LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The feds reportedly have a new way to find and arrest the undocumented.
It’s a high-tech way to track them in their cars and follow them wherever they go.
If Immigration and Customs Enforcement is looking for a person and knows what car they’re driving, they may soon be able to track them through their license plate.
When you pass one of those cameras hoisted to street lights and freeway signs your license plate is captured and sent to a database. But soon what the cameras pick up in Southern California might be available to ICE, in what the ACLU likens to a high-tech dragnet.
“Communities should be able to decide if their local systems become part of Trump’s high-tech deportation machine,” Matt Cagle, of the ACLU, said.
ICE confirms it has bought access to a nationwide private license plate reader database.
The online magazine The Verge says the contract is with Vigilant Solutions which has already collected billions of license plate photos.
The company has said it has contracts with a long list of Southern California police departments and cities including the LAPD and L.A. County Sheriffs.
Jeff Harp is a former FBI agent and says the technology is no different from Fast Trak and our license plate numbers are public information.
“If you got cities that have prohibited law enforcement from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, then Immigration and Customs Enforcement, they’re gonna have to think of other ways, other methods to get what they need,” he said. “It’s just one of many tools available to them like Facbeook, like Google.”
But the ACLU of Northern California argues Vigilant is creating a private database of our license plates, and its willingness to give the data to ICE may indicate the company’s willingness to use our information in ways its local partners didn’t envision.
“Sharing that information might run afoul of local sanctuary policies,” Cagle said.
Vigilant said in a statement their information is mainly used to find stolen cars, missing people and solve other crimes.