By John Chigos, Founder, Chairman & CEO at PlateSmartTechnologies, Inc.
I founded PlateSmart about 15 years ago to advance automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) as a crime-fighting tool.
We were the first LPR company to employ Artificial Intelligence (AI), Object Recognition and Analytics.
I wanted to help law enforcement officers (LEOs) do their jobs more safely.
I also wanted business owners to be able to keep their patrons and employees safer. In both cases, forewarned is forearmed.
In the early days of the business, I was a vocal proponent of ALPR and its legal standing regarding privacy and the Fourth Amendment.
I think much has changed since then, and it’s clear we as an industry need to be more involved in conversations about technology and privacy.
We have to be more honest about the technology and what it can — and should — do.
And we must also come together and agree on best practices concerning ALPR.
Privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), have expressed legitimate concerns how the tech is being used, but the industry has yet to address these concerns in a way that can help alleviate them.
I’ve also seen some in our industry make claims about their products that are questionable at best.
Consider accuracy rates, which can easily be artificially inflated in a controlled laboratory environment.
I’ve seen some claims, for instance, of 99% accuracy and higher, which might be accurate in a lab however, put the product out in the real world, and these rates drop dramatically.
Since there are no industry standards or governing bodies dictating how ALPR performance claims (such as accuracy) must be tested — to ensure customers are comparing apples to apples — some have taken advantage.
Having said all of this, let me start the discussion.
First, we at PlateSmart are very focused on data privacy. That has always been true.
From our perspective, our customers own the data our software helps them gather and analyze. It’s their property.
As such, PlateSmart doesn’t compile or sell it as some in our industry have or might be planning to do, building entire revenue models around the sale of the data.
I think everyone in the industry should follow suit.
PlateSmart has always been a proponent of never touching our customers’ data without their express permission.
Even then, we only use it only for the purposes of advancing the ALPR technology, after which we destroy it.
Which brings me to the topic of data retention.
We at PlateSmart are all for:
Customers in both the public and private sectors adopting official data retention policies, and,
Having those policies stipulate that the data can only be retained as long as absolutely necessary.
Ultimately, we believe it’s up to state legislatures to determine retention policies.
In lieu of that, it is up the customer to set sensible policies that don’t infringe upon personal privacy.
For instance, many states that have adopted ALPR data retention statutes for law enforcement have said that the data must be destroyed after a certain period of time unless it’s part of an ongoing investigation, after which the data must then be destroyed in short order.
It’s my position that the only reason to hold ALPR data for an extended period is for ongoing investigations.
Again, though, it’s up to legislators to put laws into effect governing the retention of the data.
To summarize, I believe it’s time for the industry to come together to address the issues that affect us all.
We must contribute our expertise to that of privacy advocates such as the ACLU and EFF in encouraging responsible policymaking and truth in advertising.
We are in an age in which technology is advancing faster than regulatory bodies can keep up.
But it’s also a time in which it could be argued that there are other technologies far more invasive than ALPR.
In short, the technological genie is out of the bottle, and along with it a variety of false claims and questionable behavior.
Unless we weigh in on the matters concerning ALPR, others will do it for us, and restrictions will grow ever tighter.
One only has to look at California and its new consumer privacy laws, bans on certain technologies such as facial recognition and bans or restrictions on ALPR.
(California lawmakers are considering legislation that would limit its use by law enforcement. Courtesy of CBS 8 San Diego and YouTube. Posted on Jun 11, 2019.)
Without our contributions, I believe such policies will only spread.
I look forward to hearing what all of you — from competitors to channel partners to end users — have to say.
I hope the response is strong.
If not, I’ll still be here, banging the drum. Someone has to.
About the Author
John Chigos’s clear vision and passion for the safety of law enforcement officers and members of military has driven him to build the most accurate and versatile license plate recognition technology available.
John has vast experience in strategic business development, management, and financial strategies, and received a B.A. in Psychology from University of Hartford, a J.D. from Western New England Law School and an MBA from University of Hartford.
He can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-chigos/.
PlateSmart to Compete in Fourth Consecutive ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program
Best License Plate Recognition System
ARES ALPR-based Video Analytics
*PlateSmart was also recognized in the 2017 and 2016 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Programs
Having secured Top Placement Awards in Three Consecutive Annual ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Programs, PlateSmart Technologies is pleased to announce they have been nominated to compete in the 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program.
The 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program is Proudly Sponsored by ATI Systems, Attivo Networks, Automatic Systems, and Desktop Alert.
Limited Time Only – Nominations are still open for the 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards at https://americansecuritytoday.com/ast-awards/.
|Access Control/ Identification||Personal/Protective Equipment||Law Enforcement Counter Terrorism|
|Perimeter Barrier/ Deterrent System||Interagency Interdiction Operation||Cloud Computing/Storage Solution|
|Facial/IRIS Recognition||Body Worn Video Product||Cyber Security|
|Video Surveillance/VMS||Mobile Technology||Anti-Malware|
|Audio Analytics||Disaster Preparedness||ID Management|
|Thermal/Infrared Camera||Mass Notification System||Fire & Safety|
|Metal/Weapon Detection||Rescue Operations||Critical Infrastructure|
|License Plate Recognition||Detection Products||And Many Others!|
Don’t see a Direct Hit for your Product, Agency or Organization?
Submit your category recommendation for consideration to Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck to N2WS on becoming a Winner in the 2019 American Security Today’s Homeland Security Awards Program!
The 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program drew an overwhelming response from industry leaders with a record high number of corporate and government nominations received, as well as record breaking ‘ASTORS’ Presentation Luncheon Attendees, with top firms trying to register for the exclusive high – end luncheon and networking opportunity – right up to the event kickoff on Wednesday afternoon, at the ISC East registration!
The Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program is specifically designed to honor distinguished government and vendor solutions that deliver enhanced value, benefit and intelligence to end users in a variety of government, homeland security and public safety vertical markets.
Over 130 distinguished guests representing National, State and Local Governments, and Industry Leading Corporate Firms, gathered from across North America, Europe and the Middle East to be honored among their peers in their respective fields which included:
- The Department of Homeland Security
- The Federal Protective Service (FPS)
- Argonne National Laboratory
- The Department of Homeland Security
- The Department of Justice
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- Viasat, Hanwha Techwin, Lenel, Konica Minolta Business Solutions, Verint, Canon U.S.A., BriefCam, Pivot3, Milestone Systems, Allied Universal, Ameristar Perimeter Security and More!