A fascinating video of the newest police techology: an automatic license plate scanner for instantly identifying stolen vehicles. This system is being deployed now in Toledo, OH, and is rapidly being rolled out by law enforcement agencies in Ohio and nationwide.
The system works by snapping visible and infrared images of every car and plate, running each plates through an optical character recognition system, and instantly matching the number to a database of vehicles. When a flagged car is identified, the officer in the vehicle is instantly alerted to take action while still in proximity to the car.
You can easily see how this can be applied to monitor and scan cars for any number of purposes. Some states are already using this to identify drivers who are operating on a suspended driver’s license, driving without insurance, or if the owner has an outstanding criminal warrant.
And the broader use of this techology is obvious. All plates are identified, stored, and sorted by date, time, and GPS location. This is true even for cars for which there is no problem, or obvious need for the information, but the data is stored somewhere, and can be saved indefinitely.
The historical data can conceivably be used for legitimate law enforcement purposes. For example, if a dangerous fugitive or kidnapper is on the loose, police can comb through the data and find out where his car may have been located months or years past, before there was any issue. This could provide clues to a person’s current whereabouts, or places he is known to visit.
And of course, this information can also be easily used to track and monitor people for no legitimate purpose. But the data is collected and accesssble, without a warrant.
Clearly civil liberties law has not caught up with these new used of technology and monitoring in law enforcement.
If you are charged with a criminal offense in Ohio, please contact our defense attorney for a free legal consultation and criminal case evaluation today!