Definition Edit

Automatic license plate readers

are made up of high-speed cameras designed to capture a photograph of each and every passing license plate, combined with software that analyzes those photographs to identify the license plate number. These systems store extensive location information about each automobile.[1]

Overview Edit

License plate reader cameras can be placed almost anywhere, from mobile vehicles like patrol cars to fixed objects like bridges and overpasses. There are even apps that allow law enforcement agents on foot to scan license plates with their smartphones. On taking a photograph, license plate reader systems quickly:

  • Identify any license plates within the photograph
  • Convert each license plate number into machine-readable text
  • Check each license plate number against manually entered plate numbers and "hot lists" of plates that have been uploaded to the system
  • Provide an instant alert to a law enforcement agent when a match or hit appears
  • Store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location where the automobile was seen.[2]

References Edit

  1. You Are Being Tracked: How License Plate Readers Are Being Used to Record Americans' Movements, at 4.
  2. Id. at 4-5.

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