Neighborhood associations are installing license plate readers to privately police who drives on their streets

Originally published at:


The Snow Crash future comes one step closer. As I recall, the Deliverator’s Cosa Nostra Pizza vehicle had special tags allowing it to enter the various restricted Burbclaves to provide gig-economy deliveries efficiently.


Anyone who has the clueless, propagandized, brainwashed audacity to proudly think of the USA as “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” while HOAs and ALPRs—and now HOAs with ALPRs—exist should be laughed at derisively and at length.


“CosaNostra Pizza doesn’t have any competition. Competition goes against the Mafia ethic.”


I am always bringing up an observation from Ground Control by Anna Minton, where she interviews people in a secure apartment block who live in fear of intruders and fret that the gate might be left open. One of the residents notes (without apparent self-awareness) that she never used to worry about it when she lived in the same area, with a front door that opened directly onto the street.


It’s known as ANPR here in the UK - Automatic Number-Plate Recognition.

Would be interesting if it’s possible to challenge these HOAs with subject access requests and demand they tell you what data they’re keeping on you. GDPR may kill this dystopian surveillance idea, at least in EU nations.


The linked story from Houston had a harrowing account illustrating why these should be placed in every neighborhood. A company vehicle was allowed into the neighborhood and it drove over someone’s flower bed. Without these cameras those hard-working Americans would have had to repair the bed themselves, but thankfully with the cameras they were able to extract over a thousand dollars for the damage. I personally think that the “privacy concerns” of such plebes is trivial when weighed against such obvious benefits to our piece of mind.


How about a dashcam version for the freeways?

1 Like

I don’t think you even need GDPR for this to be blatantly illegal in the EU.


Nothing an old tire and a pint of guzzaline can’t fix.


This trend of people acting as cops and distrusting everything that stands out as not belonging is a fucking nightmare and you can easily see parallels in all these bullshit affidavits from Trump’s “poll watchers” who went to election centers not knowing how they work and saw nefarious intent in what in fact are routine, legal actions. This is the same kind of mindset that gets young black people in this country killed just for living their lives the way they want to live them. We really need to teach people to stop policing anything that is not “normal” to them.


Say you have the recommended 10 cameras at $2k/yr each for 100 homes. That is $200 per year per home. That article says the HOA only get a couple of incidents per year with the cameras. So $10k cost per incident to possibly recover say $1k.

The HOA guy says the incidents are so low due to the deterrence of the signs by the cameras. So why not buy dummy cameras and signs for a hundredth the cost? Heck put them on every home. Oh wait that is Ring’s business.


In UK no ordinary citizen or neighbourhood watch committee gets direct access to the licence plate database (DVLA). You need to be police or an authorised organisation (such as shitty piratical private parking enforcement fuckers) to get to know who is the registered keeper of a vehicle.

Is it easier in the USA?

(And in any event, it would not tell you who was driving the car in your precious suburban neighbourhood, just who owned the car.)

1 Like

Dang! I was just going to post that I wasn’t sure if the Mews at Windsor Heights had these yet, but that I’m pretty sure White Columns and The Farms of Cloverdelle do.


Who would have access to this information? Only law enforcement, and only after there has been a reported incident? (What if one of the homeowners “saw someone/something suspicious” and wants to do some extra-credit Nancy Drew’ing with the license plate info?)

Do the homeowners themselves really want any of the other homeowners to have access? Imagine what happens when homeowner A finds out that homeowner B is having playtime visitors over that are not homeowner B’s spouse?


Between this and Amazon Ring, the irrational pearl clutching surveillance society people are furthering in America is really starting to piss me off massively.

I am not a rat in a cage to be watched.

I think its time I go build a lead cell phone case and a licence plate cover.


The Real License Plates of Orange County sounds unwatchable, yet would likely be attractive to a certain crowd.

(TBH, I think those kinds of shows already have cameras pointed at the driveways, and their Production Assistants are probably already tasked with cataloging the plates of every arriving vehicle. )


Indeed you don’t – the EU’s 1995 Data Protection Directive made it illegal to collect personal data without obtaining consent and arranging to tell subjects what data you have on them. The only real difference with the GDPR is it claims to apply outside the EU.

But as far as I’m aware, apart from the public sector, no one has ever taken it seriously. Certainly I see a lot of convenience stores in Garbage Island that record me from ten angles without my consent, or at best with a little sign feebly suggesting that I’ve consented by reading the sign.

Given how much Garbage Islanders enjoy making up fictional laws to grudgingly obey, it wouldn’t take many prosecutions to establish that, no, we’re not allowed to Stasi each other at will. The fact this hasn’t happened tells me that UK governments like saying we have a right to privacy, but never intended it to actually mean anything.


Recently I’ve watched a bunch of videos about problems with “porch pirates” and people taking delivered food left on doorsteps and they all mention using things like Ring to capture that moment. It seems like such a strange problem to need all these solutions for… just stop leaving things unattended on doorsteps.

Here in the UK, if someone doesn’t answer the door they either try delivery again the next day or they leave a card and drop the package off at a post office for you to go over and collect. If you live in a building which is split up into multiple apartments and there is a delivery for one of the other properties, they’ll leave it with your neighbour (who will likely drop it into the communal mail space or by your internal door).

Leaving a package just out in the open is weird.


Thankfully criminals use their own vehicles and plates when doing x your neighborhood.

1 Like