The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has finalized a contract that will give the agency access to a nationwide license plate recognition database.
According to a contract finalized earlier this month between the agency and Vigilant Solutions, ICE will have access to millions of license plates and will have ability to track vehicles real-time.
The contract was awarded on December 22, 2017 according to data available on www.fob.gov.
The move has raised significant concerns among various groups in the country.
“Like most other law enforcement agencies, ICE uses information obtained from license plate readers as one tool in support of its investigations,” an ICE spokesperson told The Verge in a statement.
“ICE is not seeking to build a license plate reader database, and will not collect nor contribute any data to a national public or private database through this contract,” he added.
The data that ICE will have access to will enable agents to view residential addresses where the license plates have been located over the past five years.
Through its operations, Vigilant Solutions has built a database of more than 2 billion license plate photos which it has collated from various private groups as well as other partners who include vehicle repossession agencies.
The company also collects photos and data from camera-equipped police cars as part of their partnership with law enforcement agencies.
This has resulted in the company amassing a massive vehicle-tracking network generating as many as 100 million sightings per month, each tagged with a date, time, and GPS coordinates of the sighting.