Even affluent and crime free cities like Malibu, California are getting aggressive with police surveillance and monitoring. There is a motion before the Malibu city council to order automatic licence plate scanning systems for mobile police vehicles and fixed locations in the city.
These systems capture license plates and instantly identify any drivers or vehicles who may be wanted by the police.
According to the Malibu Times, a deputy sheriff is quoted as saying that 90% of cities in the Los Angeles area deploy ALPR (automated licence plate reader) scanning technology in police vehicles.
Most people agree that there are positive uses for these system, like finding stolen cars, quickly finding vehicles wanted in amber alerts, and finding fugitives. Less clear is the public support for red light cameras. And most people aren’t even aware of the massive state surveillance possibilities that comes with the government in possession of all this data on ordinary citizens whereabouts.
All the data is saved somewhere, even the “misses”. If you drove though that intersection, or by that police cruiser equipped with a license plate scanner, you were scanned, tracked, and they know exactly where and when your car was, and can potentially look up this data at any time. We are truly in a surveillance state.
All these issues of privacy have yet to be addressed. But one thing is for sure. If you are driving on a suspended license, or have an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in California, you simply can’t expect to drive down the street and not get caught.