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License plate readers could expose Johns to their families

License plate readers could expose Johns to their families
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

We've been telling you a lot about license plate readers the past few years. Police departments and government agencies use them to find and arrest criminals, or to stop people driving stolen vehicles.

The readers take photographs or videos of plates, then use mathematical algorithms to search government databases to see if the license plate matches a suspected criminal. The readers can also be used to search for a person's driving records.

Those are potentially good uses that raise big concerns about your privacy. Should the government be allowed to record your license plates and process your information without you even knowing about it?

That's already happening. We recently told you that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found footage from some license plate readers streaming online, for anyone to see.

While that's an obvious violation of privacy, what if the person involved was a john looking for a prostitute? That's exactly what Los Angeles city councilwoman Nury Martinez is proposing. She is hoping to shame people into staying away from areas frequented by prostitutes.

Next page: License plate reading on a massive scale
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