License Plates To Border Patrol

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Recent public records requests have confirmed that as of February 2018 at least three Bay Area Sheriff Departments were sharing license plate reader scans they collected with the San Diego sector of the Border Patrol via the Vigilant Solutions platform LEARN. The three confirmed Departments are Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo. See sharing reports below.

Automated license plate readers (ALPR) scan and record the license plates of all passing cars. License plate numbers can be matched against “hotlists”, usually of stolen vehicles. 99.8% of license plate scans (on average) do not match any entries on a hotlist. Vigilant Solutions, a Livermore based company, manufactures ALPR readers and markets them with storage space provided in LEARN. LEARN shares data between agencies in two ways; a) by an affirmative agency to agency share (all three counties shared directly with Border Patrol) or via an undifferentiated share with 500+ agencies through the National Vehicle Location System (NVLS). All three agencies also shared their scans via NVLS.

Vigilant signed a contract in January of 2018 to provide access to LEARN for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) After the cities of Alameda and Culver City cancelled planned purchases, and the city of San Pablo secured a promise that no license plate data would be shared with ICE or Vigilant would be in breach of contract, Vigilant stated that ICE access could only be granted directly going forward and not through the NVLS “share all” option.

San Mateo Marin Contra Costa ALPR Sharing Reports
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