13:28 GMT11 May 2021
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    Nicholas Sarwark, Chairman of the US Libertarian National Committee, said the US Drug Enforcement Administration violated the fundamental right to privacy by using license plate readers that can also take pictures of drivers and passengers.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko – US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)'s usage of license plate readers that can also take pictures of drivers and passengers is a gross violation of the fundamental right to privacy, the chairman of the US Libertarian National Committee told Sputnik on Friday.

    "Using massive systems of automated license plate recognition devices absolutely violates our fundamental right to privacy. These systems allow the government to know everything about a person's movements, especially when combined with facial recognition," Nicholas Sarwark told Sputnik.

    US police are known to use license plate readers and facial recognition technologies to identify and track suspected felons. But DEA's ability to look into and take photos of car occupants, irrespective of their criminal record, has led to more privacy concerns.

    Sarwark stressed that the US constitution prohibits unwarranted use of GPS devices on cars, but said the new DEA technology has "the same effect without any oversight."

    It is not yet clear whether the collection of information on US drivers has been supervised or approved by any court.

    Sarwark, who has experience in computer consulting, pointed out that the US government has been increasingly using advanced technologies to spy on its citizens, claiming its agencies then used the collected data "to steal from people through the process of civil asset forfeiture".

    "These agencies then hide behind the companies who do the dirty work to cloak their activities in secrecy," the Libertarian National Committee chair said.

    The US Libertarian Party has been particularly opposed to increased surveillance, being a staunch proponent of individual rights and less regulatory law enforcement.

    "The Libertarian Party is committed to ending the government's practice of spying on Americans. The other political parties talk about reforms, but only our party is committed to restoring Americans' privacy rights. Libertarian officials would stop these violations by shutting down these programs," Sarwark said.

    Concerns about the US government's overreach have been raised after the disclosure of NSA mass surveillance programs by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

    Related:

    Federal License Plate Tracking System Might Violate US Privacy
    Privacy Watchdog Says License Plate Reader Program Not Making US Safer
    License Plate Readers Allowing Police to Build Federal Database of Drivers
    Tags:
    license plate readers, US Drug Enforcement Administration, US
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