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Transportation Privacy

Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men 352

Posted by Soulskill
from the crowdsourced-eyes-and-ears dept.
v3rgEz writes "Even as some police departments curtail their use of license plate scanning technology over privacy concerns, private companies have been amassing a much larger, almost completely unregulated database that pulls in billions of scans a year, marking the exact time and location of millions of vehicles across America. The database, which is often offered to law enforcement for free, is collected by repo and towing companies eager to tap easy revenue, while the database companies then resell that data, often for as little as $25 for a plate's complete recorded history."
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Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

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  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @03:12PM (#46411337)
    ... in any modern, developed country.

    Oh wait ...

  • Re:Shazbot! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @03:20PM (#46411455) Homepage Journal

    what else is new

    Well, in this case it's some capitalists taking advantage of a business opportunity to spy on you. What bothers me is I don't recall signing any sort of release on this, when someone wants to look where I've been driving my car.

    Which is worse, the government spying on you or business, which then sells the info, perhaps to someone who could be interested in robbing you or kidnapping your child, and using this sort of information as a resource?

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @03:23PM (#46411479)

    Takking a photo in public should be freakishly illegal in a "modern, developed country"?

    I thought we got up in arms when the government stopped us from photographing public buildings, and you want to make it possible to sue private citizens taking photos in public? What sort of statist, authoritarian nightmare constitutes "modern" in your world?

  • Re:Consumer debt. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @03:24PM (#46411495) Homepage Journal

    Before financing, people had large bank balances in this account type (I swear I amd not making this up) called 'Savings'. Banks actually paid people interest, rather than collecting it on all their debt. The banks borrowed from depositors for loans rather than borrowing from the Federal Reserve for nearly free.

    The concept of this makes the mind reel. I may have to take out a loan and buy myself some aspirin.

  • The solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @03:33PM (#46411583)
    Open sources scanner software that works with a cheap USB camera and license plate wiki - that stores every scanned tag with number and state data. How fast do you think it would take legislators to decide it was a bad idea and outlaw scanners? Probably a few seconds after one of their own gets asked some embarrassing questions. The best way to fight such privacy threats is to embrace and extend their use to those in power.
  • Re:Consumer debt. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Timothy Hartman (2905293) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @03:39PM (#46411667)
    With the low low interest rates you would be a fool not to refinance your house and take out a home equity loan to purchase said aspirin.
  • Re:Shazbot! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimbolauski (882977) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @03:40PM (#46411673) Journal

    Well, in this case it's some capitalists taking advantage of a business opportunity to spy on you. What bothers me is I don't recall signing any sort of release on this, when someone wants to look where I've been driving my car.

    You don't have to sign a release to be recorded in public as you have no expectation of privacy. Unless a law is passed making it illegal use public images to track an individual or vehicle there is nothing to stop this sort of thing.

  • Re:Consumer debt. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by EasyComputer (797633) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @03:57PM (#46411839)

    The above post was modded down, but I think it makes a valid point. Consumer Debt, creates an artificial "abundance" which plays into a common weakness of human beings. "If I have excess let me use it" We all know that we are in debt, but because the repayment of debt is not immediate, extra funds are used to buy luxury items instead of being used to pay down debt faster. The guy below said it much better.

    I was talking with a bunch of folks recently, and I pointed out that consumer debt is relatively new. Sure there were layaway plans and credit with an individual store - your tab, but this huge industry that throws money out left and right to basically make us slaves.

    I think many of our societies problems can go back to consumer debt: these invasions of privacy, college costs going through the roof, this treadmill of consumerism: cars, electronics, luxury goods.

    All in all, things were a bit better when credit wasn't so easily available.

    Before Henry Ford started financing his cars, folks had to have the cash; which made cars a luxury item. And most people had to take public transportation - which was viable because few people had cars. And of course, we wouldn't need all this oil if we didn't have so many cars.

    When you sit down and think about it, consumer credit has really distorted our economy. We all have lost the need and desire to save.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @04:08PM (#46411977)

    The taking a picture part isn't the problem. The problem happens when you collate all those pictures and index them such that it becomes more stalker like in nature.

    So you want to ban computers using information in ways you don't like? Good luck enforcing that.

  • Re:Shazbot! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @04:32PM (#46412219)

    Goddammit, this shit needs to stop NOW.

    We need to establish the understanding that there is a significant distinction between OBSERVING and RECORDING.

    Yes, it is reasonable to say that you shouldn't expect privacy in a public setting, but this has historically been in the context of observation, not recording. The ubiquity and accessibility of modern recording devices completely alters the dynamic. Observation forgets, relinquishes and carries with it an element of humanity. Recording is cold, factual and unforgiving. This can be useful for some things (court proceedings, for example), but not everything; probably not most things.

    No, you shouldn't expect privacy from individuals or the press. Yes, should be able to expect privacy from government and businesses who make recordings to be used against you.

    Context is everything.

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