ICE to Use License Plates to
Track Down Immigrants
“Never Again” Is Now!

February 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has a new contract with a technology company in California, giving them the ability to track immigrants through license plates. According to the website, the contract is with a company called Vigilant Solutions, which claims to have the largest collection of license plate images in the U.S. ICE now has immediate full access to Vigilant’s database of over two billion license plate images and the analytic tools needed to use that data in tracking people. This Gestapo force will use this as a tool for tracking the location of immigrants as it moves to round people up, tear apart families, imprison and deport them. It has been reported that ICE has been testing this system since 2012 during the Obama years, but back then the Department of Homeland Security (which ICE is part of) determined that it should not be implemented supposedly because of “privacy concerns.” Now with the Trump/Pence fascist regime the gloves are off.

The license plate photos in this database come from many sources, including bridge toll cameras, airport parking garage cameras, cameras mounted on police cars, cameras on city buses in cities like San Francisco currently used for issuing parking tickets, vehicle repossession agencies, and special cameras installed right on streets in specially targeted communities like Brentwood, New York (in this case, with the excuse of “fighting gangs”). These are special cameras coupled with GPS (Global Positioning System) capabilities similar to Google Maps so the cameras “know” where they are as they capture license plate data. And they contain special software capable of extracting the plate numbers from the photos they take.

How It Works

As someone drives around in their car or even just parks, cameras from any one of these stationary or mobile sources grab a photo of their license plate. Special software instantly extracts the license plate number from the photo. Then, along with that plate number, the exact time and exact location are captured, sent up to the database, and stored. Many of these special cameras can record and send to the database over 100 records per minute. Over time—days, weeks, months, or years—a historical record builds up showing where that car has been. All of this is stored in a massive database that ICE can now access and query with advanced analytical tools.

From there it is an easy matter of matching the license plate number to find the registered owner of the car using Department of Motor Vehicle records. Since most people have regular patterns where they travel and where they park their car, it is possible for ICE and other pig forces accessing the database to spot places where a car is regularly parked. Then if they find other car owners they are “interested” in and see they are also parked nearby regularly, they can figure out who a person associates with.

Once they home in on a target, they can get the database to show all the locations of the car for the last five months. From this they can spot not only where the person they are targeting parks regularly but often what typical routes they drive and even when they usually drive them, along with where they usually can be located at different times of the day. This kind of thing used to require individual pigs tailing people or planting actual tracking devices on their cars. Now the data can be gathered massively and continually with just these cameras. And with today’s powerful computers, it is possible for the pigs to weed through all the data to get what they are looking for. They also have an alert system once they are targeting a certain car to send them text or email alerts whenever that plate has been seen by one of the cameras.

Sanctuary Cities and States Efforts to Protect Immigrants Compromised

Hunting immigrants through tracking license plates may be one way for the Trump/Pence regime and ICE to undermine sanctuary cities and states. For example, as reported by KIRO-7 news in Seattle, Washington, “It may be tough for Washington to avoid sharing license plate information, even though the governor has ordered state officials not to cooperate with immigration enforcement unless required to do so by a judge. That’s because Washington’s Good-to-Go tolling system, for example, also depends on license plate recognition and a national database to collect tolls.” One Washington state senator said, “I’m really upset and I am outraged about what ICE is doing” and that she had feared that technology used for things like improving traffic flow might be used for other purposes like this.

The Trump/Pence regime is demonizing and stepping up repression against 11 million plus undocumented immigrants, in particular those from what Trump so outrageously called “shithole” countries. This is clear and horrific. The fascist regime has now terrorized immigrants and driven them deeper into the shadows. They know that they face opposition and resistance, including, but not only in, sanctuary cities and states. And for them that poses a problem. How to find and track down these people? Now with this new car license tracking system, they have a key tool for that. There are also other moves underway, like adding a question about people’s citizenship in the next U.S. census.

This is very reminiscent of Hitler’s time, when the Nazis needed a way to identify, categorize, track down, and round up the millions of Jews and “efficiently” process them through the death camps. They turned to a U.S. technology company, IBM, which gave the Nazi regime access to what was at that time a new and cutting-edge system of Hollerith punch cards and sorting machines for those cards. These systems were first applied to German census data, then used to locate, process through the camps, and categorize who would be worked to death and who gassed immediately, and ultimately to the extermination of millions of Jews. This shameful criminal history is documented in the book IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black.

This history must not be repeated. The situation now is very ominous, and it is urgent that mass opposition in the streets be built against these horrors. As some protesters have very correctly put it: “Never Again Is Now!”


Stand Up Now with the Immigrants

This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!



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