Steve Orr reports:
Privately owned license-plate imaging systems are popping up around Rochester and upstate New York — in parking lots, shopping malls and, soon, on at least a few parts of the New York state Thruway.
Most surprisingly, the digital cameras are mounted on cars and trucks driven by a small army of repo men, including some in Rochester and Syracuse.
Shadowing a practice of U.S. law enforcement that some find objectionable, records collected by the repo companies are added to an ever-growing database of license-plate records that is made available to government and commercial buyers.
At present that database has 2.3 billion permanent records, including hundreds of thousands gathered locally. On average, the whereabouts of every vehicle in the United States — yours, mine, your mother’s — appears in that database nine times.
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