By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) –  People were justifiably worked up when they learned about the NSA surveillance programs that track our phone and internet use.

But you could argue this is even more intrusive – a law enforcement program tracking our license plates.

This involves a lot more than phone numbers and IP addresses.

We’re talking about full-blown photographs of your license plate. And often of you. And your family and friends if they happen to be with you. Along with specific information, like where and when the pics were taken.

Several may be taken of you each day.

Police say they use this technology to stop crime but the ACLU says it’s a major privacy concern.

That’s because there’s no standardized procedure for storing and handling the photos. Only five states have laws governing these license plate readers – one of them by the way is New Hampshire, which does not allow the cameras.

This has only been happening for a few years and we’re already talking about millions of photos.

The ACLU says they’re being stored for months, years, and even indefinitely by some police departments. Activists want those files purged or at least a standard for handling them.

Who knows. With programs like this, the NSA surveillance and all the monitoring that’s done online by Google and Facebook I wonder if it even matters any more.

The fact is we are being watched all the time.

So don’t forget to smile.

You can follow Joe on Twitter @JoeMathieuWBZ


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