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Police License Plate Readers Expand “Big Brother”

With all the talk about the government spying on us and keeping tabs on who we call and what we search and look at on our computers comes word of what some people say is another violation of our privacy. You’ve probably seen those license plate scanners on police cars. The idea is to let police scan thousands of license plates and window stickers a day looking for stolen cars, stolen or expired plates and even criminals.

Some police departments are doing even more. In California these cameras are recording everything they see and saving it. That means even if you’re completely legal, driving the speed limit, you have the proper plates and paperwork and done nothing wrong, they’re recording the time and place your vehicle was spotted and in some cases they’re even taking a picture.

One reporter used a freedom of information request to find out how often his car was scanned by the San Leandro, Calif. police department. In one year his car had been scanned 112 times. That works out to about twice a week. There was even a picture of him and his two daughters getting out of the car in his driveway.

License plate readers can process 1,200 plates an hour and those millions of records are going into a huge database that’s sent to the FBI and Homeland Security.

In San Diego alone they have 36-million license plate scans that they say will be deleted after two years.

When George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1948, I bet you not even he could imagine the power and resources of Big Brother could reach the level it has today. Some researchers say 1984 represents what a totalitarianism state under the likes of Joseph Stalin would be. Have we gone too far? If we haven’t what would be your limit?

SOURCE: Center For Investigative Reporting

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