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Minneapolis Police Catalog License Plates and Location Data 289

Posted by timothy
from the land-of-10000-cameras dept.
tripleevenfall writes "The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Minneapolis police used automated scanning technology to log location data for over 800,000 license plates in June alone, with 4.9 million scans having taken place this year. The data includes the date, time, and location where the plate was seen. Worse, it appears this data is compiled and stored for up to a year and is disclosed to anyone who asks for it."
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Minneapolis Police Catalog License Plates and Location Data

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2012 @07:31PM (#40953425)
    So I could request and get this data? Sounds like it could be fun to play with.
  • by ZipK (1051658) on Friday August 10, 2012 @07:33PM (#40953439)
    Someone should log the Minneapolis police; somehow I think they'd object.
  • Re:Lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scutter (18425) on Friday August 10, 2012 @07:36PM (#40953451) Journal

    And nothing will come of it. The police will continue to do things exactly as they are now, and we'll continue to lose more of our privacy and civil rights every day. Oh, perhaps they'll throw us a bone by making it harder (although not impossible) to obtain their stored data, but the data will still be there. They won't give up that "valuable tool in the War Against Crime" and the courts will side with them, as they always have when this sort of thing comes up.

    Start voting for politicians who will protect your rights and stop voting for just whichever idiot happens to be a member of your party.

  • Re:Lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dmitrygr (736758) <dmitrygr@gmail.com> on Friday August 10, 2012 @07:38PM (#40953471) Homepage
    > Start voting for politicians who will protect your rights

    I'd love to. Show me one
  • Re:Lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scutter (18425) on Friday August 10, 2012 @07:42PM (#40953517) Journal

    > Start voting for politicians who will protect your rights

    I'd love to. Show me one

    You'll never see one as long as people keep voting for the status quo. When politicians start understanding that we're sick of this crap and that we won't put up with their poor leadership, then they'll start to change and we'll start getting better candidates. That will never happen, though.

  • How to fix this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Friday August 10, 2012 @07:46PM (#40953541)

    Step 1 : Request data on every member of the City Council (or whatever the local government equivalent is).
    Step 2 : Find out who's "daily routine" includes frequent trips to a local strip club, and who is spending the night at locations not their home.
    Step 3 : Publish anonymously in wikileaks.
    Step 4 : Watch this policy change amazingly fast.

  • Re:Lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Friday August 10, 2012 @07:46PM (#40953545)

    Most people don't care about privacy as much as they care about wedge issues. Sad but true.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2012 @07:56PM (#40953593)

    Or just don't go out and commit crimes you low-life scoundrels !! This is for your protection, which is our job !! You think we want to do this just because we can ?? We don't it because it is our duty !! And so we can pay Intergraph 58 million dollars. Besides, we got the money for all those cameras from Homeland. Use it or lose it !! We are The Government !!

  • by Mr 44 (180750) on Friday August 10, 2012 @08:00PM (#40953619)

    This is apparently the logic that actual police use.

  • by knapkin (665863) on Friday August 10, 2012 @08:00PM (#40953627)
    Granted you did point out a legitimate bias as the lean is that all capture of license plates is bad (something I'm admittedly on the fence about).

    For me the real problem is the logging and storing. For each of the legitimate use cases you outlined, there should be no need to store license plates for anyone to whom those use cases do not apply.

    For instance, let's just look at the stolen vehicle use case. As soon as the license plate number is processed (i.e. the image processing software has done it's job and associated an actual number to the image), a query is made against stolen vehicles. If the license plate is not for a stolen vehicle, the image and logs are deleted. You may argue that 12-24 hours of activity are needed, so I could see a data log that is that long being legitimate since it might take a day or so to notice that your car is missing.

    A similar process could be applied to each use case you outlined. I would be interested in use cases you can identify that make a year's worth of logs sound legit.
  • Re:Lawsuit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Friday August 10, 2012 @08:19PM (#40953735) Journal

    I'd love to. Show me one

    Is that how it works? Everything has to be spoon fed? How about all of you go out and conscript somebody for office. Give him a secretary, and tell him, like it or not, he's stuck there for a four year term. It's the only way you're going to get an honest one, because you all should know by now that anybody who wants the job should probably be locked up in a padded cell... in a straightjacket.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday August 10, 2012 @08:30PM (#40953815)
    Says someone who has most likely never actually looked outside of the US or Europe. There are plenty of places that are quite safe despite having very little or no police presence. You look at the biggest causes of violence in the world and the answer is simple: the state. Look at the drug cartels, do you really think that drug cartels would exist if the drugs they were selling were legal? Of course not. Nearly all organized crime exists because of the state prohibiting the sale of goods where there is an inelastic demand.

    It is perfectly possible to have harmony and peace without having a police state.
  • by DeadboltX (751907) on Friday August 10, 2012 @08:31PM (#40953817)
    Can I put a camera on my front yard that records license plates, and then feed that into a computer system that creates similar logs?.

    Can I put a camera on the roof of my business to do this?

    Can Starbucks or McDonalds put a camera on top of every store location and track vehicles nationwide?
  • At least it's open (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Friday August 10, 2012 @08:31PM (#40953821) Homepage

    While I think it's a shit policy and would prefer that they don't do it, I do have to say I do like the fact that it is open to anyone. To me, if law enforcement is gathering this type of information, it should be available to anyone. That way, we can keep track of the police and politicians as well as they keep track of us. The same things goes for public "safety" cameras. While I would prefer to not have any, if they are going to do them, they should be open to anyone to be able to watch.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday August 10, 2012 @08:37PM (#40953859)

    Someone should log the Minneapolis police; somehow I think they'd object.

    Actually, in Minnesota, you can be charged with a felony for giving people any warning of an upcoming speed trap. You can also be charged with one for providing information about the police' whereabouts. The first thing authority does whenever it violates your privacy is exempt itself from similar treatment. This is how you periodically hear about an off-duty police officer in plain clothes getting into a fight with someone -- even if they were the aggressor, and even if they fail to identify themselves as a police officer, the other person still goes to jail for many years for striking an officer. Or that case of how a man accidentally bumped into the President in a crowd, while waiting to shake his hand, and was then carried away by the Secret Service and held without a trial for several months because he "made a physical threat against the President."

    Government agents can abuse whomever they want, whenever they want, for as long as they want. And you will take it, Citizen, or things will get even worse for you... as well as your family and friends.

  • Re:Lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Friday August 10, 2012 @09:26PM (#40954173) Journal

    This "ideal America". It actually existed? Despite the Indian wars, slavery, The Aliens and Sedition act, whiskey (and various others) rebellion, etc.? Might be a good idea to reread your history there. It wasn't exactly peaches and cream between the states and the feds then either. All things considered, I feel better off in the here and now. Either way, the "system" cannot prevent us from electing who we wish into office, not until somebody puts a gun to our heads and tells us who to vote for.

  • Re:Lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Saturday August 11, 2012 @12:45AM (#40955017) Homepage

    About the only politicians that people actually like are the "long shot" candidates like Ron Paul, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Naturally, they have no shot in winning...

    It is people constantly worried about winning or losing to the other evil that is the main problem. A third party candidate doesn't have to win to cause a victory for America. All a third party candidate has to do is show the status quo Demoplicans or Republocrats that it is the 1/3 of voters (independents) who decide elections and that they aren't speaking to those voters anymore.

    The only way to get there is to make your voice heard by NOT voting for Mr. Brain Cancer (D) or Mr. Ebola (R). If it becomes clear to Mr. Cancer and Democrats that he lost an election because independent liberal minded voters went with Stein instead of him, then the party is going to do something (hopefully beyond mere rhetoric) to try to appeal to those voters. If they don't they'll never be in power again, and that's a mighty incentive.

    Here's the key though: you have to be willing to take a short term loss for the long term win.

    So for someone like me who is very worried about civil liberties, the worst vote I could make is to vote for Obama because all he has done is make what was radical under GWB, the new normal. If I vote for him, I give Democrats the green light to be even worse. The only way to drive Democrats back to pretending to care about civil rights, is to make it clear that liberal voters abandoned Obama. However, if I use my protest vote for Romney, it will be heard by the Democrats as a suggestion to be even more neo-con than they are currently acting. That option is as bad as voting for Obama. And of course, not voting would just lump me in with the apathetic so it would gain me nothing.

    That leaves me with one rational vote: Jill Stein. She is strong on civil liberties and on the ballot. It's actually a very plain choice for anyone who thought GWB's policies were evil and doesn't think those same polices become magical and sparkly fine merely because Obama practices them. All those policies liberals hate will just get worse under Obama, but if he loses, there will, at least hopefully, be some pushback.

    A conservative could come up with a similar analysis to vote Buddy Roemer or whoever (fwiw, I've heard him speak and I like him too, I just want my vote to be a clear anti-war, anti-police state vote).

  • Re:Lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Uberbah (647458) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @05:21AM (#40955777)

    No. People care about their own privacy plenty. It's that they are fed misdirection (don't you want law enforcement to catch pedos?) and a lack of other options (both parties for the Patriot Act, NDAA, etc).

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn

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