First They Came For Free Travel: ICE Agents Will Access Massive License Plate Database in Real Time

Posted by on February 3, 2018 in Government, Politics, Spying and Surveillance with 0 Comments

 

By Claire S. Bernish | The Mind Unleashed

A gestapo-style crackdown on immigrants in the United States illegally undoubtedly pleases nationalists eager to “take their country back” from the perceived threat such people might pose to, for instance, the menial physical labor job pool — but the zeal with which Dreamers and workers and asylum-seekers have been rounded up and deported overshadows the methods ICE agents have at their disposal — and any one of them could and may already have been used against you.

In fact, the Verge reported Friday U.S. will now be privy to a capacious database of license plates — data reaped by private corporations in the course of standard operations by automated license-plate readers, such as agencies tasked with vehicle repossession, but also that from various levels of law enforcement, including material collected by patrol-car mounted cameras — in what has been widely reported a dire portent of the agency’s scorched earth immigration tactics allowed to flourish under President Trump.


ICE signed a contract with Vigilant Solutions, according to the Verge, giving the government agency the ability to peer into the information for some two billion license plates it has amassed over the years in partnership with private firms and local law enforcement — data collected by now-ubiquitous plate-readers around the U.S.

As terrifying as that should be, two camps of thought dismiss the plan as either necessary to carry out the law or that ICE accessing the information pertaining to billions of wholly innocent Americans is just not that big a deal.

Both camps are dead wrong — for a plethora of constitutional rights-eradicating reasons.

Details the Verge [emphasis added]:

“While it collects few photos itself, Vigilant Solutions has amassed a database of more than 2 billion license plate photos by ingesting data from partners like vehicle repossession agencies and other private groups. Vigilant also partners with local law enforcement agencies, often collecting even more data from camera-equipped police cars. The result is a massive vehicle-tracking network generating as many as 100 million sightings per month, each tagged with a date, time, and GPS coordinates of the sighting.


“ICE agents would be able to query that database in two ways. A historical search would turn up every place a given license plate has been spotted in the last five years, a detailed record of the target’s movements. That data could be used to find a given subject’s residence or even identify associates if a given car is regularly spotted in a specific parking lot.”

Further still, “ICE agents can also receive instantaneous email alerts whenever a new record of a particular plate is found — a system known internally as a ‘hot list.’ (The same alerts can also be funneled to the Vigilant’s iOS app.) According to the privacy assessment, as many as 2,500 license plates could be uploaded to the hot list in a single batch, although the assessment does not detail how often new batches can be added. With sightings flooding in from police dashcams and stationary readers on bridges and toll booths, it would be hard for anyone on the list to stay unnoticed for long.”

 

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