The Toronto Star did a reprint of a May WashPo article today. It was the mass plate reader technology and how it’s being used that made me sit up.
Now we have private repo companies conducting police state-level surveillance on people.
Lewis works for Relentless Recovery, the largest repo company in Ohio and its busiest collector of license plate scans. Last year, the company repossessed more than 25,500 vehicles — including tractor trailers and riding lawn mowers.
Relentless scanned 28 million license plates last year, a demonstration of its recent, heavy push into technology. It now has more than 40 camera-equipped vehicles, mostly spotter cars. Agents are finding repos they never would have a few years ago.
The company’s goal is to capture every plate in Ohio and use that information to reveal patterns. A plate shot outside an apartment at 5 a.m. tells you that’s probably where the driver spends the night, no matter their listed home address. So when a repo order comes in for a car, the agent already knows where to look.
“It’s kind of scary, but it’s amazing,” said Alana Ferrante, chief executive of Relentless.
How about amazingly scary?
Even if the company’s data isn’t stolen by hackers, or sold to someone else, police and spooks are going to find that information irresistible. They’ll want it so that they can throw it in the Palantir magic caldron with everything else and see if anything bubbles to the surface.
The repo man had a policy, part of that aim to not make a bad situation worse.
Yeah, about that…