Government and law enforcement agencies are now set to roll out a new type of device that reads drivers' license plates, but privacy experts say that doing so poses a major problem for the average person.
Automatic license plate readers are now becoming more prolific around the country, but these devices are believed to be a threat to consumers' privacy, according to a report from the American Civil Liberties Union
. They can take as many as 3,000 photos of license plates per minute, and software allows it to cross-reference the number on the plate with information about the driver.
And, thanks to millions of dollars worth of investments from numerous government agencies include the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Transportation, that information is also saved, the report said. As a consequence, these agencies - and others in law enforcement - may have access to information on which consumers were driving where and when. As a consequence, the ACLU believes that regulations need to be put into place which will limit how agencies collect, save and share this data.
Only two states in the entire country have regulations in place right now, the report said. New Hampshire essentially bans them for all but monitoring infrastructure, while in Maine, police must delete the information collected on these devices after 21 days. Meanwhile, New Jersey has guidelines in place for ALPRs, but they are limited.
The problem with this practice is that privacy experts don't know much about how widespread it is, the report said. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is set to install large numbers of these devices on highways nationwide, while Homeland Security uses them to record every vehicle coming into the country, but information on state and local authorities deploy them is limited.
Moreover, state and local law enforcement agencies are receiving significant amounts of money from the federal government to purchase this technology, the report said. And the cost for such a device has fallen by nearly half in just the last few years. Eduard Goodman
, the chief privacy officer for Identity Theft
911, writes regularly about the concerns consumers face when it comes to protecting themselves in their everyday lives, and what they can do to increase their safeguards.
© 2003-2012 IDentity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved