Local police and private license plate reader data goes into a private database to locate you nationwide

Remember your local police license plate readers? The private National Vehicle Location Service (NVLS) gathers that information from them and private sources, and then law enforcement can get it from everywhere in the country to prove where your car was. In United States v. Loz, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174371 (E.D. Va. December 17, 2014), the police used that information combined with intercepted telephone calls and GPS pings to put one defendant’s vehicle near the scene of a counterfeiting operation, as detailed in a wiretapping warrant affidavit.

A subsequent investigation revealed that a 2012 black Range Rover is registered to Eduard. Id. at ¶ 60 n. 11. A search of the National Vehicle Location Service’s database also showed that this Range Rover had been spotted eight times near the closest intersection to Eduard’s Forest Hills residence. Id. Based on the above facts, the agent stated in the affidavit that he believed Lee and Eduard had “exchanged text messages to advise one another when they had arrived at the meeting location to exchange counterfeit currency,” that Johnson and Lee “suspected they were being followed by federal law enforcement and not local police and that they were carrying contraband, i.e. counterfeit currency,” and that the black Range Johnson discussed in the intercepted call was the one registered to Eduard. Id. at ¶¶ 57, 59, 60 n. 11. (emphasis added)

But that’s not all that Vigilant Solutions does with its data. Just click on its website.


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[Note: (1) I have read before that the Atlanta airport reads all the license plates on its parking lots daily to help locate lost cars. See here, but that’s not where I first read it. (2) Just in case this got by me before, I ran an all case Lexis search of “National Vehicle Location Service” and this is the only case mentioning it.]

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