Hey, wait a minute… That’s obviously not a Google Streetview car.
WTF? Pennsylvania State Police license plate reader SUV camouflaged as Google Street View vehicle. pic.twitter.com/0z4yo2rVoR
— matt blaze (@mattblaze) May 11, 2016
That’s a Pennsylvania State Police license plate reading car poorly disguised as a Google Streetview car!
Actually no. According the PA State Police, it isn’t theirs either.
The truck is definitely owned by the City of Philadelphia. Image: Dustin Slaughter
Motherboard did some research and got the Philadelphia Police Department to admit they did it with this released statement:
“We have been informed that this unmarked vehicle belongs to the police department; however, the placing of any particular decal on the vehicle was not approved through any chain of command. With that being said, once this was brought to our attention, it was ordered that the decals be removed immediately.”
The spokesperson also claimed that an inquiry is forthcoming.
Not approved? You mean, the police went rogue and no one knew? Just what kind of operation are they running over there in Philly?
To be fair, it’s ridiculously obvious that isn’t a Google streetview car. Why even bother if it was going to be that obvious?
Google is also reportedly looking into unauthorized use of its logo (because as we all know, Google really cares about people being illegally spied upon).
The truck is using an infrared ALPR surveillance system which processes multiple license plates simultaneously in a fraction of a second. The system is used for many things, including sniffing out unpaid parking tickets/taxes/fees, stopping drug deals, recovering stolen cars, etc.
But, since it is in Philly — one of the nation’s capitals for civil asset forfeiture — it’s probably the first one.
Back to Motherboard:
“It’s certainly concerning if the city of Philadelphia is running mass surveillance and going out of its way to mislead people,” said Dave Maass, a former journalist and researcher at the nonprofit advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Maass speculated that the disguised unit may have been part of a “targeted” investigation. But he was quick to point out that there really is no such thing when it comes to police using ALPR.
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