Flock surveillance cameras are “political theatre” says NARSOL
By Michael McDaniel . . . Near the Litchfield Church in September 2022, a car set off an automated license plate reader system alarm. The camera system, called Flock, told police the vehicle was stolen.
Police scrambled to find the driver in the historically affluent town. Once they reached the panicked
driver, they discovered the Flock had strayed.
“The Flock camera read the plate wrong as AZ:074A45G when the plate actually read AZ:D74A5G,”
wrote the officer, in the report.
It wasn’t the first time Litchfield Park [Arizona] had this happen. The December before saw Flock artificial
intelligence make the same mistake. It also correctly alerted the police of a stolen vehicle where the
plate was erroneously entered into the statewide MVD system that same month. The driver was
detained and then released.
The system is connected to the National Crime Information Center, an FBI database. Any officer with
access to Flock can set up an alert based on subjective suspicion. Additionally, police can be alerted if a
suspect enters another jurisdiction with Flock cameras. . . .
Most cities in Maricopa County and some in Pinal County have Flock cameras. For those that don’t, state or county law enforcement agencies deploy cameras to areas indiscriminately, leading to
concerns over Fourth Amendment privacy interests, misuse and politically-based monitoring. . . .
“Sex offenders vehicles ‘crossing’ a flock camera automatically alert the system. Leaving or entering,”
said Litchfield Park City Manager Matthew Williams. . . .
Much can be said about how a government treats the “lowest” of its free individuals, according to
National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws, or NARSOL.
“Registered sexual offenders in our society are considered the ‘lowest of the low,’ but all citizens, even
those who have committed a past felony but who are not wanted for any new offense, are entitled to
the same protections,” said Sandy Rozek, a representative from NARSOL. “Just by virtue of being on
the registry, registrants do not lose the rights afforded to other citizens. This is an instance of towns and counties competing to impose harsher and harsher surveillance measures on registrants, all in the
name of public safety, but which are unnecessary intrusions on people’s lives, are based on irrational
fear, have no effect on public safety, and are nothing but political theatre. We should all be troubled by
the government surveilling law-abiding citizens as they are just trying to go about their lives.”