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CA: Data Driven 2: California Dragnet—New Data Set Shows Scale of Vehicle Surveillance in the Golden State

[ – 4/22/21]

This project is based on data processed by student journalist Olivia Ali, 2020 intern JJ Mazzucotelli, and research assistant Liam Harton, based on California Public Records Act requests filed by EFF and dozens of students at the University of Nevada, Reno Reynolds School of Journalism.

Tiburon, California: a 13-square-mile peninsula town in Marin County, known for its glorious views of the San Francisco Bay and its eclectic retail district.

What the town’s tourism bureau may not want you to know: from the moment you drive into the city limits, your vehicle will be under extreme surveillance. The Tiburon Police Department has the dubious distinction of collecting, mile-for-mile, more data on drivers than any other agency surveyed for a new EFF data set.

Today, EFF is releasing Data Driven 2: California Dragnet, a new public records collection and data set that shines light on the massive amount of vehicle surveillance conducted by police in California using automated license plate readers (ALPRs)—and how very little of this surveillance is actually relevant to an active public safety interest.

Read the full article


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These tactics do not make policing better, or make communities safer, but only serve to make us more like the Orwellian dystopia that was foreshadowed in “1984”. We have been duly warned.

This is borderline lifetime gps monitoring for a sex offender driving there. They can know every global position street by street of an RSO by tracking these photos with this system. oh hey did I just use the term global position system. gps.. how has this not been challenged in court? Even from an ethical standpoint.. this is wrong on so many levels… Tracking civilians turn by turn, block by block..this is police state 101.. Back to us.. driving as a sex offender is not a crime, this is borderline under investigation without probable cause or warrant, nor should it… Read more »

A car that is registered to a PFR, not necessarily the PFR themselves. Proving a PFR was where the ALPR read their plate is another matter.

There’s no reasonable expectation of privacy once you leave your house anymore. Hell, we don’t even have any while IN our homes. So when I hear these people complain and whine about these cameras installed at intersections taking photos of the number of occupants, make, color and license plate of their vehicle, Going on about slippery slope this and big brother that.. I just wanna scoff and tell them, ‘you have zero clue what it feels like to be regulated and subjugated.

I think Law Enforcement using all this new technology is a big move in the right direction for public safety Ironically this technology also benefits sex offenders living in California especially if a sex crime occurs in your town or neighborhood they can check their database and see your information dosen’t match the suspects description. It’s not a coincidence that California past SB384 tiering system multiple law enforcement agencies have stated that IML is useless and I’d bet it’s because EEF ALPR and STINGRAY technology. Since 2006 so much has changed I haven’t had a compliance check done in about… Read more »

“…state supervision, like sex offenders…”

So we are under supervision now, like probation/parole? How far we have come from Smith v. Doe.

Sounds like ACSOL should arrange a meeting in Tiburon. Imagine the hue and cry at the PD when their little system lights up like a winning slot-machine for all the RC-registered vehicles in town.

Video preface:

“Anything said in this video is NOT meant to be malicious or to offend…”

Of course not. Online bullying and vigilante misuse of Megan’s Law to carry out criminal executions are, after all, not real….


As a word of reassurance, from my understanding, many of these guys and women do not have real meaningful and gainful employment beyond the vigilante work which they gain followers over. Where would they be, if there weren’t naive, soft-hearted and unlucky average joes which aspects of human sexuality they (vigilantes) could delightfully prey on?

These types of activities make it harder to argue the United States is the freest country. Sure seems like people’s freedom of movement are being violated in the name of public safety. All of this technology will be used for harm in the future. Sci-fi movies of the past are coming to real life.

So, how can this be argued as illegal collection for license plates? And that the registration scheme has collateral consequences for upstanding citizens?

My wife probably is probably on of these lists because I drive her car. She’s barely had anything but a parking ticket, but her plate will come up hot according to this.

It almost assuredly can’t. In SCOTUS’ 2018 decision that gave a shot in the arm to the 4th Amdt. (Carpenter v. U.S.,, the Court specifically said:

We do not . . . call into question conventional surveillance techniques and tools, such as security cameras. Nor do we address other business records that might incidentally reveal location information.

Tooling around in a car on a public street in plain view of the world is fair game, no matter that it’s highly abusive.

I submitted a request for my ALPR records from the local police department. The printout I received was actually quite boring and disappointing. Every photo showed my car either on the street in front of my house or in my driveway behind my fence gate. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Are you actively on probation or parole or just on the registry at this time?

A Collection for collecting sake.

I know that APLR was installed on the freeways between San Francisco and Antioch to combat the running gun battles on them. The howls about cars/people being shot up silenced the complaints of loss of privacy. I noticed the EFF didn’t mention that use… But they never do. Nor did they mention it’s use in shutting down the recent looting caravan that was roving from big box store to big box store. Background checks, law enforcement contacts are terrifying. I’ve been registered for nearly 28 years. I’ve only had compliance checks while I was still on probation. I’ve had some… Read more »

I’m not sure what your field is in, but try using the Dept of Fair Employment and Housing when businesses try to deny you based on that. It’s slow, but they do back off.

Yes, well, simply finding a different job was more important at the time.

As I said, I can be right. Dead right.

OK, dead in that context “might” be extreme. The goal was getting work… Not tilting at windmills. Fighting every battle wears you out for the important ones.

Does anyone know if “under state supervision” means on probation or parole or if it also means on the state registry? No guesses please.

“Law enforcement agencies create “hot lists” of license plates, essentially lists of vehicles they are actively looking for, for example, because they’re stolen, are suspected of being connected to a crime, or belong to an individual under state supervision, such as a sex offender. When an ALPR scans a license plate that matches a hot list, the system issues an alert to the law enforcement agency that the vehicle was sighted. “

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