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The Danger of License Plate Readers in Post-Roe America

This surveillance tech is pervasive across the U.S. and could soon be used for anti-abortion advocates

Since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, America’s extensive surveillance state could soon be turned against those seeking abortions or providing abortion care.

Currently, nine states have almost entirely banned abortion, and more are expected to follow suit. Many Republican lawmakers in these states are discussing the possibility of preventing people from traveling across state lines to obtain an abortion. If such plans are enacted and withstand legal scrutiny, one of the key technologies that could be deployed to track people trying to cross state lines is automated license plate readers (ALPRs). They’re employed heavily by police forces across the U.S., but they’re also used by private actors.

ALPRs are cameras that are mounted on street poles, overpasses, and elsewhere that can identify and capture license plate numbers on passing cars for the purpose of issuing speeding tickets and tolls, locating stolen cars and more. State and local police maintain databases of captured license plates and frequently use those databases in criminal investigations.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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