Police agencies search through license plate databases containing billions of records using an artificial intelligence technique to check for questionable driving trends.
According to court filings, the Westchester County Police Department in New York utilized the technology to stop David Zayas’ car and examine it. They discovered 112 grams of crack cocaine, a semiautomatic gun, and $34,000 in cash inside. Zayas entered a guilty plea to a charge of cocaine trafficking a year later.
The case, which was previously unreported, offers a glimpse into the development of AI-powered policing and foreshadows the inevitable constitutional concerns that will arise.
Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology is frequently used to look for license plates connected to particular crimes. However, in this instance, it was utilized to study the driving habits of anyone who passed one of the 480 cameras in Westchester County over a two-year period.
Rekor, an AI startup with a $125 million market worth, trades on the Nasdaq. The company developed the license plate surveillance system used by Westchester PD. Rekor has sold its ALPR technology to at least 23 police agencies and municipal governments across America. Not included are the more than 40 police departments in New York State that can use the system operated by Westchester County PD out of its Real-Time Crime Center.
Additionally, the business manages the Rekor Public Safety Network, an opt-in project that has been collecting car location data from users for the past three years. When it first started, it had data from 30 states and was reading 150 million license plates each month at the time. Civil rights activists have expressed concern about this type of centralized database with interstate data sharing.