The Philadelphia Police Department has used a track for surveillance activity by disguising it as Google Streetview vehicle.
“An SUV tucked away in the shadows of the Philadelphia Convention Center’s tunnel bears the ubiquitous logo for Google Maps, and mounted on top of the vehicle are two high-powered license plate reader cameras. To the average passerby, it might appear to be a Google street view vehicle.” reported Motherboard.
The vehicle, however, arousing the suspicions of Matt Blaze, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania that took a photo of the allege Google Streetview vehicle and shared it on Twitter.
WTF? Pennsylvania State Police license plate reader SUV camouflaged as Google Street View vehicle. pic.twitter.com/0z4yo2rVoR
— matt blaze (@mattblaze) 11 maggio 2016
Google confirmed it is investigating the abuse of its logo. The spokeswoman we reached suggested that the company might have more to say at a later time. Further researches on the placard confirm that the fake Google Streetview vehicle is owned by the City of Philadelphia and use by local authorities.
Mysteriously Christopher Cocci, the manager of the fleet belonging to the City of Philadelphia, declared that the vehicle is not used by State Police or city Parking Authority.
Cocci speculates that the vehicle is used by law enforcement and it is true because the Philadelphia Police Department has admitted it owns the truck. The Police Department confirmed that it is launching an inquiry to shed light on the case.
“In an emailed statement, a department spokesperson confirmed: “We have been informed that this unmarked vehicle belongs to the police department; however, the placing 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 spokesperson also claimed that an inquiry is forthcoming.” reported MotherBoard
The surveillance SUV disguised as a Google Streetview vehicle was equipped with a powerful Automatic number plate recognition (ALPR), the ELSAG MPH-900 model, that can read several plates simultaneously in a fraction of a second opening the door to dragnet surveillance activities.
The use of ALPR was heated debated because it warrantlessly tracks and archive position of the vehicle of people that are not under investigation. According to a department directive the plate data gathered by the ALPR can be stored indefinitely.
Stay Tuned …
(Security Affairs – Fake Google Streetview vehicle, surveillance)
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