Caught: Philadelphia Police Tried to Disguise This Spy Vehicle as a Google Streetview Car

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Top Tier Gear USA


Hey, wait a minute… That’s obviously not a Google Streetview car.

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.

See Also Philadelphia Police are Seizing People’s Homes and Not Because they Can’t Pay

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Melissa Dykes is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple and a co-creator of Truthstream Media with Aaron Dykes, a site that offers teleprompter-free, unscripted analysis of The Matrix we find ourselves living in. Melissa and Aaron also recently launched Revolution of the Method and Informed Dissent. Wake the flock up!

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  • Louis Lewis

    Yes, Philadelphia. The Land of Freedom, my ass.
    Hopefully some true patriot will make sure that van is reduced to dust.
    Fuck you Philly. Hope you burn to the ground. Traitors.

  • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

    When the state resorts to devious and underhanded methods-read un-Constitutional-to, presumably, locate and catch citizens who are accused of doing devious and underhanded things which are illegal, there is one glaring conclusion to be drawn. The state has become a citizen sanctioned crime syndicate.

    • When wasn’t the state a “citizen sanctioned crime syndicate?”

      • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

        I would suspect when it was brand new and no one yet had the gall to test the limits of the Constitution or the People’s patience.

        • The republic was infested with royal agents and spies from the very beginning. That is why they put the requirement in that the president had to be a natural born citizen.

    • Frank

      “Underhanded” doesn’t necessarily equate to being unConstitutional. The plate readers are nothing more than a revenue-generating tool for government agencies – applied by the police. We’re in a death spiral where entitlement-dependent citizens depend on no-integrity politicians to keep spending more and more other peoples’ money to sustain an unsustainable system, so they deploy tools like plate readers to scoop up every little violation and fee owed to the government to stave off the eventual collapse as long as possible. They justify the plate readers to collect “money owed” when, in reality, they spend FAR MORE than these methods could ever recover. If there were no violations or fees owed, the reality would be laid bare.

      • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

        Offhand, I can’t think of one underhanded thing the government does that isn’t un-Constitutional. Their utilization of plate readers-which seems an egregious violation of the 4th Amendment-as revenue generating tools, is but one small example of just how far down the rabbit hole we have gone.

        • Frank

          The plate readers are nothing more than and automated method of observing and screening plates against DMV data systems for outstanding fees, fines, etc. The same thing is accomplished by an officer that drives along and runs plates one at a time as fast as he can punch in the numbers – the plate readers just do it much faster. I did some homework when I got tagged by a plate reader. Your license plate, being displayed in accordance with your state laws, is “in plain view” and thereby not protected under 4th Amendment protections, and by licensing a vehicle you agree to comply with related laws, in a nutshell. It makes a single police officer a more effective collector of revenue, among other things. Wait until they develop a way to disable moving vehicles for outstanding fines and fees – the ultimate motivator for being in complete compliance. Just like the cities and states that rely on high gas taxes for extra revenue and then The People either buy ultra-high (hybrid) mileage vehicles or stop driving all together. Oops! Time to find another way to bilk the masses to fund all of those “unfunded liabilities” and social-welfare programs. The state of Oregon is a prime example.

          • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

            I understand the reasons given for them-but this sort of dragnet search, without probable cause, seems unreasonable to me. I know, I know-the courts have ruled in favor of such devices and tactics. They have also ruled in favor of the NSA’s dragnet searches of peoples phone records. I no longer trust the courts to determine the Constitutionality of things, and haven’t for a very long time.

  • Broos
  • Just that city’s particular and peculiar type of brotherly love.

    • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

      “Brotherly Love” ends with unwanted penetration in all too many instances.

      Fitting in Philly’s case.

      • It would be interesting to see documentation as to how many unwanted penetrations are completed with satisfaction and a hope for repetition.

        • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

          It would be interesting at that.

  • It should be illegal, if it’s not already.