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Paradise Cay puts in private license-plate cams

Paradise Cay Homeowners Association board members Michael DiVita and Trip Ames stand with one of the new Flock Safety license-plate-reading security cameras recently installed at the entrance of the neighborhood. The two are system administrators with the only local access to recorded data, which is also shared automatically with the Marin Sheriff’s Office. (Nick Shorten Jr. / For The Ark)

Paradise Cay homeowners have installed their own private license-plate-reading cameras to monitor the entrance and exit of their neighborhood, saying they want to take proactive measures to combat crime after two burglaries over the summer.

Placed in early November at the Antilles Way and Trinidad Drive intersections with Martinique Avenue — the only road in and out of the 233-home community — the two cameras have since been linked with the Marin Sheriff’s Office, allowing authorities to get instant notifications when a scanned plate matches a “hot list” for stolen vehicles and those believed to be connected to a crime, from retail theft to Amber Alerts for missing children or Silver Alerts for missing at-risk seniors.

However, civil-liberties watchdogs already concerned about the potential abuse of data that’s collected, stored and shared by plate-reading systems have additional worries about giving that tool to private citizens with no law-enforcement or cybersecurity training — especially with Flock Security’s AI technology that’s scanning more than just a plate.

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