DEA Maintaining Massive database of the country’s drivers and vehicles’ number plates – Database is used by DEA to track car owners.
In the recent past reports about the United States Drugs Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) huge database of the country’s every driver and number plate under the alibi of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) have already generated concerns. The data is used for tracking the movement of car owners across the country.
Although this piece of news was disturbing enough for innocent citizens as their fundamental right to privacy is being violated so extensively, but the fact is that the situation is much worse than we think it is.
The department responsible for publishing information about the DEA data collection program, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), has now issued authentic documents that explicitly validate the involvement of DEA in collection of citizens’ photos and number plates. What’s even more appalling is the fact that automated license plate scanners (ALPRs) are being used for capturing photos of the vehicle’s driver and its occupants.
While publishing the documents, the ACLU noted that,
‘Occupant photos are not an occasional, accidental byproduct of the technology, but one that is intentionally being cultivated.’
Furthermore, the ACLU provided four exclusive proofs that show the regular usage of ALPRs for collecting much more than just license plate numbers.
BestVpn reports that this situation is indeed alarming considering the advancements being made in facial recognition technology and the fact that DEA’s main ALPR technology supplier firm, the California-based Vigilant Solutions, has also developed a new app for integrating facial features.
‘In addition to the license plate recognition capture and analytic tools, the app also features Vigilant’s powerful FaceSearch® facial recognition which analyzes over 350 different vectors of the human face. The FaceSearch element of Mobile Companion allows officers in the field to snap a photo of a willing subject and have their face matched against a gallery of over 13 million pre-populated mugshot and registered sex offender images as well as any other images that the agency uploads into its own gallery.’
Moreover, ACLU states that some police departments are careful enough to capture pictures of cars from the rear side only to avoid picturing the occupants. However, the ACLU report concludes that:
‘Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that most law enforcement agencies are taking such measures.’
As per our information, the DEA has not commented on the news yet. Privacy activists, however, are very concerned. Clark Neily, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, commented that
‘It’s deeply concerning and creepy. We’re Americans. We drive a lot.’