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The Department of Homeland Security scales back its attempt at creating a national license plate tracking system

May 4, 2015

 Back in April of this year America’s Watchtower covered the story about how the Department of Homeland Security was trying to institute a national license plate tracking system under the guise of fighting illegal immigration and other crimes.

  Here is more on that story:

The Department of Homeland Security is seeking bids from companies able to provide law enforcement officials with access to a national license-plate tracking system — a year after canceling a similar solicitation over privacy issues.

The reversal comes after officials said they had determined they could address concerns raised by civil liberties advocates and lawmakers about the prospect of the department’s gaining widespread access, without warrants, to a system that holds billions of records that reveal drivers’ whereabouts.

In a privacy impact assessment issued Thursday, the DHS says that it is not seeking to build a national database or contribute data to an existing system.

Instead, it is seeking bids from companies that already gather the data to say how much they would charge to grant access to law enforcement officers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a DHS agency. Officials said they also want to impose limits on ICE personnel’s access to and use of the data.

  And of course this raises fourth amendment concerns:

“If this goes forward, DHS will have warrantless access to location information going back at least five years about virtually every adult driver in the U.S., and sometimes to their image as well,” said Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology.

  It is now being reported here that due to these concerns the Department of Homeland Security is going to scale back its proposal.

  Here is more:

The Department of Homeland Security has scaled back the scope of contractor requirements for what would have been a nationwide license plate-scanning effort, amid continued uproar over the on-again-off-again project.

The new system, announced last month, will compile license plate records from “at least 25 states” instead of all states, DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said in a May 1modification of the contract requirements. Officials later told Nextgov relaxing the requirements would allow more companies to compete for the job. 

Under the revised plan, the number of records supplied monthly by the contract would also decrease. The modified contract says the vendor must supply at least 6 million records per month, replacing April specifications that at least 30 million records be available.

The number of metro areas under surveillance also will be somewhat restricted. Rather than compiling plate data from 30 metro areas, the vendor will aggregate data from 24 metro areas.

  This is certainly good news, unless of course you happen to live in one of the 25 states, or the metro areas, which will have the license plates scanned, or are one of the millions of people who will still have their license plates reported even if you are not suspected of a crime. It still appears to be a violation of the fourth amendment but on a smaller scale.

  And as far as we know the Department of Injustice is still creating a huge database based on the vehicle movements of hundreds of millions of Americans.

The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists, according to current and former officials and government documents.

 Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

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