Seattle Suburb Has its Eyes on License Plates

In the Seattle suburb of Medina, security cameras are now capturing all vehicle driving into the city, and using license plate recognition software to check cars and drivers for criminal records.
September 18, 2009, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Under the 'automatic license plate recognition' project, once a car enters Medina, a camera captures its license-plate number. Within seconds, the number is run through a database.

If a hit comes up for a felony - say, the vehicle was reported stolen or is being driven by a homicide suspect - the information is transmitted instantaneously to police, who can 'leap into action,' said Police Chief Jeffrey Chen."

Officials hope the program will cut down crime, and some have argued that crime prevention outweighs the right to privacy. Civil libertarians call the move an intrusion.

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Published on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 in The Seattle Times
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