Vigilant Solutions Demands Transparency and Accountability for the Public
EFF Article on Automated License Plate Reader Data and California Malls is Patently False
LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA – JULY 11, 2018 – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) posted an article on its website on July 10, 2018, accusing Vigilant Solutions, a global machine vision and data analytics company, and our customer – Irvine Company – of sharing vehicle location data with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) so the agency could spy on mall patrons. This accusation is patently false.
The researcher who authored the piece – Dave Maass – never contacted Vigilant Solutions for comment or to verify the accuracy of the inflammatory allegations contained in his article, which has been falsely characterized as a “report”. As a result, most of the article is false, and the parts that are not false – are at best misleading. The remainder of it is opinion based on speculation and designed to scare the public in a self-serving attempt to generate news to promote the EFF.
Vigilant Solutions is calling out the following key points:
- The entire premise of the article is false. Vigilant Solutions and Irvine Company do not share the Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) data gathered at malls with ICE. As Irvine Company has stated, it is shared with select law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of mall patrons.
- These law enforcement agencies do not have the ability in Vigilant Solutions’ system to electronically copy this data or share this data with other persons or agencies, such as ICE.
- The article notes that “The City of San Pablo put an expansion of its surveillance network on hold”. This statement is misleading and designed to create a false narrative. The City of San Pablo had concerns about the use of ALPR technology by law enforcement, but they invited privacy advocates and Vigilant Solutions in to meet with them to discuss these concerns. Vigilant Solutions met with Council members and the community and provided them with a demonstration of ALPR’s capabilities to protect the public and shared its commitment to simultaneously helping law enforcement ensure public safety without compromising individual privacy. Following the meeting, the San Pablo City Council later voted unanimously to approve the Vigilant Solutions contract and expand their use of ALPR technology.
- The article notes, “Vigilant Solutions shares data with as many as 1,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide.” This is also a false statement. Vigilant Solutions does not share any law enforcement data. The assertion is simply untrue. Law enforcement agencies own their own ALPR data and if they choose to share it with other jurisdictions, they can elect to do so – and they can elect not to share the data with agencies, as well.
Vigilant Solutions always has been and will continue to be compliant with all applicable laws in California and throughout the nation that apply to the use of its technologies.
Vigilant Solutions is evaluating potential legal claims against Mr. Maass and the EFF for its false and misleading article, and respectfully requests the EFF retract the article and replace it with a post apologizing to Vigilant Solutions and Irvine Company for perpetuating fake news about the companies.