Fox News informs us that, “(A)utomatic license plate readers — like the one that helped crack the (Walter) Bailey murder case and send his killer to prison for life — and the company that manufactures them are under fire from a tech watchdog that found more than 100 of the systems streaming live on the web, potentially compromising personal information of countless Americans.” Wait. A government-operated, web-accessible database? What could possibly go wrong? Well, there’s this: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s study found footage from stationary cameras, which scan license plates and generate personal data on the car’s registrant, was being posted online — and with no password protection. One such camera was monitoring activity at a University of Southern California frat house, while another was trained on a Florida gun shop, according to the group . . .
And you thought 4473s were the only potential threat to a lawful gun buyer’s privacy.
“Anyone in favor of the Second Amendment, I’m sure, could have a problem with that,” Dave Maass, an EFF researcher and co-author of the report, told FoxNews.com.
Why yes. Yes, we do. Particularly since federal gun registration is (ostensibly) illegal. And the Gunshine State outlaws it, too.
“If you plugged certain keywords into Shodan, the site retrieved hundreds of PIPS [manufactured] camera systems connected to the Internet, often with control panels open and completely accessible through a Web browser,” the report said. Maass said anyone could watch the live stream and learn information about license plate numbers.
The story doesn’t divulge which Florida gun shop was being monitored, or the jurisdiction that’s trained its eye in the sky on their parking lot. You can probably see how that might put a dent in their business.
In a lot of jurisdictions using the PIPS system, access is about as rigorously secured as Hillary’s email server. Anyone curious enough could log in and check out the personal details of those patronizing that Florida gun store…and who knows how many others not mentioned in the report. But come on…it’s no big deal, really. Seriously, who could possibly be interested in that kind of information?
The next obvious question – after asking who forgot to set up basic password protection – is, what are the jurisdictions themselves doing with all the accumulated data? Oh, and does anyone know where we can get one of these?
[h/t Tom in Oregon]