Saturday, 23 May 2015

USA - Government scales back plans for license plate-tracking program . . .


Government scales back plans for license plate-tracking program

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To say that there's been some concern about the Department of Homeland Security's on-again, off-again license plate-tracking initiative is something of an understatement. Despite fresh resistance from the ACLU, the agency is persisting with the project, but has revealed that it will walk back on some of its more far-reaching requirements. The original idea was to implement a nationwide system of license plate scanners that could track a suspect's movements, making it easier for the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency to follow and apprehend criminals. Now, however, the folks at Nextgov have uncovered a document, dated February 18th, that scales the scope of the setup to a minimum of 25 states.

The project brief also mandated that the private contractor chosen to supply the system should supply 30 million driver records a month -- a figure that's now down to just 6 million. When Nextgov asked the reasoning behind the changes, unnamed officials said that it was to enable more companies to be able to bid for the contract. That way, outfits that have less sophisticated, and possibly cheaper, data-capturing hardware can tender alongside larger outfits like Vigilant Video, which nearly won the contract in 2012. As far as the ICE is concerned, the proposed system isn't being scaled back per se, although it's clear that it may not be as all-powerful as officials had originally wanted.

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