They have become the go-to technology that law enforcement uses to solve crimes: license plate readers.
The readers scan every plate – even cars going in the opposite direction – and record the GPS location, date and time to flag stolen cars or wanted people for police.
"I don’t have to be constantly stuck on the computer running tags. I can let the cameras do the work for me while I can stay focused on the roads, stay focused on other people driving,” said Trooper Trey Thomas.
But while the readers can help find criminals, they also collect information on you. Critics call them a form of mass surveillance that reveals personal information about where you have been.
"The government should not be collecting information on everybody in order to go after a small portion of people,” said Dave Maas, who studies LPRs for a nonprofit privacy rights group.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.