Mordor Mayor Rybak makes moves to hide Minneapolis panopticon: Total Minneapolis Awareness Automatic License Plate Reader records form 'retroactive surveillance' empire


"It is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday facilitate a police state." ~ Cryptographer/security guy Bruce Schneier (src)

We all know the old motif - Feds staking out parking lots, reporting the license plates back to Hoover. Nowadays things are a little different - computers can trivially hoover up all the unique features like license plates and faces from video signals, 24/7. These are technical capabilities that Hitler and Stalin only dreamed of. The former National Security Agency employee William Binney described the system locking into place as a "turnkey totalitarian state" is arriving one system at a time. One of those turnkeys just turned up in Minneapolis.

The word is out now that more than 2 million license plate records have been obtained through a data request, since the surveillance material consists of mostly public record fields. Minneapolis developer Tony Webster (@webster) wrote up the info on what happened here - and quite correctly calls for the government to quit holding this kind of data for a number of serious reasons. See Minneapolis Police release 2.1 million license plate records.

Rybak wants quick action on license plate data |

A day after the city released a database containing more than two million license plate scans, Mayor R.T. Rybak wants expedited state action to make the data non-public.

The Legislature is already expected to take action this session to reclassify license plate tracking data, which is derived from cameras mounted on local police squad cars across the state. But after complying with a request for Minneapolis' entire public database -- featuring dates, times and locations of all plates scanned in a 90 day period -- Rybak wants more immediate action.

He said the request was "already in the works" before Tuesday's data release, but "it does concern me." His request to temporarily reclassify the data would, if approved by the Commissioner of Administration, prevent the city from releasing the tracking data to members of the public.

See also latest on MPR: Lawmakers mull bill to regulate automatic license plate readers Minnesota Today. I think MPR is inaccurate as MPD said they'd shortened this to 90 days from the original year, as Strib indicated. (otherwise they would have violated MN Data Practices Act by failing to release earlier public records upon request)

Minneapolis' DFL Mayor RT Rybak (@mayorRTrybak) has sprung into action to demand the records generated by Minneapolis Police Department's Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) system become classified as "private data", which means only the government, cops, various lawyers under different circumstances, etc, could trivially get ahold of incredibly detailed data & patterns about your vehicle's movements without a warrant.

Rybak's thoughtful plan is to make sure that no one else can get that data, only that bloated galaxy of whom John Young @ calls the 'authoritatives' lording the new panopticon over us.

This is our window - our snapshot of the beta test - into the hellish future of total 'retroactive surveillance' awaiting us, when all our actions are constantly recorded to be 'played backwards' whenever some bureaucratic enforcer wants to increment his career through hassling us, demanding civil fines for infractions etc.

As recent posts on this site have documented, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (which just got a new chief) is spending state taxpayer money funnelled to military-industrial contractors in order to build a local version of a GPS tracking system called Intellidrive, which would transmit every damn move, including velocity, of every tagged car.

Additionally, exposure of abusive & immoral practices in the Drug Recognition Evaluator training program (& main BCA file) resulted not in a candid cleanup by law enforcement, but stonewalling. When individual law enforcement officers invariably abuse these massive data mining deployments, as some do, is there really adequate oversight let alone punishment for turning these 'necessary' technologies into avenues of abuse?

Plus of course, what are the implications of the chilling effects of these ALPR systems? What is the price paid by society when the chilling effect of avoiding ALPRs by staying put kicks in? How many people refuse to fly because of the intrusive & abusive security measures? And what happens when municipal cameras collect data even more granular and intrusive than the federal TSA?

For more on this stuff I recommend following @webster, and @RichNeumeister, a citizen activist on nearly all data & privacy matters at the Mn State Capitol. It seems like Webster triggered the Rybak blocking him on Twitter. Classy - especially since Webster posted in this recent context he's a lifelong DFL supporter.

To quote a bit from Rich Neumeister's blog which is VERY helpful for Minnesota issues: Two meetings: prescription records and license plate scans

Now to the Criminal Justice and Juvenile Information Policy Group meeting which was to make a decision about the collection and retention of millions of records of where you and I travel if we happen to be owners of cars collected secretly by the cops.

Per Eric Roper's Star Tribune Blog post  the Policy Group made up of Commissioners, judges, and others decided to make the license scan data private, but deleted the retention of 180 days for the data if there were no hits for law enforcement investigation.

Now I have to scratch my head on this one. By deleting the retention of 180 days, is the Policy Group saying with all intents and purposes, DO NOT KEEP OR COLLECT LICENSE SCANS ON INNOCENT AND LAW ABIDING PEOPLE, or are they saying the COPS CAN COLLECT ALL THE LICENSE SCAN DATA THEY WANT ON INNOCENT AND LAW ABIDING PEOPLE AND KEEP IT AS LONG AS THEY WANT.

I am perplexed.

& also earlier: Email to Minnesota Criminal Justice Policy Group on License Plate Cameras. For what it's worth Webster tweeted this afternoon (Tues Dec 13th) that the division of the state govt that implements/sets the rules, IPAD, has NOT yet received anything new from Minneapolis about ALPR data.

The reality is that politicians are not that responsible about these data issues. Instead you get ignored, blocked on Twitter etc. I am writing another post about yet another newly relevant old case - the Norm Coleman credit card database leak which I covered at Politics In Minnesota circa January 2009, eerily similar to the new charges against alternative journalist Barrett Brown. (Posting links to data like the Coleman leak is a form of journalism & research that feds are trying to redefine [unconstitutionally] as a felony! NOT GOOD). But that is definitely a whole 'nother story....


MORE ON RETROACTIVE SURVEILLANCE LIKE MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT ALPR SYSTEM: (not to be confused with the practice of retroactively legalizing the earlier illegal surveillance performed by telecoms during the Bush administration). 'Retroactive surveillance' is basically a timestamped panopticon.

Retroactive surveillance is a class of technology which can easily destroy certain dimensions of 'free will' and therefore should be considered extremely carefully as a keystone type of social control system. It's my personal opinion it will take at least a century for this type of tech to be possible to be used ethically (if ever), as the ethical structures do not currently exist – a major reason we are all descending into a kind of neo-feudal technocratic authoritarianism worldwide. » NYPD and Microsoft Team Up to Peddle Retroactive Surveillance System [WSJ] - same type of camera data inputs

NYPD, Microsoft Hope to Make a Mint off New Surveillance System - National - The Atlantic Wire

Coming soon: Ubiquitous surveillance from Big Brother's wayback machine (the wayback machine snapshots many websites over time, invaluable!)

NetworkWorld, 2011: Coming soon: Ubiquitous surveillance from Big Brother's wayback machine » New Video Surveillance System Tags, Tracks and Follows

a commenter puts it well at » Coming Soon: Retroactive Surveillance on Anyone: "A present anxiety of future trouble from the unforgotten past; black to the future."

A change in tune: law enforcement now aggressively promoting retroactive surveillance capabilities of license plate readers | Privacy SOS

Is there any science (social science) of retroactive surveillance?

House Passes Surveillance Bill without Retroactive Immunity | TPMMuckraker

Drug war provides cover for retroactive surveillance without probable cause | Privacy SOS

.. That's all for now - this post is licensed Creative Commons remix/reuse with attribution to Dan Feidt/ non-commercially, including the "sheeple style" remix image I slapped together.

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