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ICE can now track license plates all over America

ICE can now track license plates all over America

As with any law enforcement tool, its mere existence does not immediately connote abuse or civil rights violations, but a system like this would give an administration obsessed with halting and reversing immigration of both documented and undocumented people unprecedented ability to track down almost anyone it wanted.

An online technology magazine called The Verge reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement now has a contract with the leading national network of license plate recognition data.

Each snapshot included in the database includes the license plate number, the attached vehicle's make and model, the state of registration, the Global Positioning System coordinates, and a timestamp, according to a "privacy impact assessment" released by DHS. "ICE does not take any enforcement action against an individual based exclusively on the results of a query".

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Civil liberties groups believe the massive surveillance system with real-time location tracking is problematic on several fronts. This particular use case has extra poignancy now in the wake of large-scale raids by ICE agents. "Illegal aliens will not find safe harbor in NY".

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Vigilant Solutions declined to confirm if it was the supplier of the database for ICE but the agency has previously "identified a number of benefits from the use of commercial LPR data" as it can help provide clues about where a subject might be located as well as "identify connections between a auto and an address known for criminal activity".

ICE has reached a deal with Vigilant Solutions, a top source for license plate data, to gain access to the firm's database of billions of license plates.

LPR technology isn't new but the contract with ICE has a number of people anxious.

But the ACLU of Northern California argues Vigilant is creating a private database of our license plates, and its willingness to give the data to ICE may indicate the company's willingness to use our information in ways its local partners didn't envision.

And as far back as 2012, ICE has tested the use of a license plate database to locate fugitives. The search results, once yielded, include two photographs of the vehicle, the nearest address to where the photographs were captured, Global Positioning System coordinates and time and date information for the photos.


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