Plate Recognition Spreading Like Cancer


An ATS ANPR device quietly targets east-west movement on McDowell Road in Scottsdale, AZ before its exposure and subsequent removal.

An ATS ANPR device quietly targets east-west movement on McDowell Road in Scottsdale, AZ before its exposure and subsequent removal.

Automatic License Plate Recognition is spreading worldwide like a cancer as governments become eager to track the movement of their citizens, many times under the guise of homeland security.

Arizona has become a hot testbed for such technology, starting first when Show Low decided to track their population like tagged cattle by using Redflex scam cams. One month later, CameraFRAUD discovered the technology being secretly tested in Scottsdale by American Traffic Solutions. The public exposure led to the equipment being quietly removed.

Of course, the Grand Canyon State’s largest and most advanced system for potential tracking would be the statewide automated ticketing system run by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Redflex. Composed of fixed and mobile units, Redflex has made it clear within the contract with the state that license plate tracking is available at the flip of a switch (assuming they aren’t testing it now like a kid in a candy store.)

Our friends across the pond are even further down the Orwellian rabbit hole, as the BBC reports:

A national network of cameras and computers automatically logging car number plates will be in place within months, the BBC has learned.

Thousands of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras are already operating on Britain’s roads. Police forces across England, Wales and Scotland will soon be able to share the information on one central computer… A number of local councils are signing up their Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems to the ANPR network. As long as the cameras are technically good enough, they can be adapted to take the software…

But not everyone thinks it is such a good thing.

John Catt found himself on the wrong side of the ANPR system. He regularly attends anti-war demonstrations outside a factory in Brighton, his home town. It was at one of these protests that Sussex police put a “marker” on his car. That meant he was added to a “hotlist”. This is a system meant for criminals but John Catt has not been convicted of anything and on a trip to London, the pensioner found himself pulled over by an anti-terror unit.

“I was threatened under the Terrorist Act. I had to answer every question they put to me, and if there were any questions I would refuse to answer, I would be arrested. I thought to myself, what kind of world are we living in?”

14 Responses to Plate Recognition Spreading Like Cancer

  1. I was just about to post the link to that story.

    Where’s the “Just don’t speed and you have nothing to worry about” crowd?

    They need to change their story toL “Just don’t speed or protest any wars and you have nothing to worry about.” Of course, protesting a war is probably just one of many things that will get you put on a terror list.

    Finally, at least we have a concrete example to show the simpletons who think the privacy issue is just about having your picture taken.

    • BJ says:

      ““Just don’t speed and you have nothing to worry about” crowd?”
      *************
      People generally don’t care. They’re too busy doing whatever they do, and they don’t have the time or nerves to worry about every threat coming their way.

      That’s why we need to get the petition on the ballot. I’m hoping that the base desire to not get a ticket or to not be watched overpowers the base desire to “screw the other guy”… We’ll see…

  2. Wow, another great example of DPS/Redflex incompetence at its finest. http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2009/05/26/20090526tuelets268-CR-CR.html

    Is this the impression that our officials really want to have for potential tourists? We’ll have two people sign your ticket but we won’t bother to match the plate and vehicle description? We’re so desperate for cash and we know you’ll probably pay rather than fight it so send it anyway? How disgusting.

  3. There’s good and bad uses for all technology – let’s just hope that the good uses prevail in this case.

  4. Glyph says:

    The story certainly illustrates the flaws of the photo enforcement program. To be honest, I’m surprised the AZRepublic even published the article. Seriously, Mike Ferraresi should’ve been all over this.

    At least he alerted the Troll Squad… you know, the ones that post pro-camera, anti-CameraFRAUD.com comments that try to detract from the point of the original story.

  5. fukMDscameras says:

    Amen to the Washington Post! That was an excellent article, much better than the pro-camera one they let one of their bonehead editors write after the bill passed. I noticed on the MRE Facebook Group that a lot of people in the DC/MD area were being awakened to the petition effort due to this article.

  6. Law A. BidingTroll says:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-05-25-licenses_N.htm?se=yahoorefer

    its all starting to come together!! oh how i wish i could be there when the lowly DMV person, who is just doing their job and not part of the conspiracy ..asks doc not to smile ( not that doc has anything to smile about since he has to live in this terrible country and all)

  7. Glyph says:

    Indeed. Kudos to the MRE group for forming the opposition and getting the Washington Post’s attention. The exposure they’ll get because of the article is priceless.

  8. RPr says:

    On May 19, 2008 a Northumbria, UK police officer received an Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) alert about a passing Renault Megane automobile. Believing the vehicle could be driven by a dangerous criminal, the officer began following the Renault and hit speeds of 94 MPH in a residential neighborhood without using his siren. After cresting a hill, the police Volvo slammed into and killed sixteen-year-old pedestrian Hayley Adamson who did not see the police car coming. It turns out the database was wrong and the driver being chased was completely innocent. (View video of the incident up to the moment of the crash). British authorities have been using ANPR for several years, working to centralize ANPR data to allow police to keep tabs on criminals and political opponents. A data center in North London offers real-time, nationwide tracking capability. Australian and American red light camera companies hope to offer the same centralized tracking services in the US.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWv5Arm2N94 video

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/27/2791.asp

    • Will Kay says:

      Fantastic find RPr! I wonder how publicized this info was made. What a tragedy for that young lady. At 16 you haven’t even begun to live yet. My thoughts go out to the family.

      • Law A. BidingTroll says:

        another post about something that happened in another country…so if someone who is suspected by LE “runs”
        what were they supposed to do? let him go? what happened was tragic… but it certainly does help out my argument that speeding kills people!!!

  9. Doc says:

    ALL-Just got this offa’ WorldNetDaily. This is extremely scary. Der Fraulien napolitano, & her Co-horts in crime over there in Washington, D.C., as I’ve been sayin’, DON’T BELIEVE IN TH’ CONSTITUTION!

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=99352

    Remember…BE PREPARED!!!-Doc from Prescott

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