Skip to main content

Automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) cameras are becoming more and more common on American roads, thanks to one company. Flock Safety is a tech company that provides surveillance products to a wide array of clients. Its largest customer is law enforcement. Namely, governing bodies use the company’s ALPR cameras to capture millions of U.S. driver plates all over the country. Many local citizens are unaware of the cameras. Chiefly, this is due to the quiet methods used to install them and utilize recorded data.

A Flock Safety automatic license plate recorder (ALPR) is shown installed on a roadway with blurred traffic in the background
Flock Safety

A local citizen’s concerns about Flock Safety have gone viral

Eric Fielder works in real estate. He recently noticed something unusual in his community. The resident saw an unmarked van install something atop a long pole. He inspected the equipment and observed a logo. Afterward, he started his research. His rabbit hole discoveries are trending on X today. His post has over 5.7 million views, thousands of shares, and more than 1K comments.

According to Fielder’s cited research, Flock Safety has provided local law enforcement agencies across 47 states with vehicle monitoring equipment. The tech is posted wherever the client prefers and saves captured data for 30 days.

Flock Safety is already under scrutiny by disturbed groups

Tyler Dukes is an investigative reporter for The News & Observe. Yesterday, he published a lengthy look into North Carolina’s use of Flock Safety products. He says that the company enables authorities access to a nationwide network of cameras. There are “tens of thousands of unblinking eyes that gather data around the clock without most of us even realizing it.”

Flock Safety's law enforcement monitoring map feature shown on a police officer's in-cruiser laptop
Flock Safety

Dukes reports that Flock Safety claims to have prevented up to 10% of the nation’s crime rate. However, he says experts dispute this. Tens of millions of vehicles are recorded every 30 days. But, less than 1% are linked to persons or events of police interest. That’s according to company data.

The ACLU has long criticized the use of Flock products. In an article posted last year, the group warned against communities opting into mass surveillance, citing possible Orwellian results:

“Such a system…allows big actors like federal agencies and large urban police departments to access the comings and goings of vehicles in even the smallest of towns. And every new customer that buys and installs the company’s cameras extends Flock’s network, contributing to the creation of a centralized mass surveillance system of Orwellian scope.”

Flock’s HOA program is questionable

The Flock Safety ALPR Privacy + Ethics FAQ sheet is publically available. It states that captured data is stored by its cloud provider, Amazon Web Services. If a “neighborhood” or HOA client has cameras installed, the data collection options are certainly questionable:

“The Safe List allows neighborhood or HOA residents to register their license plate number, so in the event of a crime, customers are able to quickly separate out who lives in the neighborhood and who doesn’t. If a neighbor’s license plate is on the Safe List, any footage of their vehicle will be marked as “resident.” The resident can also opt to have their vehicle removed from all footage in the interest of privacy.”

A photo gallery of captured car images is shown on Flock Safety's client program
Flock Safety

Flock Safety currently has license plate monitoring products in 4,000 communities across the country.


Daily Driving a NASCAR Racecar Would Be An Absolute Nightmare