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Poll Question: Public Safety v. Privacy?

License plate camera readers are now being installed at intersections across Allegheny County. The cameras snap high-resolution pictures of every car passing through an intersection, and then store them in a searchable database.

The $35,000 system enables police to not only identify license plate numbers but also zoom in on the car’s driver and other occupants.

It is unclear how long police will store the information and whether proper checks are in place to ensure that police do not misuse the system.

For example: “What if an officer suspected a girlfriend was cheating and wanted to check on her whereabouts?” asked Swissvale Police chief Greg Geppert, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Police say the cameras will help them nab car thieves and locate missing persons. Civil liberties groups say the cameras represent a potential invasion of privacy for law-abiding citizens. What do you think?

Do the public safety benefits of the new cameras outweigh privacy concerns?

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