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Seattle Suburb Has its Eyes on License Plates
"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.