Artificial intelligence helps police track vehicles with surveillance cameras, even without license plate numbers

Thanks to a growing network of license plate reader cameras in the metro area, investigators were able to gather evidence against a suspected bank robber accused of using a stolen getaway vehicle that didn’t have a license plate.

The advancing license plate reader technology, which uses artificial intelligence, is proving helpful for local law enforcement agencies, but raises more concerns among privacy advocates who call the systems unchecked “mass surveillance.”

According to a federal criminal complaint filed in Colorado’s U.S. District Court, bank robbery investigators were able to capture a getaway vehicle on a license plate reader camera even without a license plate number.

Full story: Artificial intelligence helps police track vehicles with surveillance cameras, even without license plate numbers

5 Replies to “Artificial intelligence helps police track vehicles with surveillance cameras, even without license plate numbers”

  1. I really only have one main question on this situation; How law enforcement would set the public’s mind at ease with such a tool?

    To start off, this AI tool is extremely useful for law enforcement. The ability for the AI to definitely or at least probably pick out a suspect’s vehicle has immense potential. Catching the suspects/culprits is important, and vehicles are often lost due to an inability to know exactly where they are. With the AI, this should help or even resolve this issue as long as the vehicle passes by a camera. The only issue I’d have with it is as previously mentioned in the article, is the idea of mass surveillance. Having every car basically be catalogued that passes by and studied does leave some concern for one’s privacy. If someone is able to access it, they can basically follow you wherever you go in your car; to work or even home.

    So I get why this could be such an issue, and I would like the law enforcement to be able to assure the public the safety of the AI’s use.

    1. I agree that this tool can be extremely helpful for law enforcement as it opens so many new doors. However, I think the issue of mass surveillance is just being looked at in a different light. Anytime there is a new technology, especially one involved in policing, people are all over it. They want to know what it does, how it will be used and what issues it could pose. This is the same type of situation. Mass surveillance isn’t necessarily new if you really think about it. We carry around phones everyday that can be accessed just like these cameras if someone knew what they were doing. We are constantly being watched in many different aspects so therefore this isn;t inherently new. I think it’s just the view and approach being taken that needs to be looked at and handled in a way that eases the public.

    2. I agree that AI is a very useful tool to use for law enforcement it has a lot of limitations but can still help in the long run. However, with the AI trying to track down criminals cars like you say will take a long time and it would have a lot of flaws compared to the way humans do it. AI looks into all of the little details and goes way off while a human focuses more on the simple details and tries to find them that way. While AI is still evolving and could one day track individual criminals and not mess up that hasn’t happened yet, unfortunately. But when it does there won’t be as many criminals who get away from Law Enforcement.

  2. Technologies such as the one described in this article are a growing part of our society and our criminal justice system. They are not something that we can ignore and with that being said a question is being raised. Not a question of whether or not we should use them because they are going to be a part of our system whether we like it or not. The question is how we are going to regulate them. Will this be done on a local level or is something that will be broader such as the state legislature? Does it encroach on our right to privacy? What will this mean for the workload of officers and others within departments who have to sift through all of this new information.

    1. Regulation becomes critical when technological innovations expand into our culture and the criminal justice system. The unavoidable integration of them raises important problems about how we control them, not about how they are used. Will there be municipal regulation or stronger state legislation? With the widespread use of these technologies, privacy rights concerns are growing. For officers and department employees responsible with processing large volumes of data, the data inflow also presents serious difficulties. It is crucial to find a balance between protecting individual liberties and using these capabilities to improve public safety. To ensure the efficient, moral, and just regulation of new technologies in our criminal justice system, we need to carefully evaluate our options and work together with all relevant parties.

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