Monday, July 22, 2013


License plate scanners were in the news recently. The new Lexington Parking Authority has at least one car equipped with these scanners. As it drives down a street it records  license plates from both sides, and computer software tells the operator if there’s a “hit.”

A “hit” would mean that car has three or more unpaid parking tickets. A call is made, and soon a “boot” is placed on that car, immobilizing it until the owner pays the tickets.

Good idea. Law violators should pay up and not avoid fines.

Why not go a step further? Let police load stolen car plates into LexPark’s software and search for those vehicles ,too.  Why limit it to just parking tickets as long as we’re out there looking? The police can use all the help we can give them. This seems such  an obvious way to help.

But, The American civil Liberties Union points out police in 38 states are already doing various forms of license plate scanning,  and there are no uniform rules and regulations for handling this information..especially storing it.

ACLU’s survey shows Grapevine, Texas has stored 2 million plates; Milpitas, California, a town of 68,000, has 4.7 million plates stored. Maryland has been storing such data for a long time, but its own records show out of every million plates recorded, but 47 have any relation to a potential crime.

Technology can be a useful tool, but I would encourage LexPark or the LPD to store such records only as long as  they may be needed for a court case. After that, they should all be erased and recycled..saving taxpayers money and ending the specter of Big Brother’s long nose being stuck, needlessly, into the business of Lexington drivers.

With NSA recording our phone calls and e-mails, with the Post office photographing all our mail, this is one more possibility for unnecessary intrusion into our lives we don’t need..and we should nip it in the bud…now.

I'm just sayin'...

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