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The Key Thing Seemingly Missing From a Virginia Police Program That Has Reportedly Captured 2.7 Million Images of Unsuspecting Cars


"It was found that the Fairfax County Police Department does not possess...."

Police in Fairfax, County have reportedly captured more than 2.7 million images of unsuspecting cars and stored them in a database — there's only one key thing seemingly missing from the program: evaluating the usefulness of the pictures gathered.

The images, which reportedly include geotags and time stamps, are captured by a system of automatic license plate readers.

A Freedom of Information Act Request made by Stephen Gutowski of the Capitol City Project asked the police department for "any available metric the county uses to determine the system's effectiveness."

Image source: Capitol City Project Image source: Capitol City Project

Lieutenant David White responded, saying, "It was found that the Fairfax County Police Department does not possess any such responsive materials based on the information you requested."

White did, however, confirm that "as of 05/20/1014 at 1003 hours there were 2,731,429 reads in the system," but noted that the "number is constantly fluctuating."

Gutowski previously reported last month that "police are keeping records" through the program of a couple trips he made to his girlfriend's place.

"[Po]lice latitude and longitude records for pictures of my car show that both images were captured as I was parked outside of my girlfriend’s old apartment building on Wythe Street in Old Town, Alexandria," he wrote. "The pictures were taken on two different days, October 26th, 2013 and November 7th, 2013, but at the same location."

A report by Kathryn Watson, appearing on Watchdog.org, also details some of the places police captured her car. License plate readers twice captured images of her car parked at her apartment complex. In another case, police had records of her car as she drove to Bible study.

Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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