|torrentless tire wrapping|
Private companies know where you've been, thanks to license plate cameras
Marnie Eisenstadt, 2015 Jan 15, syracuse.com
...because license plate data starts as a snapshot on a public street, your records are their right.
"The whole notion that there is a privacy concern ... is just not valid," said Brian Shockley, Vigilant's vice president for marketing. "It's not a people. It's a license plate. It's not connected to personal information, at all."
DRN and Vigilant don't connect the data to personal information, Shockley said. That happens when the data leaves DRN's database.
The license plate data is rarely used on its own. It's combined with DMV information that identifies who owns the car. New York made more than $4.3 million selling personal DMV data this year and last, according to state contracts.
Type in one name. Up pops a map of where your car has been spotted over the course of the past three months. Mouse over the location and the map tells you what each place is. A few more mouse clicks show your phone numbers, email addresses, social media accounts and home addresses. Yet another few taps on the keyboard and there is social network work map, showing you, your family members, spouses, friends, acquaintances.
"We have created a groundbreaking new product for your investigative and risk management needs," the company's website reads.
TransUnion's spokesman, David Blumberg, said that only law enforcement or other "credentialed customers" can access reports with the license plate data. The list includes private detectives, lawyers, people who work at mortgage companies, people who work at insurance companies, people who work in risk management and people who work in fraud detection.
While access to driver's license data is restricted by federal law, license plate data is not. Blumberg said that, for now, TransUnion is applying the same restrictions to license plate data voluntarily.