Print 26 comment(s) - last by damage75.. on Jul 20 at 9:55 PM

It seems they both walk the fine line of being useful, yet big brother-like

Privacy is a hot issue at present, whether it's regarding online privacy or physical privacy in your home or on the street.

Back in 2007, New York ordered license plate readers that would be placed throughout Lower Manhattan in order to monitor vehicles. Then, in 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union investigated Raleigh, North Carolina's use of license plate scanning equipment to determine whether it violated citizens' privacy rights.

Now, a new report from Kenner, Louisiana says that the Kenner Police Department has been using license plate recognition technology to recover stolen vehicles. According to Kenner police, they've been able to find 80 stolen vehicles over the past seven months alone.

"It's the greatest technology to hit law enforcement in a long time," said Kenner Police Chief Steve Caraway. "Within seconds, police officers get a BOLO, a bulletin on their computer saying stolen Toyota headed westbound on Veterans."

The cameras, which were paid for by grants, provide photographs of the back of the stolen vehicle, and the photo is sent to police computers within 20 seconds. In one particular case, two 16-year-old's and a 19-year-old were arrested at Armstrong International Airport after stealing a SUV from New Orleans six days earlier. Police were able to identify the vehicle through the license plate recognition technology.

But this technology didn't only benefit police as far as stolen vehicles go; it also aided police in murder cases, missing person cases and to track sex offenders.

"We've actually solved a recent murder, where all the witnesses saw was just a blue Toyota Camry leaving a neighborhood," said Caraway.

While this system seems to serve its purpose, I couldn't help but compare the technology to the red-light cameras being placed around the U.S. Many citizens are against such systems saying that they are invasive, and that they have the potential to be abused by law enforcement officers as a way of generating revenue. On the other hand, recent studies found that these red-light cameras can prevent accidents, and enforce good driving behavior (even at intersections without the cameras).

The license plate recognition falls in the same general category of monitoring vehicles and alerting police when something illegal occurs, and it seems as if both systems are working to their full potential. But my question is, does the license plate recognition technology fall into the same realm of being potentially invasive and abused? It seems they both walk the fine line of being useful, yet big brother-like.

In my opinion, I think both are helpful tools in reducing crime and accidents. I don't condone car theft or the running of red lights, and if there is a way of reducing the number of occurrences, I'm all for it. But in the back of my mind, I have to wonder if police could scan a license plate and see who it is, then pull them over based on something illegitimate. Maybe they knew that person and weren't fond of them, so they pull them over. I'm not saying all police officers would do this, but it's a thought.

What's your stance? Are the two traffic-related technologies similar, and do their purposes outweigh the potential to be abused?

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

I don't like them...
By MrBlastman on 6/24/2011 1:48:54 PM , Rating: 2
I'm somewhat of a romantic for the days of old. The days where the dusty tumbleweed would topple through the air in a supple breeze, brushing up against your ankles as it lazily made its way across the brown, dirty street up the wooden steps and down the clapboard-covered sidewalks. Sidewalks plain as brown knotted wood, all that for but a single, white poster on the wall that bore the words "WANTED" at the top.

Back when a single Lawman in town held the peace. When sixguns ruled the land, and a single man with a badge was chosen with much trepidation and fear to stand tall, all alone--alone when everyone else had slammed and locked their shutters shut, cowering behind their doors, fearful of the sweat-drenched, rag-tag band of misfits that strolled into town.

And once high-noon came to the peak of the clock, justice would ring out to the crack of one, two three, as only one would remain standing, the other--the other, fallen over with their shiny, gleaming sidearm landing in the dirt with a poof of dust, wisping right up the road.

Times were simpler back then. The bandits could attack in numbers and for quite some time remain free--free that is until a posse was formed and they were routed out from the roughages in the outskirts. That or by the hands of that one, lonely man.

So my point, really, is the efficacy of these systems can not be doubted one bit. At the same time, though, they condition us towards increased violation of our liberties which, over the last hundred years or so, have been steadily decreasing in the name of justice.

And for what, really? More than a hundred years ago we hid behind our doors and cowered in our homes as the Sheriff took on the bad and evils. Now we feel that we're more free than ever before if we have these cameras, these technologies that are overseeing us at all times... oblivious to the facts that we really aren't free. These cameras and computers that serve to protect us--are actually serving to incarcerate us in our own society as we steadily become more and more enslaven to them as the days go by.

So really, to answer your question--they are a double-edged sword. As easily as they serve to protect us, they also freely serve to potentially imprison us as well. I long for those days of old, I really do...

RE: I don't like them...
By tng on 7/8/2011 11:41:57 AM , Rating: 2
When sixguns ruled the land.... when everyone else had slammed and locked their shutters shut, cowering behind their doors, fearful of the sweat-drenched, rag-tag band of misfits that strolled into town.
Really now, you watch to much TV.

You also don't realize that it was not as lawless as you think. People don't know that back in the wild west times most people were armed, just common sense.

Where I grew up almost everybody had some kind of gun handy at home or in the vehicle. Never had any violent crime. Criminals hate it when potential victims are armed....

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki