I guess the difference is that I can choose not to take my phone with me, use a VPN, and pay cash.
I can’t opt out of people like you tracking me.
On the contrary, you can choose not to drive a car, and either walk, cycle, or take public transportation. No LPR system will ever record your license plate. Inconvenient? Perhaps, but no more so than never using a credit card, never getting on the Internet without a VPN, and never carrying a cell phone.
I assure you that private citizens who install LPR cameras do it to stop crime. They have zero interest in tracking you. And if some shadowy government or corporate figures choose to surveil you, they’ll have far better tools at their disposal than LPR cameras to do it with.
You’re on a Wyze camera forum. Are you concerned that some people are bothered by the fact that your cameras might record them, and violate their personal expectations of privacy while they’re walking down a street? You’re doing exactly what I’m doing; the only difference is your choice of technology.
I’m sure it does catch the law-avoiding citizens and that’s commendable, but it also records and saves in a centralized database the movements of the law-abiding ones. They have the right not to be monitored, too.
How do you like a hacker to broadcast your itinerary on any given day?
You might say, the database is protected from abuse, but is it really? Time and time again, there have been breaches.
Edit: From someone not in the information industry, it’s easy to ignore how collecting AND saving your personal data like LPR can be abused, take it from the Tesla CEO. He knows how powerful AI is and he wants to have rules in place to avoid serious problems in the future. There are no rules with LPR.
Great info. I have looked into Flock and like the product they offer. At 2K a year for the service, I think the DIY route would be better though, plus, I like a challenge.
Thank you for the specs, I’ll give that forum a look. I live at the entrance to my neighborhood and could be a good bottleneck for traffic coming and going. We have had our problems with vehicle burgs in the past and I would like to get a leg up on deterrence.
I’m a cop when I’m not tinkering around with security cams. When I’m in public, I’ve had plenty of people take my photo and then blast me out on Youtube etc. If I have to be cool with getting my pic taken and posted on the net, I really don’t feel bad about an LPR grabbing plates.
Such dystopian abuse of modern technology is every bit as applicable with cell phones and credit cards. Your cell phone provider can provide the police with a complete record of your location. Not just a record of your car’s location, but your location. There are quite a few people in jail right now because of those cell phone records. Likewise for credit card records held by your bank. Those are far more valuable, and potentially dangerous, than any LPR database. Do you worry about hackers getting access to those databases? As you say, time and time again there have been breaches.
I’m very much aware of the multitude of ways that our personal information can be (and already is) collected. That’s why I discount dystopian scenarios of LPR data abuse. In terms of tracking and surveillance, LPR data is of very poor quality compared to the data being uploaded on a minute-by-minute basis to Google, or to your cell phone provider, by the personal tracking device you’re probably voluntarily carrying in your pocket.
Flock Safety makes a decent product, but the cost is prohibitive for an individual. You need two cameras to catch plates in both directions, which currently runs $5000 per year.
If you’re willing to DIY the installation and can use Linux, you can set up your own system for less than $1000, exclusive of the $10 / month for two Rekor Scout home licenses. You’ll need two good varifocal cameras (~$300 each), a Jetson Nano Developer Kit (less than $150 with accessories), and a PoE router (~$50), plus Ethernet cable and camera mounting hardware (~$100). If you’d prefer Windows 10, you can install the client on a fast desktop computer instead of the Jetson Nano at a somewhat higher cost.
You’re ideally situated to protect your entire neighborhood. The trick is to get your neighbors to install their own Wyze Cams, so that any criminal activity they record can be correlated to the plate captures on your LPR system.
Again, I’m not against data collection, get that in your head.
I’m against saving the data collected into a central database, that can be hacked later. Can’t you understand the difference? How many years that a card issuer saves your data? Do you remember that 60 day period to contest a bill? It’s because beyond that, data isn’t saved. And what’s saved are scattered all over.
These LPR database entries stay there in one place and for a very long time. It’s because there are no rules in place.
You do realize that credit cards companies and banks are required to save transaction records for a minimum of 5 years by law, don’t you? The 60 day limit for contesting a charge has nothing to do with how long they retain their electronic records. In fact, they can and do keep those records even longer.
But apparently you don’t worry about credit card companies and cell phone companies abusing your data because of the force of law. That is a valid point. Where I live, license plate records are mandated to be erased after 90 days by state law. Rekor does not maintain LPR records beyond 60 days. The force of law applies every bit as much to LPR vendors as it does to every other company that collects personal data.
If you want to see laws passed to prevent the abuse of LPR data, then I’m all for it. Sign me up. In many cases, I’m sure those laws are already in place, and if not, they can be added. I know from my conversations with local police that they are extremely sensitive to the potential misuse of LPR data, and have internal procedures in place to prevent it. They also assure me that if the police want to find out what you did or where you are located as part of a criminal investigation, they have far more effective resources at their disposal than LPR cameras.
My point is this - being opposed to LPR cameras because they might be abused makes no more sense than being opposed to cell phones or credit cards for the same reason. All technology has the potential for abuse. You deal with it by implementing laws and regulations to prevent abuse, not by banning the technology.
LPR cameras are outstanding tools for fighting crime. They’re never going away, because they are now so easy to implement. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle with LPR cameras any more than you can with security cameras in general. One day a company like Wyze or Ring or Nest is going to introduce a consumer camera that can read license plates, and it is going to be extremely popular.
And what restrictions are placed on you for what you do with the video and images you might retain from your Wyze cameras? Should Wyze cameras be banned because Federal law does not address potential abuses of privacy when using them? It is the same principle, after all.
Access to, and retention of, LPR data is in fact very much controlled by numerous state laws. It can’t be retained more than 90 days where I live. Rekor’s cloud service only retains records for 60 days.
Do some searches on the use of LPR systems by police and city governments. These systems are in place all over the country, used not just in law enforcement but also in traffic and parking control. The only difference is that the technology has evolved to the point that private entities can now afford the cameras. Companies like Rekor and Flock Safety observe very strict data retention policies with the systems and software that they sell to consumers, as they have no desire to be accused of privacy violations. They sell these systems to people who want to combat crime.
There’s nothing inherently evil about LPR technology, any more than with security cameras in general. If the technology is abused, then by all means we can and should pass laws to address those abuses, but not by trying to ban it.
That would require a fundamental shift in design philosophy for Wyze. An LPR camera would require a wired data connection and good optics. It’s not the sort of thing that you can do with a $19 wireless camera.
I’ve read rumors that Ring is looking into the possibility of an LPR camera. With Amazon’s finances and their R&D muscle, they would probably have the best shot at it. If such a camera ever were sold, it would be transformative to neighborhood security and local law enforcement.
The financial transactions are NOT saved in one place. That’s the critical thing you forget.
One place to hack and one place to abuse.
And yet the police have no problem whatsoever subpoenaing those financial records and using them to convict people in criminal cases. So if the police can do it, what prevents hackers from abusing it?
Furthermore, LPR data retention is no more monolithic than financial record retention. What makes you think there is some master LPR database out there? There are literally dozens of companies selling the technology. Rekor does not share their data with Flock Safety or Vigilant, or any other company. Individual cities and police departments retain their own databases. So those same hackers who lack the skills to conglomerate different financial databases somehow will magically make it happen with LPR databases?