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Forum Post: Big Brother Alert:Driving somewhere? There's a gov't record of that!

Posted 9 months ago on July 17, 2013, 5:31 p.m. EST by itsmyblood (10)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Oh no, they didn't do what they said they would not do did they??? Think again every camera is tracking your every move. Yeah they told you it was just to make it easier to find registration violators. Ha ha ha ha i fucking knew it when i first started seeing the police scanners and cameras.

http://news.yahoo.com/driving-somewhere-theres-govt-record-140052644.html WASHINGTON (AP) — Chances are, your local or state police departments have photographs of your car in their files, noting where you were driving on a particular day, even if you never did anything wrong.

Using automated scanners, law enforcement agencies across the country have amassed millions of digital records on the location and movement of every vehicle with a license plate, according to a study published Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union. Affixed to police cars, bridges or buildings, the scanners capture images of passing or parked vehicles and note their location, uploading that information into police databases. Departments keep the records for weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely.

As the technology becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous, and federal grants focus on aiding local terrorist detection, even small police agencies are able to deploy more sophisticated surveillance systems. While the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that a judge's approval is needed to track a car with GPS, networks of plate scanners allow police effectively to track a driver's location, sometimes several times every day, with few legal restrictions. The ACLU says the scanners assemble what it calls a "single, high-resolution image of our lives."

"There's just a fundamental question of whether we're going to live in a society where these dragnet surveillance systems become routine," said Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the ACLU. The civil rights group is proposing that police departments immediately delete any records of cars not linked to a crime.

Law enforcement officials said the scanners can be crucial to tracking suspicious cars, aiding drug busts and finding abducted children. License plate scanners also can be efficient. The state of Maryland told the ACLU that troopers could "maintain a normal patrol stance" while capturing up to 7,000 license plate images in a single eight hour shift.

." View gallery An Alexandria Police Dept. squad car is seen outfitted … An Alexandria Police Dept. squad car is seen outfitted with a license plate scanner mounted to the t … "At a time of fiscal and budget constraints, we need better assistance for law enforcement," said Harvey Eisenberg, chief of the national security section and assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland.

Law enforcement officials also point out that the technology is legal in most cases, automating a practice that's been done for years. The ACLU found that only five states have laws governing license plate readers. New Hampshire, for example, bans the technology except in narrow circumstances, while Maine and Arkansas limit how long plate information can be stored.

"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, which has records stretching back to 2008, although the city plans next month to begin deleting files older than two years. "It's just a vehicle. It's just a license plate."

In Yonkers, N.Y., just north of the Bronx, police said retaining the information indefinitely helps detectives solve future crimes. In a statement, the department said it uses license plate readers as a "reactive investigative tool" that is only accessed if detectives are looking for a particular vehicle in connection to a crime.

"These plate readers are not intended nor used to follow the movements of members of the public," the department's statement said.

." View gallery An Alexandria Police Dept. squad car is seen outfitted … An Alexandria Police Dept. squad car is seen outfitted with a license plate scanner mounted to the o … But even if law enforcement officials say they don't want a public location tracking system, the records add up quickly. In Jersey City, N.J., for example, the population is only 250,000 but the city collected more than 2 million plate images on file. Because the city keeps records for five years, the ACLU estimates that it has some 10 million on file, making it possible for police to plot the movements of most residents depending upon the number and location of the scanners, according to the ACLU.

The ACLU study, based on 26,000 pages of responses from 293 police departments and state agencies across the country, also found that license plate scanners produced a small fraction of "hits," or alerts to police that a suspicious vehicle has been found. In Maryland, for example, the state reported reading about 29 million plates between January and May of last year. Of that amount, about 60,000 — or roughly 1 in every 500 license plates — were suspicious. The No. 1 crime? A suspended or revoked registration, or a violation of the state's emissions inspection program accounted for 97 percent of all alerts.

Eisenberg, the assistant U.S. attorney, said the numbers "fail to show the real qualitative assistance to public safety and law enforcement." He points to the 132 wanted suspects the program helped track. They were a small fraction of the 29 million plates read, but he said tracking those suspects can be critical to keeping an area safe.

Also, he said, Maryland has rules in place restricting access for criminal investigations only. Most records are retained for one year in Maryland, and the state's privacy policies are reviewed by an independent board, Eisenberg noted.

At least in Maryland, "there are checks, and there are balances," he said.

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16 Comments


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[-] 2 points by LeoYo (4798) 9 months ago

Tricky Way Stores Track Shoppers

http://shine.yahoo.com/fashion/tricky-way-stores-track-shoppers-211000369.html

By Joanna Douglas, Senior Fashion and Beauty Editor

Sometimes it feels like somebody's watching me!The last time you shopped at Nordstrom, you may have been followed. The company briefly tested a Wi-Fi tracking system designed to follow customers around its stores by accessing signals on their smartphones.

According to this week's detailed report in the New York Times, Nordstrom began testing the new technology in 17 of its 248 stores this past fall.

"We're always looking for new things, and for us it was a great opportunity to serve our customers," Tara Darrow, a spokesperson for Nordstrom, told Yahoo! Shine. "The idea was to look at customer foot traffic [and] to look at staffing at different times during the day to make sure we have enough help on the sales floor. That type of thing. We don't do a lot of tracking or surveillance."

Online retailers have been collecting personal information to enhance your shopping experience — and boost their sales — for more than a decade. But the fact that brick-and-mortar stores are getting in on the action comes as a surprise to many shoppers.

"When we were doing the tests, we posted signs and tried to be as transparent as possible and let them know what we were doing," Darrow said. While the signs raised initial concerns for some customers, Darrow said they became more understanding after they were told that the devices were in place to help the store run smoothly. "At this point we're still reviewing the data and we're still looking at what we got from that test."

Nordstrom may have passed on this Wi-Fi technology for now, but brands like Family Dollar are experimenting with the equipment in one undisclosed store out of their 7,800 retail locations as a trial. Meanwhile, companies like RetailNext are working with brands like American Apparel, Caché, Ulta Beauty, and Verizon Wireless on video surveillance capabilities and Wi-Fi tags, which monitor where employees are located in the store throughout the day. The video footage, which often comes from the same surveillance cameras used to prevent theft, can track and count people entering the store and pinpoint their exact locations.

"When we use digital video, we can tell where someone is down to a few inches," Tim Callan, RetailNext's chief marketing officer, told Yahoo! Shine. "We can tell if you're standing in front of peanut butter instead of jelly. Wi-Fi gives a range of about 10 feet, so I could say you're in the shoe department, but not where you are in the shoe department."

RetailNext has not yet employed the Wi-Fi tracking systems at any retail locations, but it has the technology and is looking for future partnerships. Callan says the systems are designed to help retailers identify return shoppers (the device sends a unique but anonymous identification code) and supply information about consumer habits.

Overall, the new brick-and-mortar technology is providing physical stores with the same access to shopper information as virtual stores. "This is no different than what's already being tracked by your computer," Kimberly Amadeo, guide to the U.S. economy for About.com, told Yahoo! Shine. "People are just now becoming aware, but companies can get tons of personal info from credit card data."

So just what type of info is being shared? Names, addresses, marital status, income, and purchase history are all par for the course. Some stores like Target assign every customer a Guest ID number that is associated with purchases. If you purchase supplements, a purse large enough to be a diaper bag, and cocoa butter, they may infer you are pregnant and start sending you coupons for diapers and baby products. But many retailers and corporations don't have the resources to analyze the habits of any one customer, so your information is likely grouped with those in nearby locations or with similar purchasing habits, according to Amadeo. That group data becomes useful for company trend forecasting and ultimately, increased sales.

Shoppers may reap some benefits from data sharing as well. Information gleaned from tracking devices provides feedback for retail management looking to optimize convenience and an overall shopping experience. It's also a way for larger stores like Nordstrom to ensure there is always adequate sales help on the floor.

If this new technology benefits both consumers and retailers, then why the public outcry? "I actually think it's because it's new and it's poorly understood," says Callan. He believes it's a matter of consumers understanding "the fact that tracking us anonymously is not the same as tracking us individually."

For those shoppers who still want to ensure their right to privacy, here are some details on how retailers are keeping tabs and what you can do to stop them.

How stores are tracking you:

When you visit websites. When you click over to an online store, most of them will monitor where you are located, what you're clicking on throughout the site, how much time you're spending there, and what you ultimately purchase. Based on that information, the site may automatically generate ads for similar items you'd be interested in purchasing, or email you product information based on your interests. This is done partly for your convenience, but also, of course, so stores can make more money.

When you visit retail stores. Security camera footage is overlaid with analytics tracking the number of customers entering the store each day, as well the number of purchases made. The same cameras used to deter theft are now being used to track where you are spending time in the store. GPS and Wi-Fi signals are used in a similar way to inform retailers about your exact location in the stores, but the accuracy levels are somewhat limited based on the signals to your device. Though not everyone has a smartphone.

What you can do to get off stores' radar, in person and online:

Turn off your GPS and Wi-Fi. If you don't want stores to track your activities, you should also disable all social media apps like Instagram and FourSquare from sharing your location.

Whenever possible, pay with cash. If you make a purchase with a credit card, you link your name and location to an itemized list of everything you've purchased. Paying with bills means your itemized purchases can't be tied to your name.

Don't register on websites, and use guest checkout. If you're not logged in, retailers can't necessarily match your activity on their site with your name. The less information a website keeps on file (credit card numbers, billing addresses, and so on), the better it is for your privacy. If you must use this data to make a purchase, you can always unsubscribe or delete it after the fact, but some companies do store some of this information.

Clear your cookies. Cookies leave a little footprint on every website you visit, providing personalized data that's easy to access. Try clearing your cookies from your computer frequently. It may mean having to re-enter forms, but it's better than storing this data online indefinitely.

Don't answer surveys or warranty cards. These are other ways stores can keep tabs on your purchasing habits.

Be cautious of your activities on platforms like Facebook and Google. "Google saves every bit of information it collects about you — your usage of it, your email sent through it, where you visit — and it's just sitting on their servers, waiting to be hacked or subpoenaed by the government," says Amadeo. "[Google] can sell information about you to advertisers and collects even more information if you use Chrome, Gmail, Google calendar..." Amadeo warns that Facebook also uses all the information you put on its site (your favorite movies or your new engagement ring photo, for example) to sell to advertisers. Even if your account is private, this data is public property and will potentially exist somewhere on the web forever.

[-] 2 points by gnomunny (5671) from St Louis, MO 9 months ago

Privacy is certainly becoming a thing of the past. Here's a CNN article talking about similar things:

http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/22/technology/malls_track_cell_phones_black_friday/index.htm

But tell me, doesn't this paragraph sound a bit contradictory?

"When we use digital video, we can tell where someone is down to a few inches," Tim Callan, RetailNext's chief marketing officer, told Yahoo! Shine. "We can tell if you're standing in front of peanut butter instead of jelly. Wi-Fi gives a range of about 10 feet, so I could say you're in the shoe department, but not where you are in the shoe department."

So, which statement is true, I wonder? Is it accurate to a few inches, or ten feet? It always raises red flags with me when corporate or government mouthpieces contradict themselves in the same statement. Which leads me to believe there's nothing benign about it, that it's just another facet of the 'Big Brother" surveillance/police state.

[-] -2 points by Stormcrow3 (-15) from New York, NY 9 months ago

Is this an indication that "no one" has "privacy anymore?. Geez, and to think that everyone is in an uproar about the government spying on them.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4020) 9 months ago

Is countermeasure product possible?

[-] 1 points by itsmyblood (10) 9 months ago

it's called a gun a believe.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4020) 9 months ago

Was hoping for something electronic.

[-] 1 points by itsmyblood (10) 9 months ago

like freaking sharks with lazer beams?

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 9 months ago

"FILM THE POLICE" B. Dolan ft. Toki Wright, Jasiri X, Buddy P

"privacy" has been record since the 90s

let's focus on having a transparent government

[-] 1 points by itsmyblood (10) 9 months ago

lets focus on disassembling the current power structures.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 9 months ago

let's focus on government transparency

[-] 1 points by itsmyblood (10) 9 months ago

never happen. the current power structures will not allow for that to occur.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 9 months ago

the current power structure is a small organization of people

[-] 1 points by itsmyblood (10) 9 months ago

go ahead say it with me now. illuminati.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 9 months ago

out numbered

immersion

overgrown

obsolete

[-] -2 points by Stormcrow3 (-15) from New York, NY 9 months ago

Yah, it only works on cars with "front/rear" license plates like NY, Boston, Conn, etc. So for those of us who only have one license plate on the rear of our vehicle we are safe.

[-] 1 points by itsmyblood (10) 9 months ago

huh??? dude we have rear only plates in TN and cameras and police towers are everywhere.