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Homeland Security reconsiders plans for a national license plate recognition database

Emily Price
02.19.14
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Homeland Security has decided it doesn't need a database of everyone's license plates after all -- at least not yet. Law enforcement officials across the country are already using license plate readers to track vehicles, but currently those cameras aren't connected together in any sort of meaningful way. The Department of Homeland Security was interested in tying together the nation's cameras, and posted a call for contractors earlier this week to find someone to create a new National License Plate Recognition Database to house them all.

Originally reported by Ars Technica, a 29-page document detailing the program describes a technology where officers could upload a photo of a license plate from their smartphone, and then get alerts on their phone regarding the location of a vehicle. The database could allow officers to track vehicles over state lines, and quickly locate criminals on the run. Turns out that document and the contractor listing were posted prematurely. An ICE representative told the Washington Post Wednesday that the documents had not reviewed by the organization's leaders, and they're pulling the request for now. That doesn't mean your wheels are in the clear just yet -- the group plans to revisit the idea, and could potentially repost the listing in the future.

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