Passed out of the Louisiana Senate yesterday, on a 33-3 vote.
Senate Bill 250: Creates a pilot program (Statewide Motor Vehicle Theft and Uninsured Motorists Identification Program) involving the use of license plate recognition devices for certain purposes.
Here’s a primer on just what is:
Automatic number plate recognition: ANPR is a mass surveillance method that uses optical character recognition on images to read vehicle registration plates. They can use existing closed-circuit television or road-rule enforcement cameras, or ones specifically designed for the task. They are used by various police forces and as a method of electronic toll collection on pay-per-use roads and cataloging the movements of traffic or individuals.
ANPR can be used to store the images captured by the cameras as well as the text from the license plate, with some configurable to store a photograph of the driver. Systems commonly use infrared lighting to allow the camera to take the picture at any time of the day. ANPR technology tends to be region-specific, owing to plate variation from place to place.
Concerns about these systems have centered on privacy fears of government tracking citizens’ movements, misidentification, high error rates, and increased government spending.