Monday, February 17, 2014

License plate tracking, its the new awesome.

Old and busted: cellphone tracking.

New sweetness: license plate tracking!

The Department of Homeland Security is now seeking a vendor to build and operate a smartphone-based national database of vehicle license plate information that would be shared with law enforcement.

Under the DHS plan, an agent could snap a photo with a smartphone, upload it to the database, and immediately be notified whether the plate is on a "hot list" of "target vehicles."

"This system is supposed to be for the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement branch of DHS, for the tracking of illegal immigrants," says WTOP National Security Correspondent J.J. Green.

ICE spokesperson Gillian Christensen tells Federal News Radio, "the database could only be accessed in conjunction with ongoing criminal investigations."

DHS officially solicited the vendor on the Federal Business Opportunities website, for a National License Plate Recognition Database.

Green says a similar plate recognition system has been in use in the United Kingdom, using an extensive network of closed-circuit television cameras.

"It pretty much catches all the movements of cars, people, buses - pretty much anything that moves, at least in the cities," says Green.

If I had to guess, I'd say the "DHS is now seeking a vendor" part is probably bullshit, because we know that lots of US state police have been doing extensive license plate capture for at least five years now. Just a matter of connecting up the databases, and the NSA already does that, don't they?

Forgiveness is easier to get than permission.

Meaning just leaving your phone at home is not enough. You'll have to have James Bond license plate switcher things for the plate tracking and Groucho Marx nose glasses to foil the facial recognition. Or a bandana and a can of spray paint.  Or DUCT TAPE and a hoodie.

Somebody out there is REALLY interested in knowing every fricking place you go, aren't they? Alarming? I think so!

The Phantom


ZZMike said...

A recent news story tells how Del Taco, in an effort to improve their service, lets you phone in an order.

Then they GPS-track you to find out where you are, so they'll know how long it'll take you to get there, so your taco can be nice and toasty hot.

If I were of a conspiratorial frame of mind, I might believe that the Smart Phone is a government-planted device, so useful that everybody wants one, but lets Them keep tabs on you.

black mamba said...

"Forgiveness is easier to get than permission."

Nice epigram.

The Phantom said...

I can't take credit, its a condensed form of an American military saying.

I just looked it up, turns out the author of that bit of genius was Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.

"It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."

As quoted in the U.S. Navy's Chips Ahoy magazine (July 1986)

Grace Hopper wrote the FIRST compiler for a computer programming language. Obviously an Aspie, she also said:

"Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise."