What’s next? Our Car Washes Spying on Us?: NMA E-Newsletter #471

From guest writer Joe Cadillic of the MassPrivatal Blog.

Why is the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS) allowing a foreign company to use covert automatic license plate readers (ALPR), to spy on American motorists?

ESLAG, a company owned by Italian high-tech giant Leonardo, is selling its surveillance services to U.S. law enforcement for a price. Profit for it, loss of privacy for American motorists.

“Our ALPR systems scan license plates in real time, so your operators receive immediate alerts of any hot or white list matches. Instant data lends your law enforcement the edge on offenders, aiding in your duty to stop crime and promote community safety.” 

Did you catch that?

A foreign company is creating hot lists and white lists of American motorists.

ELSAG offers law enforcement six different ways to spy on motorists.

  • Mobile Plate Hunter
  • Fixed Plate Hunter
  • Plate Hunter Custom Solutions
  • Enterprise Operations Center
  • Speed Enforcer Software
  • Parking Software

One of the more disturbing things ELSAG offers are covert ALPR’s, hidden inside highway construction barrels.

ELSAG boasts about collaborating with partner agencies (police) to design creative ALPR’s to spy on everyone.

“These clever systems read license plates without drawing attention to overt hardware and help identify vehicles connected to auto theft, parking violations, toll evasion, insurance lapses and more.

ELSAG also claims that law enforcement’s imagination is their limitation.

“If you have a vision for how you’d like to conceal your fixed, mobile or portable ALPR system, we can collaborate with you to build a prototype.

A U.S. DOT publication titled ‘Mitigating Work Zone Safety and Mobility Challenges through Intelligent Transportation Systems’ reveals how they secretly hide a “smart traffic monitoring system” inside highway construction barrels.

An iCone is a device that beams real-time traffic information over the internet to a central web site for use by government officials, law enforcement and first responders.

ELSAG admits that they have a close working relationship with DHS and law enforcement. They have also created a grant list for law enforcement to use to purchase ALPR’s. According to their website there are six grants law enforcement can use to acquire ALPR’s:

  • Block or Formula Grants
  • Discretionary Grants
  • Federal Grants
  • Department of Homeland Security Grants
  • Corporate of Foundation Grants

Eventually law enforcement will run out of places to spy on motorists and ELSAG will stop profiting from spying on everyone right?

Wrong, DHS or ELSAG has come up with a disturbing new proposal.

ALPR’s in car washes

Big brother’s appetite for spying on Americans could soon extend to car washes. ELSAG wants to put ALPR’s in car washes…

“For example, an owner of a car wash could put up an ALPR camera at an automatic washing bay. Every time a car pulls up, the camera reads the license plate and validates a subscription against a white list of subscribers, so the driver can go ahead and use the car wash. Imagine how much more convenient ALPR cameras could make your retail business.

How long will it take for DHS to offer car washes, gas stations and convenient stores, grants to purchase ALPR’s?

Make no mistake, DHS and law enforcement do not care about our privacy and have no qualms about using private, for-profit corporations to achieve their goal of total surveillance.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the author.

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