I've driven by countless signs like these, but I always thought they were just notifying me of how fast I was going....

You've seen them before--the signs with the digital display that indicate how fast you've been traveling down the road. Back when I was in driver's ed, my instructor warned everyone in the car that the presence of these signs meant "an imminent sting operation," but I didn't pay much attention. Turns out, he may have been onto something.

As reported by data that was released recently, the DEA will be altering these signs to equip them with license plate reader (LPR) platforms around October 15. The purpose of this is to increase their surveillance abilities. If more license plate data is stored, this could make it easier for law enforcement officers to find vehicles that have been involved in crimes such as drug trafficking and money laundering.

While this could make pursuing criminals more efficient, many people are concerned with the fact that even if they haven't broken the law, their license plate data is still stored in the event that they do so in the future. Others have pointed out that if there are enough of these LPRs, people's personal habits could be tracked and their whereabouts could be pinpointed to sensitive locations. Law enforcement officers argue that storing the information is useful in the event of hit-and-runs, or other instances where perpetrators flee the scene, because you "never know when you're going to need [the data]."

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that license plate data should be stored indefinitely, or do you think privacy is more important?

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