While the devices are touted as investigative tools — helping to locate stolen cars, missing persons and the like — privacy and civil rights advocates say the technology also raises concerns around misuse and surveillance.
(TNS) — Davenport City Council members on Wednesday unanimously approved a contract that will give Davenport police an enhanced tool for tracking stolen vehicles, wanted criminals and abducted children.
The little-noticed, high-speed cameras mounted on police cars, road signs, bridges and poles photograph thousands of plates per minute. The devices convert each license plate number into machine-readable text and check them against agency-selected databases or manually entered license plate numbers, providing an alert whenever a match or “hit” appears.
“We develop a ‘hot list’ of different types of crime or investigative information, and all it does is compares both lists” to help recover stolen vehicles and for “scanning high-crime areas” to track or locate suspects involved in violent crimes, and to monitor that registered sex offenders are not violating restrictions that dictate areas where they cannot be.