Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 20, 2022

I’ll be watching you

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Look, I would like to live in a “safe” community as much as the next person but there’s a line that I think folks are all too eager to cross when they are afraid of the crime boogeyman. Tonight the City Council will be finalizing a vote to approve fixed ALPRs to “protect” Alameda. How we got to 35 fixed ALPRs around Alameda, I have no idea.

The staff report has no list of where those ALPRs will be mounted which I’m not sure how the City Council can approve the purchase of something that they have no visibility on where it’s going. Here’s a big concern about the ALPR company that is being recommended. While I don’t think the other companies would have been a lot better and maybe they are the best of the set but still anyone with an imagination can come up with ways that this technology can be abused and what we are being told is that we should simply trust this company and trust the folks of the police department who were tasked with assessing the RFP responses that they did select the company who would be the best stewards of this data.

I didn’t highlight it but it would be nice to know if there are Flock cameras currently operating in Alameda. The literature flaunts the ability of anyone hooked up to the Flock system to be able to access those cameras as well. So, for example, I know that the Alameda Landing HOA has installed video cameras, I don’t know if they are Flock but if they are then APD would have access to those feeds as well.

It should be concerning that the ALPR is capturing more than just the LP and is going to supply information about who you’re supporting in the next election or if you have a Baby on Board.


  1. I have mixed views on this. On one hand, it feels like an invasion of privacy even if they ring-fenced it to well, which they apparently don’t. Secondly, it feels like something that could result in unintended, bad consequences.

    The first concern is less important to me because that cat is out of the bag. If my spouse and I are driving through Alameda, our phone carrier (AT&T/Verizon/T-Mobile) is tracking us in and out of our car. You can’t use a cell phone without is because it’s the only way a cell phone can function on their network.
    – Police can get that data with a warrant, as they did down to specific rooms in the Capital Building on Jan 6.
    – What is less known is that the phone carriers can legally sell an “anonymized” version of this to data brokers who deanonymize and resell it, including to some police organizations. This isn’t a looney conspiracy. The New York Times Privacy Project has covered this in depth, showing how this commercially available data is used to track us. Google New York Times and “privacy project” or “one nation tracked”

    The question remains how well that data is contained. Apparently not well, and with less of a deanonymization challenge.

    The second concern is more nebulous – like the way AI facial technology has been found to misidentify people of color.

    Comment by privacy and other concerns — September 20, 2022 @ 10:27 am

    • I should not have suggested use google to search the NYT articles. Use DuckDuckGo.

      Comment by privacy and other concerns — September 20, 2022 @ 10:31 am

  2. You’re right to be paranoid. But haven’t most Biden voters scraped that bumper sticker off their electric cars by now?

    Comment by Spin Diesel — September 20, 2022 @ 11:36 am

    • Nowhere near the number of Trump voters who scraped MAGA stickers off their over-compensating large trucks.

      Comment by Trumpers for Trish — September 20, 2022 @ 3:03 pm

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