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A license plate scanner in Wrightsville Beach?

Shannan Bowen, reporting for Star News Online, asks whether a license plate scanner in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, would be intruding or safeguarding. The scanner would be a "watchful eye," comparing license plate numbers with a national database of those with records of criminal or traffic violations.

Says Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti, "I'm not convinced that a system like that, designed mainly to capture stolen cars and felons, is a good match for our community," as Bowen reports.

But Police Chief Daniel House says that far from being an invasion of privacy, the scanner will simply make routine police work more efficient. "The license plate doesn't belong to a person. It belongs to the state of North Carolina, and it's permanently displayed so at any time an officer can run a tag." House also said, "We're using [the scanner] as a means to protect the community."

As far as Wilmington is concerned, the city just approved a grant for a similar camera license plate scanning system.

What do you think? Is this an invasion of privacy or just normal police work?

Source: Star News Online, "Wrightsville Beach considers scanning all license plates," by Shannan Bowen, 8/7/11

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