ICE Plans To Track License Plates in the US

Posted by at 11:17 am on January 26, 2018

ICE has signed a deal that gives it access to a Vigilant Solutions’s massive license plate database

Livermore-based Vigilant Solutions’ database contains data on a couple of billion license plates, The Verge reports. The data is collected in conjunction with law enforcement and other agencies throughout the nation, according to the company’s website.

Vigilant Solutions has not yet responded to our multiple requests for comment.

“Like most other law enforcement agencies, ICE uses information obtained from license plate readers as one tool in support of its investigations,” ICE spokesperson Dani Bennett, who identified Vigilant as the company the agency struck a deal with, said to the Verge. “ICE is not seeking to build a license plate reader database, and will not collect nor contribute any data to a national public or private database through this contract.”

This new contract is the first agency-wide contract ICE has completed with the company, a fact that is reflected in accompanying documents. On December 27th, 2017, Homeland Security issued an updated privacy assessment (PDF) 0f license plate reader technology.

Access to the database allowa ICE to track license plate locations for the last five years, according to a privacy assessment by the Department of Homeland Security. But the new system places some limits on ICE surveillance. Unlike many other government agencies, ICE won’t upload new data to Vigilant’s system but simply scan through the data. License plates on the hot list will also expire after one year, and the system retains extensive audit logs to help supervisors trace back any abuse of the system.

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