You local police department may be tracking your every move. A new report from the ACLU shows that automatic license plate readers are snapping photos of our cars, even when we're not speeding or running a red light. And, those photos are being stored in mega databases just like our phone and internet data, which is being captured by the NSA. According to the ACLU, cameras mounted on police cars, bridges, traffic lights, and other objects record the plate number, time, and location for every passing car.
At first, law enforcement agencies only used that information to check for stolen cars, or to act on arrest warrants, but now many police forces are storing those images indefinitely. This information could potentially be used to document where you drive, who you associate with, or even how long you were there. Law enforcement is no longer keeping this information only on those found guilty of a crime, they're storing data on everyone to prove criminal activity at some later date. That's the reason the ACLU is exposing this surveillance program. They say the government shouldn't be watching our every move, just in case we commit a crime later.
As is the case with the NSA surveillance programs, government officials contend that this supposedly-modest invasion of our privacy is necessary to find criminals and keep us safe. However, the ACLU and various privacy advocates do not agree. They say that there is no justifiable reason for the federal government to monitor our phone and internet activity, and no reason our every move should be photographed and stored by local governments.
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