AST Digital Magazine July/August 2016 - Page 12

Volume 6 is a practicality to the enterprise that is largely forgotten. Yes, it is absolutely true that ALPR is capable of storing the massive amounts of capture data that these groups fear. But the idea that the police have the time or the manpower to go through this voluminous amount of data just looking for someone to target on moral, religious, or political grounds is absurd on its face. It reeks of the kind of paranoia for which so-called civil rights organizations are infamous, and it doesn’t reflect reality in the slightest. Exaggerated fears notwithstanding, there are some best practices, if you will, that responsible users of ALPR should employ. Such practices not only help to ensure that personal privacy rights are not being violated, but also go a long way toward enhancing the public’s perception that everything necessary in that regard is being done. First and foremost, it is imperative that all ALPR users, whether public or private, know their state statutes in regard to the technology. Simply put, U.S. states vary widely in how they regulate ALPR. Some, such as New Hampshire, have effectively banned the technology altogether, whereas others, such as Florida, have no real restrictions on its use at all. Other states fall somewhere in between, delineating the purposes for which it can be used and how long capture data can be stored before it must be deleted. The information is readily available online and it is highly recommended that those who use or are considering using ALPR study it carefully. Second, know and use the built-in security features of your ALPR solution. These, too, can vary. The best available technology will provide you not only with state-of-the-art data security measures, but also built-in data retention features allowing the July-Aug 2016 Edition user to schedule data for automatic deletion after a specified period of time. In the near future, other security features will be available, such as a comprehensive audit trail that keeps detailed records of all data queries made to the system. Additionally, if you use a network of fixed-location cameras, make sure that they are hack-proof. Finally, always verify your hits. New-school ALPR technology is very accurate and getting better all the time, but no technology, no matter how sophisticated, is perfect. When your system hits on a plate, take a few extra seconds to verify that it has read the plate correctly and is therefore returning accurate information. Don’t put yourself or your agency in the position of stopping and possibly arresting an innocent person due solely to a computer error. ALPR is Here to Stay Unfortunately, the dangers of crime and terrorism aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, they are likely to get worse before they get better. Going forward, we are going to need the best technological tools available to help stem this tide and keep our nation safe. ALPR is a critical weapon in this war. It is imperative that we deploy it wherever possible to maximize its potential and give our law enforcement and Homeland Security officers the help they need. For more information, please http://www.platesmart. com/. 12