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Forget scanning license plates; cops will soon ID you via your roof rack

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Eric Whitefield
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On Tuesday, one of the largest LPR manufacturers, ELSAG, announced a major upgrade to "allow investigators to search by color, seven body types, 34 makes, and nine visual descriptors in addition to the standard plate number, location, and time."

Such a vast expansion of the tech now means that evading such scans will be even more difficult.

For years, Ars has been reporting on automated license plate readers (ALPRs, or simply LPRs)—a specialized camera often mounted on police cars that can scan at speeds of up to 60 plates per second.

Those scans are compared against what law enforcement usually dubs a "hot list" before alerting the officer to the presence of a potentially wanted or stolen vehicle.

All scans are typically kept in a police database for weeks, months, or years on end.

These devices are now in common use by cities big and small across the United States, as well as many countries around the globe, including the United Kingdom.

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Eric Whitefield
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