In October, Unisys Corp., which manufactured the hardware and software installed in 2009, received an additional contract from Customs and Border Protection worth as much as $350 million over the next five years. Under the contract, new systems will be installed at busy pedestrian crossings, and existing systems will be replaced with technology that is 15% more accurate.
But the same technology that makes it easier and faster to peg suspicious vehicles also makes it easier to track innocent people, said Tien, the Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer.
Every time a scan runs through the system, the location of the vehicle and the date the image was taken are stored in a database — even if it does not trigger an alert. Individual agencies determine how long that information is stored, Arlington Police Capt. Reardon said. Some agencies store the data for a couple of days, others for six months. Arlington clears its database once a month.
That much information in one place makes it easy to "connect the dots" and track where a vehicle has been, revealing whether it stopped "at the opera or a strip club," Tien said.
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