License plate reader offers nationwide alerts, analytics

The New York Police Department will use an automated license plate reader database to receive alerts when a stolen vehicle is identified.

The New York Police Department plans to subscribe to an automated license plate reader database that will enable the department to receive alerts when a stolen vehicle is identified even if it is well outside the jurisdiction, Ars Technica reported.

The NYPD will acquire the database, said to contain 2.2 billion records, under a three-year, $442,500 deal with Vigilant Systems Inc.,  according to the website.  The city must first approve the deal, according to a report in the NY Daily News.

Using the database, police could “virtually stake out a location,” according to the newspaper.

The database is fed by Vigilant license place scanners operating in cities across the country. The system can provide detectives information on where and in what direction a stolen car might be traveling that has been scanned by the system.

Vigilant database software can also help investigators work up an “associate analysis” using data from license plates scanned in “close proximity to the known suspect,” according to a Vigilant report obtained by the NY Daily News.

The company has amassed the data via a subsidiary, the Digital Recognition Network (DRN), which sells $15,000 “camera kits” to vehicle repossession companies nationwide, Ars Technica reported.

The companies use the photographs to stock license plate databases used to identify cars that were stolen or should be repossessed. DRN sells some of its data to car financing lenders insurance companies.

The uses for license plate readers extends well beyond local police jurisdictions. At the federal level, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced last year it was looking for a smartphone-accessible database of license plate information ICE agents could use in the field to identify vehicles and owners.

In a solicitation for a national license plate recognition database, ICE said the service should be able to track license plate numbers recorded by cameras or in access control systems.

ICE said the system should allow agents to upload photos of license plates and receive alerts about positive matches as well as allow users to create a query for any target vehicle by entering the license plate number, state of registration and reason code.

Meanwhile, software developers have remained busy developing new tools for license plate reading and analytics.

One firm, Image Sensing Systems Inc. now sells Recognition as a Service (RaaS). The company’s CitySync  solution lets governments and businesses use the CitySync license plate recognition engine with any camera.

Its standard delivery is via the cloud, but can also be installed as an on-premises solution. Customers can pay either by the plate, by the lane or by a yearly subscription. When a license plate is captured, it is sent to the CitySync recognition engine, which puts it through six different algorithms for recognition. 

“Once the [optical character recognition] is run, that information is sent into the “back office” where you can apply analytics,” said Lisa Chubb, marketing communication manager at Image Sensing Systems Inc.  

Law enforcement, for example, could perform convoy analysis to track a lead car and a trailing car to see how far apart they are.  What’s more, the locations of the cars can then be displayed in Google Maps.

Interest in the license plate reading technology has not gone unnoticed by the privacy watchdogs. Catherine Crump, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, told Ars Technica that Vigilant was assembling, “a vast database tracking Americans’ movements, and it’s no surprise that one of the most prolific users of surveillance, the NYPD, would seek to access it."

"But this data raises profound privacy issues, for the first time enabling the mass tracking of Americans, and we haven’t even begun to have a meaningful conversation about what the appropriate uses are for this type of data," Crump said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.