Cop On The Beat Is Now A Walking Database
Police departments are purchasing portable wireless devices that allow officers to access commercial databases, which can be searched for numerous facts about suspects.
Police departments do not collect detailed information about community members, but accessing databases makes available billions of public records from a wide range of sources.
LocatePlus Holdings claims to have more than 6 billion records and data on 98 percent of U.S. residents.
The issue of privacy rights has attracted more attention with a recent Supreme Court ruling that allows police officers to arrest citizens who refuse to reveal their identities. Justice John Paul Stevens cited in his dissenting opinion concerns about officers accessing a huge amount of information about a person with just a name.
More than 50 law enforcement agencies are served by LocatePlus, which allows officers to access phone directories, credit bureaus, registries of motor vehicles, and other information via wireless handheld devices.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Associated Press (06/24/04) .