Feds use SPD to track you

Grants fund massive data dump from streets of Sandusky, and many other places, directly to Homeland Security
Jul 20, 2013

The city of Sandusky's license plate reader appears to be part of a nationwide network of systems designed to track Americans and store data on the comings and goings of … everyone.

But the Sandusky Police Department and city officials might not have been aware they were signing on to the federal surveillance program when they approved keeping the equipment.

A group identified as North Coast Homeland Security provided and installed the reader on a Sandusky police cruiser in mid-November, and the Sandusky city commission approved the program about 10 days later.

Two cameras are mounted on the trunk of the SPD cruiser with one facing the rear and one facing the front. As as cars pass, plates can be read from both vantage points.

The American Civil Liberties Union calls the federal funding for license plate readers a dangerous trend, in a report issued by the civil rights organization earlier this month titled 'You are being tracked.' 

“More and more cameras, longer retention periods, and widespread sharing allow law enforcement agents to assemble the individual puzzle pieces of where we have been over time into a single, high-resolution image of our lives,” the report sates.

“The knowledge that one is subject to constant monitoring can chill the exercise of our cherished rights to free speech and association.”

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Click here to read the July 2013 ACLU report, 'You are being tracked.'



This is no longer a role your eyes and shrug issue. The only logical progression to collecting all of this data is regulating behavior somewhere down the line. We should all be afraid of Pandora's box.

Think about this, before this article I had no idea the SPD was involved in this program, Did you?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I didn't know the SPD had one but I was aware that other police departments were using such technology. I saw a video about how the LAPD used those on their cars on patrol. That so much didn't bother me as I found the technology fascinating and a way for a city to better manage things. I would argue that a city has more of a right to the general collection of the data those provide, then the state next, and lastly any Federal agency but only for specific purposes.

It is an odd mixing bowl of the presumption of criminal activity and the need for pro-and-re active safety. While I would default to trusting authorities with the data they collect, breaches of security and lapses in judgment or morality occur. Plus, if "the system" of any kind (monitoring, health care, etc.) promises to take care of any/all problems - and then fails or is abused - where do we go for justice, compensation, or a change of policy?

I hope he doesn't mind me using him in an example, but let's say under our police chief's watch an officer abused the info gathering. I would rather it be more of a local problem where I know he is more accessible, known, and accountable to the citizenry than a blame-game-chain of dozens of bureaucrats hundreds or thousands of miles away that we don't know, don't know us, nor is in a position for election. After all, someone's life is ruined in exchange for a form-letter apology and resignation before disappearing into a private consultation job or something like that.


FAA Warns Americans: Don’t Shoot at the Drones
Jul. 19, 2013 11:59pm Erica Ritz


WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — Don’t even think about it. People who fire guns at drones are endangering the public and property and could be prosecuted or fined, the Federal Aviation Administration warned Friday.

The FAA released a statement in response to questions about an ordinance under consideration in the tiny farming community of Deer Trail, Colorado that would encourage hunters to shoot down the flying aircraft. The administration reminded the public that it regulates the nation’s airspace, including the airspace over cities and towns.

A drone “hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air,” the statement said. “Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane.”
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Warns Not to Shoot at Drones

A Predator drone operated by U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), takes off for a surveillance flight near the Mexican border on March 7, 2013 from Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Credit: Getty Images

Under the proposed ordinance, Deer Trail would actually grant hunting permits to shoot drones costing $25 each. The town would also encourage drone “hunting” by awarding $100 to anyone who presents a valid hunting license and identifiable pieces of a drone that has been shot down.

Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel, 48, author of the proposal, said in an interview that he has 28 signatures on a petition – roughly 10 percent of the town’s registered voters. Under Colorado law, that requires local officials to formally consider the proposal at a meeting next month, he said. Town officials would then have the option of adopting the ordinance or putting it on the ballot in an election this fall, he said.

The proposed ordinance is mostly a symbolic protest against small, civilian drones that are coming into use in the United States, Steel said. He acknowledged that it’s unlikely there are any drones in use near Deer Trail, anyway.

“I don’t want to live in a surveillance society. I don’t feel like being in a virtual prison,” Steel said. “This is a pre-emptive strike.”

He dismissed the FAA’s warning. “The FAA doesn’t have the power to make a law,” he said.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Warns Not to Shoot at Drones

A woman holds a poster against drones during a demonstration against the upcoming visit of United States President Barack Obama in Berlin, Monday, June 17, 2013. Credit: AP

The FAA is working on regulations to safely integrate drones into the skies over the U.S., where manned aircraft are prevalent. The Congress gave the FAA until 2015 to develop the regulations, but the agency is behind schedule. FAA officials have estimated that once regulations are in place, thousands of drones will be in use across the country for a wide variety of purposes, from helping farmers figure out which crops need watering to tracking sea lions in remote rocky outcroppings to aiding search and rescue missions.

But the Deer Trail proposal is the latest ripple in a spreading backlash against drones. Dozens of laws aimed at curbing the use of the unmanned aircraft have been introduced in states and cities. Privacy advocates have expressed fear that police will use drones to cheaply and effectively conduct widespread surveillance without warrants.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a drone industry trade group, was concerned enough last year about people threatening to shoot down drones that it issued a statement warning that such comments were “irresponsible, dangerous and unlawful.”

Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the group, expressed similar concerns Friday, saying drones “are being designed to serve the public good….The myriad of important uses will be imperiled if they become targets. … The suggestion that Americans take up arms against unmanned aircraft also endangers citizens on the ground.”


Go ahead shoot, I bet you never get the chance to wish you hadn't!


None of this bothers me at all. My plates are fake!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

You should get those plate-flippers that James Bond uses, too. I actually don't think we are too far out of possibility from seeing adjustable-color cars.


"None of this bothers me at all. My plates are fake!"
...............Big deal!
My plates are real, but my car is stolen.


"My plates are real but my car is stolen."
.......Big deal!
I have your identity. (My plates read, "4shizzle".)


Big Brother is watching over you every second of every day. Don't you feel safer now?


@ beatstreet; I make light of this subject but it does smack of totalarianism (or...some other "ism" that we shouldn't be exposed to).


Couple of things you can do: Nuke the plate for one minute, use a powerful magnet or use a hammer.


Just like Russia. We have no rights anymore all in the name of terrorism and that makes it alright to do. Cameras on us 24/7. We gave up our rights a long time ago. There is no privacy.


I'm an old guy that drives a recognizable vehicle, waves at the police as I drive by them, pass by the police station at least 5-6 times a day and know about 5 of 'em. Been on the radar for years I guess. Now the feds know me. jeekers!!!


Isn't Facebook, Twitter and other ( Social media ) considered a form of Big Brother... only people who use it are doing it to themselves.

There again, I could be wrong.


Big Brother is alive and well!


I believe that they can watch us all they want. I don't have anything to hide! What are you afraid of?


I'm afraid of human nature. I'm afraid of getting on the wrong person's radar. I know that not one of us at this time in our penal code history can go through a day without breaking laws that we aren't even aware of. I know that there are authorities who ARE aware of that fact and can use it to persecute anyone, at anytime. And I know that there are persons of authority who are not to be trusted. I know some of those people have used their positions to go after innocent people.
"Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security."

The Big Dog's back

Remember, private companies produce this technology.


with government grants, don't forget about that bigdog


You're right. And private companies often collect and use data themselves, too, whether it's from website visits, "loyalty" cards, rebate forms, or whatever. I don't like that much, either. But there are a couple of big differences between companies collecting data and the federal government collecting data!

In both instances, of course, your privacy is threatened and there's significant potential for misuse of the data collected whether it's via those with legal access who are corrupt, or those who obtain illegal access in one way or another. But most of the data collected by corporate entities is data you've voluntarily provided to them (even if you didn't know it because you were too lazy to read the small print) while government data collection frequently grabs and saves information you not only didn't volunteer but may have had no way of knowing was collected in the first place! The biggest difference? Corporations can't force you at gunpoint to provide data, and corporations can't arrest and imprison you.

Even if you're okay with all of this government data collection now, you should remember the warning: It's not the potential GOOD of any law, but the potential ABUSE of that same law that must be considered. You and I may differ on whether or not we trust the authorities and the politicians today. But are you prepared to say with certainty that those in charge can ALWAYS be trusted? And that no FUTURE government will abuse all of that data? History shows — repeatedly — that that's pretty much a sucker bet, you know...

The Big Dog's back

Are you serious sam? Your data is being collected right now as you write. Not by the boogie man Gov but by private companies. Did you give them permission? I didn't. How do you track what private companies get? You don't. At least there are people from all walks of life in Gov.

S w Rand 2016

Big Dog. Are you suggesting that there are not people from all walks of life who own companies?

Anyway, they can only collect it if you don't try to block it. And if you are really concerned about it, you could get a USB flash drive and use UNetbootin http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ to load a lite version of the Linux operating system into your RAM on startup.
You go to the boot menu (usually by hitting ESC once or twice on the blue screen) and load from your flash drive instead of your hard drive. This way, you load Linux for web browsing instead of Windows.
I recommend Slacko 5.5 http://puppylinux.org/main/Downl... (another Linux distribution but you would want to fully research which Puppy Linux version is best for your system and, as with anything, learn how to use it before you end up having to factory restore your comp). It comes with Firefox 19. Then, you can install browser addons for Firefox such as NoScript, Flashblock 1.5.17, Adblock Plus 2.3, and Ghostery (specifically for blocking tracking by companies).

Myself, personally, I don't use Ghostery. I guess I just figure that the economy is better off, at this point, if companies can better learn what people want to buy. I use the other addons which I mentioned simply because Windows is utter garbage in regards to security against hackers. And if Linux had the funding to take the market by storm, I wouldn't even have to use Windows for gaming or for Netflix (they currently require Microsoft Silverlight, those noobs).

Ya' know, Big Dog, technically, you could be aiding extremists by being a newbie. Hackers could probably gain control of your system to launch attacks against financial institutions. That wouldn't go well for you. Considering your anti-capitalism rants, I dunno if "Hackers set me up" would work. You should probably take my advice, even if merely to do a small part in securing the U.S. infrastructure.

Btw, everything I suggested is free except for the USB flash drive.

The Big Dog's back

You know, the more I think about it, the more you would trust an unknown entity over the Gov. That's what's really scary.


"Trust an unknown entity over the Gov.?" Not a chance. But that you'd trust the government at ALL is even scarier! That's doubly true when you read what I wrote earlier about the biggest difference between corporate and government data collection: The power to arrest and imprison.

And let's be realistic: To some extent, you're right that I'm being tracked here. But then, I know enough to take precautions no matter WHICH website I'm on. Do you? Secondly, whatever IS being tracked is only collectible because I'm volunteering the information. Did anybody FORCE me to read the Register online? Did anybody hold a gun to my head to make me post comments? Will uniformed thugs track me down and threaten me if I DON'T read the Register or post comments?

Let me repeat this until you finally get it: I don't like widespread data collection by ANYBODY. I don't trust EITHER big business or big government to keep the private information private, nor do I believe either of them will never, EVER misuse it. But if push comes to shove, just exactly which entity represents the largest threat to life and liberty with all of that data to back them up, hmmm?

The Big Dog's back

Who in the private sector has been arrested and imprisoned? How do you know what private companies will do if they don't tell you? I can't believe you're being that simple minded about this. You really don't think private companies haven't "erased" people?


The difference is the Private entities don't have the power to take my freedom, my liberties and my property.

The Big Dog's back

You really didn't just say that did you?

The Big Dog's back

They could destroy you in a heartbeat with "stolen" identity.

S w Rand 2016

Big Dog. Stop acting like you truly believe your party's leaders are against mega-corporations. How else can a strong central government function without a strong right hand? The hand which equips it will not be bitten. Is this not evidenced by the fact that small business is in trouble while mega-corporations got richer during this administration?


I do nothing illegal and absolutely nothing that would cause the govt to want to watch my email, or surveil my house, or tap my phone. I worry way way way way more about actual threats to my well-being, and there are plenty of those, than I do about mountains out of molehills that are given publicity for political gain. Especially when the same politicians who try to get us scared about nonexistent problems are the same ones who have caused the very real problems the Obama administration inherited.

People who are actually worried about this are either are doing something that would cause them to be worried about getting caught, have a vastly inflated sense of self-importance, or are paranoid. Or all three of the above.