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License Plate Readers Bring Privacy Concerns

SURVEILLANCE—U.S.

November 21, 2011

Police use cameras that read license plates for help in catching car thieves and people fleeing crimes, but more recently, they have been storing the data--for three years in Washington, DC--and in some cases using it as a crime-prevention tool, reports The Washington Post. "That's quite a large database of innocent people's comings and goings," says an American Civil Liberties Union representative. However, police argue that it's a valuable tool, leading to an average of one arrest each day in DC. Privacy law expert Orin Kerr says, "It's big brother, and the question is, is it big brother we want, or big brother that we don't want? I think we need a conversation about whether and how this technology is used." (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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