 million a year.

Along with Vigilant, several other companies offer license plate scanning technology including Motorola, PlateSmart and PIPS Technology. Their law enforcement customers often point to high-profile cases that technology has helped solve.

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Last month, police used license plate data to end a months-long manhunt for a man suspected of randomly shooting into cars on a highway in Kansas City, Missouri. A woman who thought she was being followed reported the license plate number. The police plugged it into their system and quickly got the car’s previous location. Within a day, the license plate scanner overtook the car and was hit.

“It’s an important tool for law enforcement,” Hill said. “But we need to be extra vigilant to protect the privacy and civil liberties we cherish.”

It’s unclear how many privately operated cameras there are in Los Angeles County. But the devices are used by many of the county’s law enforcement agencies, including the county’s two largest agencies. The Sheriff’s Department reports 84 vehicles equipped with license plate readers and another 47 vehicles in fixed locations. Half a dozen have been installed on radar signs to warn drivers when they are speeding. A Los Angeles Police Department official said the agency has 240 car-mounted units and 30 stationary units.

Stolen Car Database License Plate

Last year, Vigilant Solutions provided license plate scanners to police in Tempe, Ariz., for free. But there’s a catch, according to a copy of the offer obtained by The Times.

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To keep the freebies, the Tempe department must clear at least 25 outstanding “Provide Vigilance” orders each month. In general, such settlements are paid for by private collection agencies, which profit by serving warrants resulting from people’s nonpayment, said Brian Shockley, Vigilant’s vice president. city ​​fine.

In the document, Vigilant assured the Tempe department that the offer was not an attempt to “undue influence” on police work. But the company also warned that the free cameras would be taken away if the police department did not meet its monthly targets.

“We look at a lot of creative and different ways to serve our customers,” Shockley said. “Budgets and grant amounts are somewhat limited these days.”

Shockley declined to answer questions about the Tempe proposal, calling it confidential. Shockley said no agency is currently working under this framework. He declined to provide a list of law enforcement agencies that have hired his company.

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A Tempe police official told The Times that his agency had chosen not to participate in the unusual program. But Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the offer is disturbing.

“We have no way to monitor what’s going on in the private sphere,” she said. “All we have are the public statements these companies made.”

Law enforcement agencies have denied public records requests for license plate data, and private data collectors are not subject to such records requests.

Stolen Car Database License Plate

“A lot of times,” Lynch said, “they even have a clause that says law enforcement agencies are not allowed to talk about their products without talking to the company first.”

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Vigilant representatives said tracking a car’s movements is not intrusive. Police can access the trove of data collected by employees, but not the other way around. And they argued that the license plate couldn’t be matched to the owner because federal law prohibits people from getting that information from the Department of Motor Vehicles. But that law allows for more than a dozen exceptions — including one for licensed private investigators.

Privacy activists warn that tracking cars over time could reveal where people live, work, worship and with whom they associate. A sudden change in someone’s habits could be a sign of a breakup or an affair.

Vigilant’s website downplays those concerns, describing license plate data as anonymous and nothing more than a series of letters and numbers. The website says the data tracks the car, not the driver, and does not reveal who it is linked to.

“The owner is typically within 1,000 feet of the vehicle, so look for the vehicle and you will find the customer,” the Digital Identity Network website says. “Quickly and efficiently identify the most likely addresses among countless possibilities returned by multiple data services, friends, associates, relatives, employers.”You are logged in with another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session. You’re signed out in another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session. You’ve switched accounts on another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session.

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Stolen Car Database License Plate

This is the archive of the Stolen Vehicle Detector system. This system can identify stolen vehicles based on license plate numbers and has the ability to report them. The frontend is an Android app with on-device inference capabilities, while the backend is the Ktor server that handles the media database, reports, and more. The issue of fake license plates was in the news this week, following a TODAY report

License Plate Tracking For Police Set To Go Nationwide

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