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Mass surveillance or good policing? Ithaca PD will deploy plate cameras to help investigations

The Ithaca Police Department (IPD), in collaboration with the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, is set to deploy 20 new automated license plate recognition cameras around the city, Acting Police Chief Ted Schwartz announced.

The Ithaca Voice reports that the cameras, provided by Atlanta-based Flock Safety, will aid in criminal investigations by capturing images of license plates and storing them for 30 days.


The cameras would be mounted on existing or company-provided poles and connected to the internet via cellular networks. The data, sent to the cloud using encryption technology, can be searched and retrieved by the police department for investigative purposes.

The technology’s machine learning can identify a vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number.

Despite the technological advancements, concerns about mass surveillance were raised by Alderperson Jorge DeFendini, according to the Voice’s reporting.

The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized Flock’s system for contributing to mass surveillance.