Robots reading every license plate

Wired News: Grand Theft Auto Meets Robocop: "An automatic license-plate reader that can scan 500 license plates an hour looking for stolen vehicles underwent its first field tests by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department last week. Using character-recognition technology developed for the Italian Post Office to read postal addresses, four robot eyes in the course of one night queried more than 12,000 license plates, recovered seven stolen cars and resulted in three arrests."

I guess in this case, I can't think of any downside to this development. Maybe if I were to suggest it was a further erosion of our privacy as Americans?
Why is the meme, 'is there a down side?'

The advancement of technology has generally greatly improved our lives.

Also, people should get used to cameras in the public sphere. Having vision algorithms analyze public feeds is NOT a violation of your privacy. You're in public!

If this system were combined with red-light cameras, you could possibly have a deterrent that would substantially reduce auto theft to begin with.

[I should note that red-light cams have problems, e.g. people get in accidents stopping short when they see them. The solution: hide them!]

If you think this is still a problem, perhaps you would advocate a very libertarian solution: private roads. I've wanted them for years, ever since I learned that even 200 years ago, they proposed legislation to bar government road construction, mainly due to concerns for corruption. The more things change; the more they stay the same :)

On an only slightly related note, what I’d really love is automatic reckless driving detection. Then you could ticket folks who are actually dangerous, and not just speeders. It’s a crazy notion that going 65 in a 60mph zone in a Porsche is more dangerous than suddenly changing lanes and tailgating.
Technology is effectively converting the 'big city' (where nobody is known) into the 'small town' (where everybody is known). One reason small towns are generally safer is that the social alien (whether local or intruder) is immediately identifiable. -- blzbob
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