Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Crime Electronic Frontier Foundation Privacy The Courts Transportation United States Your Rights Online

L.A. Police: All Cars In L.A. Are Under Investigation 405

An anonymous reader writes with a link to an article by the EFF's Jennifer Lynch, carried by Gizmodo, which reports that the L.A. Police Department and L.A. Sheriff's Department "took a novel approach in the briefs they filed in EFF and the ACLU of Southern California's California Public Records Act lawsuit seeking a week's worth of Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) data. They have argued that 'All [license plate] data is investigatory.' The fact that it may never be associated with a specific crime doesn't matter. This argument is completely counter to our criminal justice system, in which we assume law enforcement will not conduct an investigation unless there are some indicia of criminal activity. In fact, the Fourth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution exactly to prevent law enforcement from conducting mass, suspicionless investigations under "general warrants" that targeted no specific person or place and never expired.

ALPR systems operate in just this way. The cameras are not triggered by any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing; instead, they automatically and indiscriminately photograph all license plates (and cars) that come into view. ... Taken to an extreme, the agencies' arguments would allow law enforcement to conduct around-the-clock surveillance on every aspect of our lives and store those records indefinitely on the off-chance they may aid in solving a crime at some previously undetermined date in the future. If the court accepts their arguments, the agencies would then be able to hide all this data from the public."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

L.A. Police: All Cars In L.A. Are Under Investigation

Comments Filter:
  • by FuzzNugget ( 2840687 ) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @07:03PM (#46559859)
    Just LA? I assure you, everyone in *every western nation* is an *actual* criminal simply by being humanly incapable of knowing every possible or plausible interpretation, combination and permutation of every criminal statute.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 23, 2014 @07:08PM (#46559893)

    I don't know where you got your legal training, but you are plumb wrong on several points.

    To wit: since the middle of the last century at least, police are prohibited from harassing individuals not suspected of a crime. They may *not* follow you excessively, even on a freeway in a marked car, waiting for you to make an error so they can charge you. Nor may they do similar in person. Case law substantiates this.

  • Re:Big Government (Score:2, Informative)

    by AutodidactLabrat ( 3506801 ) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @07:50PM (#46560165)
    Actually, BOTH parties are interested, but thanks to the culture war (by the right) neither can make a shred of headway.
    This is all about pretending the hippies lost.
  • Re:Big Government (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 23, 2014 @08:19PM (#46560359)

    So...don't vote Republican?
    Government is smaller under Obama, and the Bush tax increase was stopped by his continuation of the tax cuts for the rich.








    US Government spending, 2008, (last budget sign by Bush II) []: $2.9 trillion

    US govt spending, 2013 []: $3.8 trillion

    What color is the sky on a planet where going from $2.9 trillion to 3.8 trillion in 5 years is smaller?


  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 23, 2014 @09:37PM (#46560735)

    You are wrong. See Katz and post Katz cases. Here is a quote from Alito's concurrance in the most recent one, Jones, where the court found that the cops cant put a tracker on your car:

    Second, the Court’s approach leads to incongruous results. If the police attach a GPS device to a car and use the device to follow the car for even a brief time, under the Court’s theory, the Fourth Amendment applies. But if the police follow the same car for a much longer period using unmarked cars and aerial assistance, this tracking is not subject to any Fourth Amendment constraints.

    or maybe you like the EFF's analysis [] better:

    Public places. It may sound obvious, but you have little to no privacy when you are in public. When you are in a public place — whether walking down the sidewalk, shopping in a store, sitting in a restaurant or in the park — your actions, movements, and conversations are knowingly exposed to the public. That means the police can follow you around in public and observe your activities, see what you are carrying or to whom you are talking, sit next to you or behind you and listen to your conversations — all without a warrant. You cannot necessarily expect Fourth Amendment protection when you’re in a public place, even if you think you are alone. Fourth Amendment challenges have been unsuccessfully brought against police officers using monitoring beepers to track a suspect’s location in a public place, but it is unclear how those cases might apply to more pervasive remote monitoring, like using GPS or other cell phone location information to track a suspect’s physical location.

    Feel free to quote some laws, cases, lawyers, or professors that support your theory that the police following you is harassment and/or illegal.

  • Re:Big Government (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @09:53PM (#46560811) Homepage Journal

    You forgot, Iraq was off the books.

  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @11:00PM (#46561073)

    The word Soviet has been reinterpreted to mean tyranny. A lot like the 4th Amendment to the Constitution has been reinterpreted to mean pretty much nothing at all by US law enforcement and a lot of US courts. That's how the government gets around the limitations of the US Constitution. They simply reinterpret it to mean what they'd like it to say. Problem solved.

  • Re:Big Government (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @12:22AM (#46561397) Homepage Journal

    Have a look []. Then Google.

    Don't forget 'deferred costs'.

    The same people who are happy to demand that the USPS save up for the retirement of employees not even born yet are also perfectly happy to not count any of the future costs we have committed to in the war.

    But to the broader point, for the last several decades it's been the Republicans running the huge deficits (even while talking about 'small' government). Clinton actually got us to a budget *SURPLUS* briefly, but GW Bush took care of that!

    Obama hasn't done as well, but then he inherited an economic disaster of epic proportions.

  • by khellendros1984 ( 792761 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @01:53PM (#46565581) Journal
    The online etymology dictionary [] states that using "mall" in the sense of "an enclosed shopping gallery" dates from 1963. Calling that part of DC "The Mall" dates from a map made in 1802.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus