Rikki Goede, the chief of police in tiny but wealthy Piedmont, CA, is pushing a proposal that would install automatic license plate readers (LPRs) above each of the roads leading into town. Data captured via the LPRs would be retained for a year and it would automatically be transmitted to a regional intelligence database that feeds law enforcement information to the feds. The police department hopes to present its plan to the town government later this year.
What’s the Big Idea?
Piedmont is one of the few towns in America that’s completely surrounded by a larger city — in this case Oakland — and a recent jump in burglaries is what’s motivating this particular proposal. If passed, the town would become the second wealthy community in that part of California to create what’s essentially “a de facto electronic border fence.” Nationwide use of both fixed and mobile LPRs for law enforcement has grown over the last few years despite attempts by civil liberties groups to gain details on how the data collected is being used. Goede says she’s confident her department will put the necessary privacy restrictions in place.
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