A friend shared a "security service" he just read about. Apparently the product is in beta and can thus be tried by anyone right now. I found it very interesting and surprising. I'm curious to know who provides the license plate photos for this product and what legal implications exist with this sort of thing. The service can be found at

for the username: stakeout
password: beta

Entering any valid license plate will return photos of that vehicle both on public and private property as capture by both private and public agencies (e.g., toll cams, traffic cams, police, et cetera). The app also shows metadata regarding each photo such as location and a time profile for when the vehicle is at a certain address.

Thanks for sharing thoughts and answers,

  • 1
    Many tow companies and others do this in the US. Please specify your locale if asking about the law. Commented May 30, 2014 at 9:29
  • I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA.
    – tjfwalker
    Commented May 30, 2014 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Vigilant Solutions claims to have the largest repository, with over 2 billion records. http://www.wired.com/2014/05/license-plate-tracking/

The information is shared with law enforcement (local, state, federal), insurance companies, etc. Unfortunately there seem to be few if any legal restrictions on collecting and using the information, despite the potential for quite a detailed dossier on your movements (with implications for free speech and association, not to mention basic privacy, especially of your health, religious, financial info) being available to untrusted entities.

See also:

You are being tracked (ACLU)

License plate reader firm releases dubious poll to show public support

Your car, tracked: the rapid rise of license plate readers

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