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Old May 29th, 2009
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Default Texas Senate Endorses Freeway Spy Cameras

The Texas state Senate voted Monday to give federal, state and local authorities the ability to track and identify every passing vehicle on state highways. The provision calling for "automatic license plate identification cameras" was slipped into the Senate version of the must-pass Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reauthorization bill. The provision was not part of the bill introduced in the state House of Representatives, whose less sympathetic members will have to accept or reject the entire 1274-page compromise hammered out by a conference committee. The House voted yesterday to instruct its conferees to insist that the House-passed ban on red light cameras remain in the final text.

The Senate's surveillance camera proposal promises taxpayer funds to the same private companies that operate photo radar and red light camera systems threatened by the House bill. License plate readers use the same basic technology as automated ticketing machines. Instead of tracking, for example, only those who exceed a certain speed threshold, the plate readers will store a video image of the front passenger compartment and rear license plate of every single passing vehicle. Optical character recognition software identifies the registered vehicle owner and allows for easy indexing of the time and location of travel for each person identified using the highway.

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Old May 30th, 2009
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Just about everyone on Texas owns a handgun or a shotgun. I have a feeling that these spy cameras will have very short roadside lifespans.
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