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DEA Highway Cams Capturing - and Retaining - Photos of Car Trips


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According to this article, beginning in about 2008 the US DEA began a program of taking photographs of every car (including license plate) moving along certain highways near Mexico. Later the system was expanded to include highway cameras in other areas. The photographs are apparently kept for more than six months and the ACLU says that while they were once available to only Federal agencies they now appear to be available to any local, state or federal agency employee who has been "vetted" by the DEA.




No court oversight on the program has me worried; along with the fact that law enforcement agencies, which can (and will) arrest and prosecute you has access to this data. NSA and CIA, which are not law enforcement agencies and have no powers of arrest or prosecution (not to mention no legal ability to mount operations inside the US and have court and have both Congressional oversight) are scary enough. But I am not comfortable with police agencies (and tax collection agencies) monitoring where I might be traveling.



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Your local U.S. police department has likely already turned to surveillance cameras that can automatically read all visible license plates on passing cars. Such license plate readers can do more than help find stolen vehicles or robbers' getaway cars—they have begun to transform law enforcement by allowing officers to home in on criminal hideouts by tracking crime patterns over time. But that powerful capability goes hand-in-hand with worries about the privacy of ordinary, law-abiding citizens as police departments store license plate and location information for longer periods of time.

As many as 70 percent of local U.S. police departments already use license plate reader systems, according to a new RAND report. The technology first pioneered by the UK in the 1990s to fight Irish Republican Army terrorism has since become popular among U.S. law enforcement, mainly for the purpose of tracking down stolen vehicles. Yet police departments are discovering that the technology, combined with growing license plate databases, can also rapidly identify suspect vehicles in the vicinity of a crime or help figure out the centers of criminal activity such as "chop shops" dealing in stolen vehicles.



Lots of good reading here, like the organization or not.



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  • "First they came for the Jews

    and I did not speak out

    because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for the Communists

    and I did not speak out

    because I was not a Communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists

    and I did not speak out

    because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me

    and there was no one left

    to speak out for me."

  • Martin Niemöller
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You ever notice the cameras located at the Border Patrol checkpoints along along highways close to the border? Why do they need those to see if you are a citizen or not?



Not all of those are camera's, some are detectors looking for all kinds of chemicals and radiation emissions.



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