Cheap Tracking of Public Officials/Police

The use of license plate readers by law enforcement and others is on the rise. Such readers record the location of your license plate at a particular time and place. They also relieve public bodies of large sums of money.

How I replicated an $86 million project in 57 lines of code by Tait Brown details how he used open source software to create a “…good enough…” license plate reader for far less than the ticket price of $86 million.

Brown has an amusing (read unrealistic) good Samaritan scenario for his less expensive/more extensive surveillance system:


While it’s easy to get caught up in the Orwellian nature of an “always on” network of license plate snitchers, there are many positive applications of this technology. Imagine a passive system scanning fellow motorists for an abductors car that automatically alerts authorities and family members to their current location and direction.

The Teslas vehicles are already brimming with cameras and sensors with the ability to receive OTA updates — imagine turning them into a virtual fleet of good samaritans. Ubers and Lyft drivers could also be outfitted with these devices to dramatically increase the coverage area.

Using open source technology and existing components, it seems possible to offer a solution that provides a much higher rate of return — for an investment much less than $86M.

The better use of Brown’s less expensive/more extensive surveillance system is tracking police and public official cars. Invite them to the gold fish bowl they have created for all the rest of us.

A great public data resource for testing testimony about the presence/absence of police officers at crime scenes, protests, long rides to the police station and public officials consorting with co-conspirators.

ACLU calls for government to monitor itself, reflect an unhealthy confidence in governmental integrity. Only a close watch on government by citizens enables governmental integrity.

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