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    Update: California city to record every car coming and going

    The San Francisco Chronicle has an update to a story I discussed earlier this year. Tiburon, a town near the San Francisco Bay, will use cameras to record the entrance and exit of every vehicle.

    The Town Council voted 4-0 late Wednesday – with Vice Mayor Miles Berger absent – to install six cameras that recognize license plate characters on Tiburon Boulevard and Paradise Drive. Those are the only two roads that feed into the Tiburon peninsula, which also includes the smaller city of Belvedere on its southwestern edge.

    Tiburon will be the first community in the Bay Area, and perhaps the country, to line its borders with the cameras, which have drawn criticism from privacy rights advocates. […]

    [Yami Anolik, a 64-year-old real estate investor,] said she did not share the privacy concerns of some of her neighbors, explaining, “If you’re driving on a public road, you gave up your privacy already. If you want to be private, stay at home.”

    William Rothman, a 72-year-old retired physician from Belvedere, spoke against the cameras, saying he had concerns that went beyond the “creeping invasion of our privacy rights.”

    He said he was concerned that detectives armed with a list of hundreds of cars that entered Tiburon around the time of a crime would profile suspects based on where they were from and what they drove.

    My question about the system remains. Constant surveillance treats all individuals as if they are already considered suspicious or guilty — suspicious enough for them to be treated like criminals. Ubiquitous surveillance occurs in certain situations, such as prisons. Do we really want people driving or walking in public to become as watched and tracked as prisoners?

    Here’s more on the privacy questions surrounding use of license-plate scanning technology.

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