Suburbs of Surveillance

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Law enforcement officials are encouraging private homeowners’ associations to install license plate reader cameras from startup Flock Safety. But are they really keeping neighborhoods safer?

Law enforcement agencies have long used license plate readers to track traffic patterns, aid in investigations and check vehicle registrations. Now that technology is in the hands of individuals. It’s gotten an upgrade in recent years by Flock Safety, a startup that has developed a cheaper, artificial intelligence-powered version of the machines that gives neighbors a searchable, 24/7 view of vehicles that drive their streets.

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