Philadelphia police spying on its citizens using a spy truck disguised as a Google Street View car
Seems like authorities in United States believe in using any means to achieve their target. According to a report on Vice, Philadelphia police department was using a spy-truck disguised as a Google Street View care to spy on citizens of Philadelphia.
The innocuous looking but seemingly out of place Google Street view car aroused suspicions of Matt Blaze.
Blaze, a University of Pennsylvania computer and information science professor, discovered a SUV “tucked away in the shadows of the Philadelphia Convention Center’s tunnel” that was labeled as a Google Maps Street View car.
Blaze noticed that it had two high-powered license plate reader cameras mounted on top, meaning it had to belong to a government agency. He immediately tweeted the information to make others aware of the dubious ways the authorities use to spy on its citizens.
WTF? Pennsylvania State Police license plate reader SUV camouflaged as Google Street View vehicle. pic.twitter.com/0z4yo2rVoR
— matt blaze (@mattblaze) May 11, 2016
The tweet raised a lot of storm on Twitter forcing Philadelphia Police Department to come out with a statement.
The Philadelphia Police Department since responded to the report: “We have been informed that this unmarked vehicle belongs to the police department; however, the placement of any particular decal on the vehicle was not approved through any chain of command. With that being said, once this was brought to our attention, it was ordered that the decals be removed immediately.”
The department admitted it owned the truck. “Unless the Philadelphia Fire Department of Streets Department are using automated license plate recognition (ALPR), this strongly suggests the city’s police department is trawling city streets under the auspices of Google while snapping thousands of license plate images per minute,” a report on Motherboard.
ALPR can photograph thousands of license plate images per minute and track and store a person’s travel habits without a warrant.
The report also accused Google of collaborating with the authorities in their endeavor to secretly spy on citizens. However, Google trashed the reports of collaboration and said that the car did not belong to them.
Google spokesperson Susan Cadrecha commented on the report, “We can confirm this is not a Google Maps car, and that we are currently looking into the matter.”