Study: When you're at the wheel, a growing network of police cameras are on your tail

  • Article by: ANNE FLAHERTY , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 24, 2014 - 8:51 PM

WASHINGTON — You can drive, but you can't hide.

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dumbgopJul. 17, 13 9:38 AM

What a paranoid administration. Good thing their results suck or people would be upset.

selfmadeJul. 17, 13 9:43 AM

Day by day we get closer and closer to a completely government controlled society and police state...Soon we will be just like Great Britain, the country we fought so hard to become independent from, and likely worse...RIP America...

newsie12345Jul. 17, 13 4:36 PM

One must remember that basicly police departments are technologically stupid. They will overwhelm themselves with collected information and not be able to properly store it, extract from it or maintain it. Their budgets will not support the collection of unlimited data. This technique will die its own death of strangulation by police officers

eman2001Jul. 17, 13 5:05 PM

I hope they find the uninsured creep who smashed into my car and then left town and state without paying. There is supposed to be an open warrant for them.

wakeup602Jul. 17, 13 5:12 PM

The government has people all scared over terrorism. So they can control the people, and people give up there liberties for "Safe society" Id rather protect myself.

eldiabl066Jul. 17, 13 5:14 PM

This can be done just as easily by tracking which cellular base stations your phone passes through each day. That's been available for years. Taking pictures of license plates is a much more difficult way of tracking but it's more visual which could maybe help at a trial. The cell phone tracking is how they found OJ in the bronco.

swmnguyJul. 17, 13 5:31 PM

This information collection reminds me of the final scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark." The camera pans back to show an enormous warehouse of identical-looking crates. They'll never find it again.

But that isn't what we should worry about. The information is, according to the story, being stored to help build cases in the event of future crimes. It isn't going to prevent anything. It isn't going to make anyone safer. Once a prosecutor has picked someone out and decided to nail that person to the wall, this information will be called up and used. A crime was committed somewhere near where you drove two Julys ago on a Thursday afternoon? Explain yourself, miscreant!

Like so many of these intrusions on our freedom to be left alone, there will be no benefit to the public. The only usefulness will be to prosecutors, who will have yet another whiz-bang trick to "prove" guilt to credulous juries. Prosecutors might be able to coerce still more plea bargains to over-charged innocent passers-by; getting their winning percentages above the current low 90% range while taking fewer and fewer cases to court. Of the cases they do take to court, they will win fewer and fewer, as people realize that many of the "sure thing" magic tricks to prove guilt are in fact very subjective, prone to interpretation, and therefore to corruption. Fingerprints, ballistics, drug testing, and even DNA are similar such shams promoted by prosecutors as 100% infallible evidence, but recently exposed as entirely subject to interpretation.

License plate data is equally likely to actually prove nothing, but might convince an innocent suspect to take a deal to spend 5 years in prison rather than 30, or might prompt a jury fearing public outrage to send someone to prison in the absence of actual unequivocal evidence. All to the benefit of the State, rather than its citizens.

billybob8Jul. 17, 13 5:40 PM

These systems are also used to generate city income for scofflaws. Have a few unpaid parking tickets? You are in the wanted database.

sunny23Jul. 17, 13 6:02 PM

"There's no expectation of privacy" for a vehicle driving on a public road or parked in a public place, said Lt. Bill Hedgpeth, a spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department in Texas. Why the heck not??? I think there should be an expectation of privacy. Data should only be tracked for known criminals. That Hedgpeth thinks otherwise is seriously disrespectful to all Americans.

sunny23Jul. 17, 13 6:19 PM

"There's no expectation of privacy" for a vehicle driving on a public road or parked in a public place, said Lt. Bill Hedgpeth, a spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department in Texas. If people are on a public road, the road is owned by the public, not the police.


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