DEA Asks For License Plate Scanners of All Cars on Utah Highway

The next wave of Big Brother, courtesy of the DEA:

The DEA and two sheriffs are asking permission to install stationary license plate scanners on the freeway in Beaver and Washington counties. The primary purpose would be to catch or build cases against drug traffickers....

....Gary Newcomb, a supervisory IT specialist from the DEA, flew in from Virginia to testify Wednesday. He said the scanners are already in place on drug trafficking corridors in California and Texas, and the DEA is considering placing them on interstates near the Arizona cities of Kingman and Flagstaff.


The scans could be stored and accessible to the DEA for 2 years:

For long-term investigation.... the digital data would be routed through the police dispatch centers in Beaver and Washington counties to a DEA facility in northern Virginia where it would be stored for two years.

What will they do with the stored data?

The stored data could be used only to research the movements of suspected drug traffickers or to help other law enforcement agencies investigating serious crimes, Newcomb said. The DEA would track who is accessing the data and why, he said.

Funniest line of the article:

[Sheriff] Noel admitted he would be "tempted" to use the scanner data to investigate felony property crimes but would resist.

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  • Display: Sort:
    We already have, (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by NYShooter on Fri May 18, 2012 at 11:51:19 PM EST
    and have had, high speed license plate cameras on many, if not most, police cruisers in NY. I know, I've been "nailed" more than once by those high tech gendarmes. You can be going 60-70 mph down the highway, and a cop doing the same in the other direction.

    Day or night, doesn't matter, coming or going, doesn't matter. One push of the button, your plate is photographed, digitized, and in a second they know everything about you. Speed, insurance, inspection, besides "wants and warrants."

    You're right; welcome to "1984."

    you didn't say... (none / 0) (#11)
    by diogenes on Sat May 19, 2012 at 07:25:55 PM EST
    Were you really speeding (and are grumpy about being caught) or are you saying that you were wrongfully accused and convicted.

    actually, (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by NYShooter on Sat May 19, 2012 at 07:46:48 PM EST
    I wasn't speeding. I was driving my daughter in law's car and the info the cop got from the photo indicated the insurance had expired.

    I had paid the premium on line and the information hadn't been updated to the police yet.

    p.s  fwiw" I'm always grumpy


    elect me president, and my first official (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sat May 19, 2012 at 01:39:37 AM EST
    act will be to abolish the DEA, by executive order.

    if you did your job as poorly as they do their's, you'd have been fired, in fairly short order. roughly 40 years on, and we still haven't "won" the "war on drugs", which is their only reason for being.

    aboilish dea (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by womanwarrior on Sat May 19, 2012 at 03:33:15 PM EST
    Now that would get my vote.

    TIme to start my new business (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Dadler on Sat May 19, 2012 at 10:17:33 AM EST
    Selling license plate frames with middle fingers on them and obscenity-laden anti-Big Brother raps ("I'm ready for my closeup Mr. Orwell.")

    I guess.. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by desertswine on Sat May 19, 2012 at 11:42:30 AM EST
    we're all "drug traffickers" now.

    License Tag Scanners (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Ben Hussey on Sat May 19, 2012 at 04:05:26 PM EST
    This is just another adventure down memory lane for some law makers . At the federal level 7-8 years ago, it was suggested that it would really be good if the Highway Patrol-Troopers were allowed to have a flip down lens that would fit on the sun-visor of their patrol car. It was shot down then, but the courts are different now .

    OT I was taken by your name (none / 0) (#19)
    by sj on Sun May 20, 2012 at 12:03:55 AM EST
    Just last night I was watching some HD video of Franco Zefferelli's "Romeo and Juliet" and marveled again how perfect Olivia Hussey was in that role.  What a lovely and expressive child she was.  Yet another movie I need to rewatch.

    Back on topic, what's scary is how accepting most people are about the really casual surveillance for no good reason whatsoever.  Now I wonder if it would even make it to the courts.


    Taken by my name (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Ben Hussey on Sun May 20, 2012 at 06:17:35 PM EST
    Yes, Olivia came into our family on her dad's side.
    The connections are very complicated . Thank you for noticing .

    WHERE?!? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Addison on Sat May 19, 2012 at 12:16:28 AM EST
    Where's the ACLU or NRA for the 4th Amendment?

    Are you a dues-paid member (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Peter G on Sat May 19, 2012 at 04:00:19 PM EST
    of the ACLU (or of the NRA)?  If not, don't complain if they (we) can't address every civil liberties problem in every community that you happen to hear about.  The ACLU, I know for a fact, does a ton of Fourth Amendment work -- and lots of other issues as well -- and its resources are constantly strained.

    Thank you, Peter (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Zorba on Sat May 19, 2012 at 04:35:20 PM EST
    I am a 20-year+, dues-paying member of the ACLU.  And, by the way, the ACLU is aware of this, and they are making this known on their website.
    For Addison:  give them a frigging break.  They do a whole heck of a lot, and if you want them to do even more, perhaps you, as Peter suggests, should cough up some money.

    Peter misunderstood my comment. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Addison on Sat May 19, 2012 at 08:04:15 PM EST
    And then so did you, piling on to his misreading for no reason.

    I do "cough up money", if by that you mean dues.

    I wasn't attacking the ACLU. I wasn't hassling them. I was holding them up as an exemplar organization for defending rights. So I can't give them a break, I was lauding them.

    How about you don't pile on so fast next time, and give me a break.


    Bleh. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Addison on Sat May 19, 2012 at 08:01:19 PM EST
    Yes, I am (ACLU).

    But I don't think you understood my comment at all.

    If not, don't complain if they (we) can't address every civil liberties problem in every community that you happen to hear about.  The ACLU, I know for a fact, does a ton of Fourth Amendment work -- and lots of other issues as well -- and its resources are constantly strained.

    ...is unnecessarily antagonistic. Just out of the blue nasty. I hope you're just having a bad day or something.

    I'm saying that we have very established and successful organizations for protecting the 1st and 2nd amendments, but the 4th amendment doesn't have a standalone defense organization of the same stature that can dedicate all its resources to defending it -- and it really should given the attack it's under constantly. My comment was a wish, a hope, and a sad statement about how there's not such an organization -- NOT a complaint that the NRA or ACLU weren't talking this issue. Your response was off-base, and so the nastiness is even more pronounced.


    How on earth was anyone supposed to (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Anne on Sat May 19, 2012 at 11:13:49 PM EST
    get all that from your original comment?

    I read it as Peter did; it came across as if you were indignant that the ACLU wasn't on top of this issue.

    I'm glad you explained yourself, but I really don't think you can blame others for not reading into your comment all of the exposition you supplied after the fact.


    Okay. (none / 0) (#18)
    by Addison on Sat May 19, 2012 at 11:32:33 PM EST
    No one was supposed to get "all that" from my comment. That is as full an explanation as possible to clear up any possible confusion -- of course it includes more information than the initial comment. Anyway:

    Where's the ACLU or NRA for the 4th Amendment?

    If I had said:

    Where's the ACLU or NRA on the 4th Amendment?


    Where's the ACLU's or NRA's plan on the 4th Amendment?

    ...I could understand the mass confusion. "Where's the Beatles for rap music?" (asking why rap music doesn't have a Beatles-type band yet) is far different from where's the Beatles on rap music (implying that the Beatles should rap more)? And why would I be indignant that the NRA wasn't involved in 4th amendment issues? I don't get the logic of that interpretation at all. But, again, misinterpretation isn't what made me mad.

    In any case, after I explained myself the totally unnecessary and still off-base condescension from an ACLU representative continued unabated. Which was far more irritating than just the initial misunderstanding -- everyone misunderstands things, that's not such a big deal.

    What's kind of funny is that, as I realized after I posted, I had misunderstood the post and this story isn't even really about the 4th amendment.


    Your comment was certainly not clear, (none / 0) (#15)
    by Peter G on Sat May 19, 2012 at 09:57:32 PM EST
    Addison, if that's what you meant.  And you don't know the ACLU very well if you think it only exists to protect First Amendment rights.  The ACLU's agenda consistently defends rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, among others.  But as a Board member of my state affiliate of the ACLU, I do thank you for your support, and I apologize for misunderstanding you.  I encourage you to learn more about the broad range of issues the ACLU addresses, in addition to its important First Amendment work.

    Bleh 2 (1.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Addison on Sat May 19, 2012 at 10:24:55 PM EST
    Oh Jesus, I understand what the ACLU does. You're still being incredibly condescending for no reason. As a supporter of the ACLU it's incredibly annoying for you to be like this as a representative of the organization.

    I also understand that, as you stated in your other comment, the ACLU is stretched thin, and can't afford to (again, as you said), put its full attention into every civil rights issue.

    Hence my comment about wanting an ACLU or NRA for the 4th amendment. I overemphasized the degree to which the modern ACLU works on the 1st amendment because I was bundling it with the more-focused NRA, and that led to some confusion I guess. But in hoping that another organization could join the fight and do the sort of exhaustive and high-profile work the ACLU does on the 1st amendment, but for the 4th amendment, I get: "If not [a member], don't complain if they (we) can't address every civil liberties problem in every community that you happen to hear about." As if I'm being a whiny baby -- when really I'm holding up ACLU as a great example. And you keep going, listing amendments at me!

    But, whatever. I'm mad, but that doesn't matter. I'd just ask that you don't get like this with other members in your state, please.


    You sound like a very angry person (none / 0) (#20)
    by ZtoA on Sun May 20, 2012 at 03:01:29 PM EST
    And your original comment was misleading.

    Yup. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Addison on Sun May 20, 2012 at 06:00:46 PM EST
    You sound like a very angry person

    Well, I think this is meant to make me feel bad or something, or to show that you feel bad for me, but it's no great revelation regardless! I already said myself that I was mad about this (and that it didn't matter). But I'm mad about this tiny sliver of comment thread, not at Peter G. And not at Anne, Zorba, or whoever else is piling on. They're not defined by this one comment thread in my eyes, nor am I in theirs. They're all great people whom I respect a lot.

    And your original comment was misleading.

    Obviously it was. Or rather, it was unclear and people took the word "for" in the wrong way. I have since cleared up what I meant. I was ostly upset about the nasty condescension before and especially after my clarification, which was uncalled for given my actual intent and total support of the ACLU.


    About that. (none / 0) (#4)
    by Sentenza on Sat May 19, 2012 at 04:06:51 AM EST
    License plate readers are not all that reliable. It's not uncommon to them to be unable to tell the difference between, say, a Montana plate and a British Columbia plate. This is just another example of the government trying to replace old fashioned shoe leather police work with a computer. What next? A computer system designed to predict whether or not your involved in illegal activity?

    Homeland security already has one. It's called the Automated Targeting System.

    There are license plate readers at border crossings, to enter the United States.