[Ed. – Made too much noise with this one. But the idea’s probably not dead.]
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement canceled a plan to obtain access to or buy commercial databases for tracking license plates nationwide after criticism from privacy advocates.
The agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, had planned to use the information to help find fugitives and undocumented immigrants, according to a government document.
“The solicitation, which was posted without the awareness of ICE leadership, has been canceled,” Gillian Christensen, a deputy press secretary at the agency, said in an e-mail. “While we continue to support a range of technologies to help meet our law enforcement mission, this solicitation will be reviewed to ensure the path forward appropriately meets our operational needs.” …
The solicitation, reported earlier by the Washington Post,didn’t outline any privacy safeguards for the technology. Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have raised questions about whether such tools will be used by governments to keep tabs on innocent Americans.
“License plate readers are just one example of a disturbing phenomenon: The government is increasingly using new technology to collect information about all of us, all the time,and to store it forever,” the ACLU’s Catherine Crump wrote in a report in July.