You may not have known that you had a Big Brother in Virginia watching you but Virginia State Police have had automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) that not only take pictures of license plates at the rate of 900 hundred a minute, no matter if it’s day or night, rainy or not, with devices that operate just fine when the police vehicle is traveling at 140 miles an hour while passing or closing.
These devices identify your vehicle, where it is, and when it’s there. You may think that’s terrific. But not when you consider that these devices are surveilling citizens suspected of nothing, when there’s no active criminal case, no suspect, no hint of a stolen car, no drug buy in progress.
Still, the police hoover up megabytes of data, and store it until they feel compelled to scrutinize what we may have done, with whom and when.
The First Amendment guarantees the right to associate with whomever you wish without any interference from the state that might “chill” this association.
Based on earlier FOIA requests, we know the State Police has employed these automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) to know who attended political rallies for President Obama and for Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. That’s no proper police function. Rather, it’s a “police state” function. Continue reading