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Ark. police photograph license plates, store data

http://news.yahoo.com/ark-police-...-plates-store-data-180420324.html

3/2/13
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) Little Rock may not be a likely terrorism target or a gang crime hotspot, but the Arkansas capital has decided to follow the example of high-security cities by expanding electronic surveillance of its streets.

A police car with a device that photographs license plates moves through the city and scans the traffic on the streets, relaying the data it collects to a computer for sifting. Police say the surveillance helps identify stolen cars and drivers with outstanding arrest warrants.

It also allows authorities to monitor where average citizens might be at any particular time. That bothers some residents, as well as groups that oppose public intrusions into individual privacy. The groups are becoming more alarmed about license plate tracking as a growing number of police departments acquire the technology.

Though authorities in Washington, D.C., London and Chicago conduct extensive electronic surveillance of public areas to detect security threats or deter gang crime, "Today, increasingly, even towns without stoplights have license plate readers," said Catherine Crump, a New York-based staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

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