“Free” Spying Smart Parking Meters Are “Virtual Police Officers”

By MassPrivateI

Cities across America are installing free smart parking meters equipped with license plate readers (LPR).

A company called Municipal Parking Service (MPS) has been installing free camera-equipped parking meters in MassachusettsConnecticutNew JerseyFlorida and Canada.

Are MPS’s parking meters really free?

The answer is yes, sort of.

(license plate reader begins at 2:30)

According to an article in the Lowell Sun, it appears MPS offers cities a number of smart parking meters for a ‘free’ pilot program and then charges them if they decide to use their system.

Why would MPS offer cities free smart parking meters?

According to MPS’s video, the [third] reason cities should use their meters, is so motorists can pay a ‘small fee’ instead of a larger parking fine if they over-stayed a parking meters time limit.

And why would they do that you ask?

Because cities can double their existing revenue by using MPS’s parking meters.

MPS also charges motorists a 15 cent fee to use their ‘Sentry Mobile Consumer’ app to pay for parking.

At approximately 4:00 minutes into the above video, MPS reveals that their ‘Sentry’ parking meters can be used to record criminals or suspicious people. Asking people, and I quote, “wouldn’t it be nice to have a VIRTUAL POLICE OFFICER every forty feet on your sidewalks?”

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Fund, America has the “highest figure ever” of 900,000 police officers.

With nearly one million police officers in America, it would not be nice to have a ‘virtual police officer’ every forty feet.

Unfortunately, smart parking meters do much more than read license plates.

Smart parking meters are extremely invasive

(image credit: MPS)

Smart parking meters spy on everyone’s payment history. Providing police with more information than ‘you could possibly imagine’.

MPS’s ‘SentryView’ Dashboard page, boasts that their real-time parking meters “gives the staff at your Municipality or organization an unprecedented view into your parking and payment related activity. Even just a quick login to your main SentryView dashboard each day will provide you with more information than you can possibly ever obtain from other solutions.” (Click here to find out more about their real-time surveillance.)

And if that wasn’t creepy enough, MPS’s ‘Public Safety’ page reveals that law enforcement has real-time access to their parking meters.

Our meters can be plumbed into your security infrastructure and e911 network. Effectively turning every single parking meter into a way for a pedestrian to request emergency assistance!

How does the public benefit from having parking meters connected to police departments other than expanding their surveillance?

LPR’s being used in parking lots

MPS also wants cities to install their license plate reading ‘SentryLot System’ in parking lots and garages, so police can identify more vehicles.

By using gate-based LPR cameras, permitted parkers are automatically let into and out of the lot, while transient parkers are presented with appropriate rates and payment is collected automatically. (Source)

Soon, no where will be safe from Big Brother’s prying eyes. Three months ago I warned everyone that law enforcement was also considering putting  LPRs in car washes.

Every time a car pulls up, the camera reads the license plate and validates a subscription against a white list of subscribers, so the driver can go ahead and use the car wash. Imagine how much more convenient ALPR cameras could make your retail business. (Source)

And it gets worse, MPS and Panasonic want to install ‘Sentry’ parking meters in Smart Cities everywhere.

Does it make you feel safer, knowing parking meters and parking lots are being turned into ‘virtual police surveillance networks? Does it make you feel safer having LPRs track your every movement? Does it make you feel safer knowing MPS and Panasonic plan to install them in smart cities?

You can read more at the MassPrivate I blog, where this article first appeared.

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