This company wants to sell license plate readers for your neighbors to track you
The Daily Charge
Let's start off with the truth about being online.
Everywhere you go will leave a footprint.
And your simply act of existing anywhere is something that advertisers and companies look to make money from.
Now that's starting to happen offline too.
We have a story today about ReCor System, an automatic license plate reader company that sells its technology to landlords and police departments.
They started offering the surveillance tools to your next door neighbors.
ALPR is a really powerful tool, it's mostly used by police.
Now this is something that can be used for criminal investigations, or in some cases, for police to commit crimes.
In 1998, a Washington, DC police officer pleaded guilty to extortion after looking up license plates near gay bars and blackmailing the car owners.
They've misuse technology.
Who would have thought?
Think of this like facial recognition for cars.
These cameras can pick up 60 license plates a second and log them all down.
This used to cost thousands of dollars now your nosy neighbor can buy it and keep track of cars in the area.
For $5 a month.
You know, obviously technology has always been out there for people to spy on each other.
But this is just making it clear how easy it is to automate that spying, you know, and what are you getting for $5 a month I mean, you're not getting a list of every name.
Of the car owner who drives by your house.
No yeah, I mean you would need to have access to a police database of like you know the DMV database.
Yeah.>> So all of this licencse plate belongs to this person.
But there is still a lot you can do with information on just how often a car drives in your neighborhood right.
Like so if a car drives by and I log its plate down and I put it in my system to tell me everytime this car drives by.
I don't have to just put that camera by my home right I can put that in the case with the washington dc thing.
I can put that camera by like
In your car
like driving around somewhere, anywhere
I could put it by, like a planned parenthood for example and then you would know this person like came here at this time and then I would be able to follow them home and then There's a lot of ways to identify people without a police like database to do it.
Even if someone like students in their own, like property, you wonder okay, where is that data going?
Where is it being shared with?
Did they click a checkbox saying yes, sure.
Sure I'll share my data with anyone who wants it and it's being sold to other people, you know so it's weird,
So the company behind it says that they don't sell data, but I think-
But do they work with police departments?
Yeah, so that's the thing.
They work with police departments and if you have a different version of their license plate reader technology
You can opt in to share that data with police.
But also like consider that most of the times like sharing any information with police like might not be under like your call, right?
Like if a cop shows up at your door and says, hey, we need to know.
When this car drove by here, can you put it in your log and let us know like what you're going to tell a cop to get off your property like good luck with that.
So that, that's, that's like the big concern here and that's something that they've talked about where you know.
Yes, that is something that like police might be able to do where let's say officers like just make a call out to a neighborhood and say, we are looking for this car, can you put this number in your license plates.
Search and send us anything that you have.
They don't have to buy that technology now.
Now they can just kinda rely on.
Like everyday average citizens to use that and then like, basically crowdsource it.
Yeah it's just so easy now you just know that you there is no right like I said the beginning no sense of privacy and you don't know what your neighbors have.
Yeah, also you wouldn't know if you were being tracked.
It's not like you can say, hey, please take me off your list.
You'd have no idea if you were on someone's list to begin with.
The lack of control is what is feeling unsettling.