(credit: OpenALPR)

We now live in a world where if you have an IP-enabled security camera, you can download some free, open-source software from GitHub and boom—you have a fully functional automated license plate reader (ALPR, or LPR).

Welcome to the sousveillance state: the technology that was once was just the purview of government contractors a few years ago could now be on your own street soon.

For years now, specialized LPR cameras have been used mounted in fixed locations or on police cars. These devices scan passing license plates using optical character recognition technology, checking each plate against a "hot list" of stolen or wanted vehicles. The devices can read up to 60 plates per second and typically record the date, time, and GPS location of any plates—hot or not.

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