Big Brother just got a little stronger
Privacy advocates are not going to like this one.
Vigilant Solutions, a vehicle surveillance broker has offered access to its, “massive automated license plate reader databases,” to Texas law enforcement agencies. The catch? Vigilant receives access to outstanding court fees and receives 25% of any delinquent fines.
Wired has the story:
Vehicle surveillance broker Vigilant Solutions has offered Texas law enforcement agencies “free” access to its massive automated license plate reader databases and analytical tools— but only if the police give Vigilant access to all of their data on outstanding court fees and hand the company a 25 percent surcharge from money collected from drivers with outstanding court fines. Vigilant also gets to keep a copy of any license-plate data collected by the police, even after the contract ends, and can retain it indefinitely.
The EFF warns that it turns police into debt collectors and data miners. Neither policymakers nor the public have evaluated the technology, it contains a non-disparagement clause, and it uploads everyone’s driving patterns into a private system without any ways for these individuals to control how their data is used or shared.
But that’s not the worst part. The “stakeout” feature offers “predictive analysis” to determine all kinds of things like who individuals associate with and whether or not they might collude with other criminals.
According to a contract between Vigilant and the NYPD, the “Domain Awareness System” has extensive surveillance capabilities. The system combines license plate data with camera footage and surveillance devices, and it allows NYC police to monitor cars across the country. The software’s “stakeout” feature gives the NYPD access to who was at a location (such as a protest, a church, or even an abortion clinic) at a given time, and can use both “predictive analysis” to determine where a person is likely to be, and “associative analysis” to determine whether someone is a “possible associate” of a criminal.
What’s next, my TV telling me to put the ice cream down? That would be the end of that TV, by the way.
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