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Police cameras boost ability to track drivers

WASHINGTON -- You can drive, but you can't hide.

A rapidly growing network of police cameras is capturing, storing and sharing data on license plates, making it possible to stitch together people's movements whether they are stuck in a commute, making tracks to the beach or up to no good.

For the first time, the number of license tag captures is in the millions, according to a study published yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union. It was based on information from hundreds of law enforcement agencies. Departments keep the records for weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely, saying they can be crucial in tracking suspicious cars, aiding drug busts, finding abducted children and more.

Attached to police cars, bridges or buildings -- and sometimes merely as an app on a police officer's smartphone -- scanners capture images of passing or parked vehicles and pinpoint their locations, uploading that information into police databases. Over time, it's unlikely many vehicles in a covered area escape notice. -- AP

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