President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly activating a national license plate tracking system. It will be shared with law enforcement and allow officials to track citizens’ vehicles “from a variety of sources nationwide.”
The new system, called the “National License Plate Recognition Database,” is outlined in a PDF on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
The system will allow authorities to “to determine where and when the vehicle has traveled” by tracking “vehicle license plate numbers that pass through cameras or are voluntarily entered into the system from a variety of sources.”
Using their smartphones, DHS officials will be able to take photos of any license plate in the country and upload it to the database. They will then receive an instant alert if that plate is on the “hot list” containing “target vehicles.”
The intended purpose of the new system is to catch illegal immigrants and terrorists, but it is likely that the vast majority of targeted individuals will be American citizens. To many who are concerned about the scope and growth of government power, the system is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984 — especially since in recent years, the DHS has branded “liberty lovers” as possible terrorists.
The “National License Plate Recognition Database,” which will allow the DHS to capture and track license plates around the country, could very well open the floodgates to widespread abuses of power.
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