Media outlet acquires 4.6M license plate scans from the Oakland police

March 24, 2015


Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much private data is actually out in the open for just anyone to browse through. As one prime example, Ars Technica recently acquired a massive list of license plate reader information just by making a simple request. In fact, the media outlet obtained the complete Oakland police department’s plate database which consists of more than 4.7 million scans from the past 3 years.

It’s clear that only a very small fraction of the plate information in the database is related to criminal activity, and Ars was able to use it to draw up a complete picture of an individual’s movements over the years. It is to be noted that Ars did all of this with the complete consent of the individuals involved.

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