Tuesday, March 19, 2013

NYPD license plate cameras capable of recording every vehicle entering/ leaving the city

Lincoln Tunnel New Jersey Entrance

According to the Huffington Post, NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced plans to "install license plate reader cameras 'in every lane of traffic on all of the bridges and tunnels that serve as entrances and exits to Manhattan.'"  Kelly says the NYPD currently has "complete coverage on th Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges and the Battery and Holland Tunnels," with additional bridges receiving plate readers by summer.  The readers can capture the license plate numbers along with the time and place, which can then add this information to a police database.  The information can be stored for up to five years.

Following Kelly's announcement, the New York Civil Liberties Union sued both the NYPD and the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to gather more information on the cameras.  “License plate readers have the potential to track, record and store information forever on every single motorist on our streets, regardless of whether drivers are actually suspected of any crimes or not,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. “We need legal protections to limit the collection, retention and sharing of our travel information.”

According to a New York Times report, the NYPD has collected 16 million license plates so far in its database.

Along with the plate readers, the Commisioner also said the department has added a high resolution camera to one of the police helicopters and was interested in flying unmanned drones to fly over demonstrations.

What do you think about Commissioner Kelly's plans?  Necessary to keep the city safe or invasion of privacy?

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