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DATE 2014-05-01

HANGOUT

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Key: Value:

Key: Value:

MESSAGE
DATE 2014-05-06
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] farm animals

http://www.wired.com/2014/05/license-plate-tracking/

It’s no secret that police departments around the country are
deploying automated license plate readers to build massive databases to
identify the location of vehicles. But one company behind this Orwellian
tracking system is determined to stay out of the news.

How determined? Vigilant Solutions, founded in 2009, claims to have the
nation’s largest repository of license-plate images with nearly 2
billion records stored in its National Vehicle Location Service (NVLS).
Despite the enormous implications of the database for the public, any
law enforcement agency that signs up for the service is sworn to a vow
of silence by the company’s terms of service.

Vigilant is clear about the reason for the secrecy: it’s to prevent
customers from “cooperating” with media and calling attention to
its database.

That database is used by law enforcement and others to track stolen cars
or vehicles used in crimes, as well as to locate illegal immigrants,
kidnapping victims and others — though the vast majority of license
plates stored belong to ordinary drivers who aren’t suspected of a
crime.

The agreement law enforcement signs, which was uncovered by the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, reads in part:

You shall not create, publish, distribute, or permit any written,
electronically transmitted or other form of publicity material that
makes reference to LEARN or this Agreement without first submitting the
material to LEARN-NVLS and receiving written consent from LEARN-NVLS.
This prohibition is specifically intended to prohibit users from
cooperating with any media outlet to bring attention to LEARN or
LEARN-NVLS. Breach this provision may result in LEARN-NVLS immediately
termination of this Agreement upon notice to you [sic].1

LEARN stands for Law Enforcement Archival and Reporting Network and is
Vigilant’s online portal where license plate data and images are
aggregated and analyzed for law enforcement to access.

“LEARN provides agencies with an easy way to manage users and
vehicle hotlists, query historical license plate reader (LPR) data and
used [sic] advanced analytics for enhanced investigations,” the
company’s web site says.

Vigilant’s prohibition against talking about its system recalls a
similar, even more restrictive prohibition, by the Harris Corporation,
whose non-disclosure agreement with law enforcement agencies prohibits
them from disclosing to the media or even other government bodies their
use of a cell-phone spy tool that Harris makes, known as a stingray.
Car detector control room. Image: Vigilant Solutions

Car detector control room. Image: Vigilant Solutions

The Harris prohibition has resulted in law enforcement agencies using
the stingrays without obtaining a court warrant, because the agencies
have interpreted the contract to mean they cannot even tell a judge
about their intent to use the devices.

But it appears that Vigilant’s prohibition is just an attempt to
control the company’s image and prevent anyone from talking about
its database other than Vigilant. A Vigilant official was quoted in a
recent Washington Post story about license plate databases.

In the story, the Post reported on a proposal by the U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement agency to contract with a private company to
produce and manage a national license-plate tracking system containing
data collected from every license plate scanned by plate readers around
the country.

The database would aggregate license plate data captured by readers
owned by law ­enforcement agencies, border-crossing cameras and toll
booths, as well as by commercial repo-men, who are one of the primary
creators and users of license plate images. The latter use vehicles
equipped with license plate recognition systems to trawl through streets
and parking lots to grab images of plates and cars.

Civil liberties groups criticized the proposal, however, since it would
allow authorities to conduct bulk surveillance against millions of
drivers and track their location and movement.

DHS subsequently withdrew the proposal.

Despite DHS’s change in plans, however, license plate databases like
Vigilant’s continue to exist and thrive. Though Vigilant would
prefer you not talk about it.

1May 2, 2014 6:15 pm: Since this story published, Vigilant has posted a
new terms of service that eliminates the original wording about the
reason for prohibiting law enforcement from talking about its database.
Instead of saying the restriction is “specifically intended to
prohibit users from cooperating with any media outlet to bring
attention” to the database, the new agreement (.pdf) reads,
“This restriction is specifically intended to protect the user’s
interests in divulging information that may result in counter measures
from the criminal elements, and this is also to protect Vigilant’s
competitive interests and ensure consistency with other media
messaging.”

  1. 2014-05-01 From: "Paul Robert Marino" <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Nostalgia in the office
  2. 2014-05-01 Ron Guerin <ron-at-vnetworx.net> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Nostalgia in the office
  3. 2014-05-05 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] not covered
  4. 2014-05-05 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Shani's engaged
  5. 2014-05-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] making a buck
  6. 2014-05-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Linux jobs
  7. 2014-05-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] weos lives
  8. 2014-05-06 Ron Guerin <ron-at-vnetworx.net> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] making a buck
  9. 2014-05-06 einker <eminker-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] not covered
  10. 2014-05-06 einker <eminker-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] not covered
  11. 2014-05-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] making a buck
  12. 2014-05-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] =?UTF-8?B?RndkOiBbaXNvYy1ueV0gVklERU86IElmIEkgUmFuIFRoZSBab286IFA=?=
  13. 2014-05-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] farm animals
  14. 2014-05-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Fwd: Net neutrality emergency
  15. 2014-05-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Fwd: Net neutrality emergency
  16. 2014-05-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Fwd: Net neutrality emergency
  17. 2014-05-07 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] [groups-noreply-at-linkedin.com: Free Android developer enterprise
  18. 2014-05-07 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] DRM books
  19. 2014-05-07 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Do it for Denmark
  20. 2014-05-09 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] wget
  21. 2014-05-09 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] [carolinedliny-at-aol.com: Re: on other news]
  22. 2014-05-16 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Pharmacy
  23. 2014-05-16 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Pharmacy
  24. 2014-05-16 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Opensuse 13.1 + 52 Books on Linux
  25. 2014-05-19 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Summer Activities
  26. 2014-05-19 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Summer Activitie
  27. 2014-05-19 Elfen Magix <elfen_magix-at-yahoo.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Summer Activitie
  28. 2014-05-19 einker <eminker-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Summer Activitie
  29. 2014-05-19 einker <eminker-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Summer Activitie
  30. 2014-05-19 From: "Paul Robert Marino" <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Summer Activitie
  31. 2014-05-19 From: "Paul Robert Marino" <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Summer Activitie
  32. 2014-05-20 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Perhaps the most important tv journalism of our lifetime
  33. 2014-05-25 adrba-at-nyct.net Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] no gcc in this (my) SUSE install --- HUH?
  34. 2014-05-25 adrba-at-nyct.net Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] no gcc in this (my) SUSE install --- HUH?
  35. 2014-05-25 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] no gcc in this (my) SUSE install --- HUH?
  36. 2014-05-27 Contrarian <adrba-at-nyct.net> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] no gcc on this SUSE install
  37. 2014-05-27 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] no gcc on this SUSE install
  38. 2014-05-27 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] no gcc on this SUSE install
  39. 2014-05-28 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] interesting read
  40. 2014-05-28 Contrarian <adrba-at-nyct.net> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] ironman linux
  41. 2014-05-28 Contrarian <adrba-at-nyct.net> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] ironman linux
  42. 2014-05-28 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] where to put this.
  43. 2014-05-28 Robert Menes <viewtiful.icchan-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] where to put this.
  44. 2014-05-29 From: "Redpill" <red.pill-at-verizon.net> RE: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] where to put this.
  45. 2014-05-29 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] where to put this.
  46. 2014-05-29 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] where to put this.
  47. 2014-05-29 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] where to put this.

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