The March 29 article on Foster City’s desire to adopt technology to record license plate data concerns me in terms of the impact on law abiding citizens and what the total cost of ownership will actually be (“Foster City adding license plate monitoring system”).

The camera system will impact many law-abiding citizens by them being pulled over for investigations particularly when the driver may not be the person on the registration.

Bad actors will probably use readily available devices that impede license plate reading, just like they do at bridge tolls today.

The article mentioned a number of reasons for an alert that seems would create additional activity for officers. What are the statistics from cities that have implemented these sorts of systems?

Have there been instances of successful attacks on these systems? Will access logs be available to the public for auditing purposes?

Is the data captured considered public where I can formally request it to keep an eye on my neighbor, for example? I believe it is.

Personally, I’m not too concerned about privacy, as we continue to relinquish it over time. My FasTrak device tracks my driving to provide input on travel times posted on highways, for example.

I am quite interested in knowing what the total cost of ownership will be if more resources are required and what that impact will be to residents in terms of budget adjustments and/or taxes.

Foster City residents should let their council know how they feel about this effort. I plan to.

Howard Roth

Foster City

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(1) comment

Terence Y

Informative letter, Mr. Roth, along with some great questions. Private investigators and people with a “friend” in law enforcement can now easily track the folks in, and driving through Foster City. Another question to add to the mix: how do I ensure my license plate is on the “do not track” or “ignore” list? I’m thinking lawyers will have a field day if these cameras are implemented so the powers-that-be should also factor in a new budget for their lawyers.

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