Tue, Feb 18th 2014
For the government to actively call for a nationwide database is troubling. Since this is a solicitation for bids, there's no discussion on what, if anything, will be required from the winning contractor in terms of storage, minimization or disposal. Given the track records of the largest vendors, it's likely these issues will be of lesser concern than other aspects, like scanning speed and database accessibility.
The call for bids may have something to do with Vigilant's recent efforts, both on the PR front and in the courtroom.
First off, Vigilant (along with Digital Recognition Network) is suing the state of Utah for, believe it or not, violating its First Amendment rights.
The Texas company fired back, arguing that collecting license plate numbers is free speech. The lawsuit draws upon a recent major Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United v. FEC, which overturned a law curbing corporate and union donations to political campaigns. In effect, the Court ruled that money is speech.
“The Texas company says it’s not a police agency – law enforcement already is exempt from the ban under Utah’s new law — nor can it access in bulk federally protected driver data that personally identifies the letters and numbers it collects from license plates in public,” the Associated Press reported Thursday. “The company said it only wants to find cars that have been stolen or repossessed, not to cull large swaths of data and incriminate people from their travel habits.”