With PlateSmart, you can turn ANY conventional surveillance camera into an analytical Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) camera. But PlateSmart is not just an ordinary license plate reader. We provide the most accurate, complete, and affordable ALPR software solutions for your organization. Our award-winning technology provides proactive real-time security as well as business intelligence by using video analytics based on ALPR.
Chuck Harold & Guests
Full text of radio show
Please forgive any typos, this podcast was transcribed by my typing pool comprised of volunteer stalkers.
Chuck: Welcome to a special Facebook version of Security Guy Radio with Chuck. What am I today? Travis, I blanked out, what should I be today?
Travis:I don’t know. Let’s think of some new…
Chuck: Chuck Facebook Harold I guess, I don’t know…
Travis: Yeah, there we go that’s it.
Chuck: So, this is a test of our Facebook show, we’re streaming live on Facebook its very exciting and what do you think about this? Is this going to put us over the top?
Travis: Yeah, I think so.
Chuck: I think it’s really cool.
Travis: The idea is cool. Yeah.
Chuck: So, now what you guys could do is you are watching this on Facebook and
you’re on my Facebook page, you can actually go to the comment section and type
in comments and ask questions and we’ll try and answer them. Sounds fun?
Travis: Sounds fun to me.
Chuck: Now, you know, I was at ISC West last week, right?
Travis: Uh hmm.
Chuck: I did 14 shows. I didn’t realize I did that many shows.
Chuck: Did them all processed around YouTube, they’re on SoundCloud put them out, but I think probably my favorite product of the show and that’s saying a lot because there’s lot of paper products was a License Plate Recognition software, that’s really different than all the other software recognition plates and now you, you have not heard of this have you?
Travis: Uh huh.
Chuck: Because you’re my canary in a coal mine…
Chuck: And I have to test you with all these security products, right?
Chuck: So, the importance of License Plate Recognition is that it creates data in other words it captures license plates, it looks at cars, it saves in a database and let’s say, somebody was coming by the studio and comes by here five times a day a camera will capture that save it, and then send you an email that says, you know, what, Travis is stalking Chuck because he comes by the station five times a day and the same license plate keeps showing up, so it looks for anomalies in those patterns and I thought today we’d talk about this in conjunction with terrorism, because this is really a big deal and I think License Plate Recognition could be, you know, probably the most important tool
we have in the fight against terrorism and today I’m going to work on my special guest Mr. John Chigos of PlateSmart. He is President and CEO, welcome John, welcome, welcome to the show. [Applause] all right, do we have connection, you there John?
John C.: Yes, I am.
Chuck: All right excellent.
John C.: Very much of an introduction.
Chuck: So, we had a great chat right after ISC West and we found that you and I have similar views on all this kind of stuff and we both think this is very, very important and sometimes we’re beating a silent drum because people don’t quite get it, but I know you’re a guy that gets it and I want you to explain to people, you know, little bit about your background and how you came to form this company. It’s a really fascinating story and it’s, it’s driven by, you know actual events that made, made an impact on your life.
John C.: Okay. I will discuss that and I’ll, bring you up to speed on why I started this company and why we’re so different from every other technology out there after 9/11, 9/11 affected everyone. It affected me especially in a very difficult way in that. My office is we’re in New York and I lived in Florida and I commuted on a Monday through Friday basis to my offices in New York and I had meetings in the towers pretty much every week, you know, even though my offices’ were 14 blocks away I would meet in the towers, meet bankers, meet clients there, as I represented a lot of companies that were looking for financing and
going public et cetera, and that weekend I got the flu, so I decided to stay home.
Unfortunately, the morning of the attack I turned on the news as I was in bed and I watched the first plane crashed into the tower and I was horrified and my immediate thought was again, you know, everybody thought may have been accidental, but I thought, “Oh my God, this is finally happening. Al-Qaeda has made good on their promise to attack us here in U S and they did it, upon seeing the second tower go and be hit I knew it wasn’t an accident at that point, but what I also knew was is that as I was watching the footage, I was watching friends, family, my own personal financial background being wiped out, in a matter of minutes my entire life changed.
As did the lives of so many thousands of people that day and quite honestly it affected everybody in different ways it affected me quite differently and I knew I lost friends, I knew I lost family members, and I knew I, I lost most of the family’s future because of the types of work I did and all that disappeared that day, but what was most important to me was not money, not anything. It was the fact that this occurred on our soil this occurred in our backyard in New York, my home, the place I went to every week to go to work. It affected me to the point where I actually, you know, went and spent most of my next two years in
China, working there because, one, I knew my family was safe in Florida. I couldn’t get to my offices in New York because they were still cordoned off and at least in China I did not have this overwhelming sense of that, you know, another terrorist attack was going to happen in China, because, you know, I’ve never had that type of experience in China, but it’s always been a wonderful experience business-wise, culturally wise, people wise. I came back in 2004 and decided it was time to start looking at rebuilding my life and as I was, driving along the highway I got off by a car and I looked up to try to capture the plate and I absolutely could not capture the plate, could not see it, it was already gone.
So that got me into thinking and I called the local Law Enforcement Agency and asked to do a ride along with them and they agreed. I had to sign some paperwork waiving some rights, if I got hurt in the car et cetera, no problem. The minute we left, the security of the police agency a truck crossed over the double yellow line in front of the police car and the police car pull d this vehicle over into an abandoned shopping mall and as we sat there, I set my watch and I hit the timer on it and it took eighteen and a half minutes of the officer being exposed to this individual in the truck and me being exposed in the police car, which was locked by the officer, so it couldn’t be opened from the inside out and I was actually stuck right there and I’m thinking to myself, great, if this guy flips out, I have nowhere to go. I’m sitting right here and the officer was kind enough to leave his taser in the car, but a lot of good that we’ve done me,but all joking aside eighteen and a half minutes later we found out this was an individual who was wanted for an attempted homicide with a deadly weapon and was considered a very dangerous individual. That led me to the process of thinking about how do we identify vehicles much quicker, much easier and in a way that an officer can have the information before he can ever even get out of his car to approach the vehicle.
So, I spent the next several years researching the matter, travelling around the world, looking at different technologies and you know, during that time I had founded three technologies. Video analytic, using a video camera and video footage to basically, you know, determine the plate number, okay and it also painted a symbol technology type of recognition where you’d stick something on the license plate that would be identified by a laser and an RFID device, a radio frequency device. The latter two did not pass muster in my book because it would take the state legislation in every state to approve that type of
application, which I deemed impossible at the time for any State to agree on anything other than, you know, how to put themselves into more debt and they were already doing, so I developed this system and after looking at other LPR systems around the world, I realized there was a major fault with their systems. They’re all relied on infrared camera technology, basically that basically means that they use infrared light to bounce off of the license plate, which has reflective coding to get it back to their camera, so they can decide for, the OCR or Optical Character Recognition element of it and say this is an L, this is a R, this is a B, and they have to go through a lot of different processes.
They had to use a lot of expensive equipment at the time the average price of a LPR system was $50,000 or more and I said there had to be a better way, so I set out with a group of engineers, and I decided to develop a technology that would be software only. The reason for software only is so many agencies, so many Law Enforcement Agencies already had cameras deployed that could be utilized for this purpose, excuse me and having these cameras meant that more unit, more agencies would be able to deploy LPR quicker and faster, and I hoped that, you know, I could do this one altruistic thing for people, especially for Law Enforcement Officers, especially Amber Alert children, children taken by a pedophile, a parent or somebody without permission of their parents and in lot of cases be brutally abused and in fact one case that I’ll never forget was a little blonde haired girl from the State of Florida that was finally located in Georgia and the little girl is as close as one could describe a little girl being a princess as you can imagine, just absolutely beautiful blue eyes, blond hair just the whole future, her whole future in front of her, and yet the final images that I saw that, you know, unfortunately I saw and were not published to the general public.
This child was no longer a child, it was just I think a piece of, you know, brutally a meat, and I actually had to close my office door for quite a while and to gather myself, because of the amount of the effect it had on me after that I went out and I spoke to my developers, and I said, do you realize this is all of our problem, this is all of our situation here. This could have been any one of your daughters, it could have been my daughter, it’s the reason I started this company, it’s the reason we want to protect people from the bad guys. The bad guys will never hesitate to use the guns, they will never hesitate to use stolen plates, they’ll never hesitate to steal a vehicle, and they’ll never hesitate and the FBI has proven this in a study that a bad guy who has a gun has a two to three second advantage on any officer under most any circumstance, so officers are fighting a losing battle here, and I thought, okay this is something I can do to help back and I thought I’d be done within two years, and I would have done something that was beneficial.
Well it didn’t take two years, it took ten years of hard work to develop a system of software that could basically work with any type of camera, from any manufacturer under any circumstance, day or night, 365 days, a week, a year, you know, 52 weeks a year, seven days a week, you know, 24/7 and the theory behind it was if we made the software cheap enough everybody could adapt it, and what it did do, it caused the industry to really come to terms with itself all the promises that the other, companies in this field promised that they did not live up to the fact that they could read stage jurisdiction and they did not,
disappeared. The fact that they were the most accurate systems out there, no one has ever published results at all on their research, on how accurate their systems are. People are, you know, being told one thing and yet these systems are doing another, so…
Chuck: So, let’s talk about that really quick John. Let’s talk about why that’s the case, right. What the standard is and what the actual reality is. So, I remember back in the day when I looked at purchasing this stuff, like you said, it was 50 grand and I had to buy all their cameras and I had to put several cameras at a gate, and you know, I don’t know that I got a 50% accuracy on the readings when I put these at HOAs or things like that right?
John C.: Most likely you didn’t.
Chuck: Right and that’s because we’re you are doing optical, what OCR…
John C.: Character Recognition.
Chuck: Right and yours different. Yours not using that and that’s why you’re able to capture plates and makes some of models of cars and things and we’re going to play the video that we did at ISC West in a minute and it will go through all the technical stuff, but it was really amazing to me why the industry had gone this other way, and I’m glad to see you went this way, because this is the actual way that makes more sense. Explain to me what the major differences are in these two types of systems between yours and the other folks will call, right, what are the major differences?
John C.: It was always important to me that whatever video you captured had data in it, and whatever the data was you needed to be able to extract that data. Now if you are using simple OCR technology the best you can do is extract the alphanumeric code and you have to go through many of these companies, and you know, they’re probably not going to be very happy with me in telling me their secrets about what they do, but they use reflectivity if they do not have reflectivity they cannot see your plate.
Chuck: Oh, so the California License Plate, its black with yellow lettering it’s not going to work, that’s so good.
John C.: Well it depends upon just how much reflectivity there is. We chose to choose a path of using object identification and color. Everything we do was in color, whether its day or night, or I can even simply use the system with an IR camera and do the same job as they do, but do it better because our technology is much more robust in the back end. Our technology isn’t, protected by patents; it’s protected by trade secrets. Why because we were so different in our approach. You know, we follow up numbers of patents, blocking patents et cetera, but the essential technology is geared around object recognition, because of that I can now identify the type of car, a vehicle; you know, what a vehicle is. I can tell you whether it’s a sedan, or I can tell you whether it’s a van or an SUV or a commercial vehicle or a non-commercial vehicle.
I can tell you the color of the vehicle, I can tell you the jurisdiction of that vehicle, and I can tell you the alphanumeric code of the plate. If I only have a partial read I can look at that information and gather the rest of the data to identify that vehicle through other methodologies, but we do not have this routine of I’ll shoot a plate once then twice and then if I have an eight in it, and then I’ll go back and I’ll switch that eight with a B because they look so similar, and I’ll search that database again and if I have a seven and a one,
I’ll do the same thing and then if I have a, you know, a four and a five; any characters that have similarities can throw these other systems off hence changes their accuracy rates. There was one European study that was done and I am not privy to the name of the study at this moment, but it showed the average accuracy most of these systems in the 70, 60 to 70% range.
Chuck: That’s it 60 to 70% that’s low.
John C.: Well, you know, there is a company that I know that uses, different companies use different ways of looking at accuracy. We have a 21 page paper on our site. It’s a white paper on how accuracy should be identified. I think one of my nearest competitors has a two page paper on how accuracy is identified, so essentially if we pass a 100 cars or a 100 cars pass our system, we’ll actually count all 100 cars, and then we’ll look at how many of those cars did we actually capture plates on. So usually that’s 98%, 97% percent and then we’ll actually look out of plates that we caught, how many of those plates were correctly read and that’s another percentage point, and that gives us our accuracy range, and were in the 90% range, I’m not going to go on to the specifics of we’re the best at this or that, but I know we can do better than anyone else.
Chuck: Now, let’s talk about why this is so important how we tie this to terrorism, right, because you and I talk about this for a long time.
John C.: Terrorism, yeah.
Chuck: I think this is the most significant tool we can use, because everybody needs to drive a car to get somewhere eventually, right?
John C.: Exactly.
Chuck: Terrorists don’t take the bus necessarily and in pre-planning they are doing surveillance, right?
John C.: Exactly.
Chuck: So, I remember when I was at Disney we had one day were a car with about five properties of Burbank, right and when I was living in lodge a week later I found this one license plate that kept driving by all the studio locations taking photographs and had we had something like yours it would recognize it right away and feed me the data then I could see a pattern, I could say this same license plate is at five different locations, I got an anomaly here I got a pattern and I can act upon it and I think people don’t understand it that if we have this kind of information, were its constantly looking at license plates all around the country, at all the different places in finding cars that, you know, travel across country maybe your or shop in the same place at the same time that data could be used to solve all kinds of things and…
John C.: Exactly. You know, and there’s a lot of data here that people have this perception that, you know, Law Enforcement is trying to spy on them, that, you know, we as a company are trying to spy on them. I am the biggest advocate of privacy rights that you’ll ever meet. I love guns, I own guns. I’m not afraid to say that. I don’t want people invading my privacy, but a plate is open to the preview of any individual and under the Constitution, under the Fourth Amendment, it is clearly stated that anything in that open nature that is available to the human eye is not protected by any privacy. The fact that a system may gather your plate and put it into a database really doesn’t ever mean anything other than your plate run into a database it’s going to reside there for 90 days and get deleted if that’s what the state legislation decides is the appropriate period of time.
Chuck: By the way it might, it might not be that that plate actually identifies you.
John C.: Exactly.
Chuck: Because initially the plate can go into a database and be saved as just a bunch of numbers and letters.
John C.: Exactly.
Chuck: Then if we see a pattern then police can go on, get a warrant and say, “Listen, we want to search, get more information of this particular plate. We want to run it and then we, we get into issues.
John C.: [Crosstalk] [0:21:05] and look at the data and, you know, where is this really come in handy knowing what plates are older than others that are in the database in any type of Amber Alert situation, you have pedophiles that have to fight urges, you know, some people say these are, are individuals with the disease that they cannot control, so if that’s the case, they cannot control the behavior that they are going to exhibit in the future, so basically it means that they may use the same vehicle to go by a school, where you expect your children to be safe and yet because there’s not a way of actively capturing them and saying you’re in violation of your probation, you’re within 200 yards of a school zone or a 100 yards of a school zone. These people can still look at your children, follow them home and possibly abduct them.
Now I can’t imagine any parent out there that’s ever experienced this, but I’m often, often asked by privacy advocates, the staunchest guys out there that have basically, you know, come short of calling me everything, but anything that I would like to be called to say that I am violating the rights of every individual out there and I say to them, “Do you have children?” And they say “Yes.” “Do you love your children?” “Yes.” “What would you give if you could bring that child back within a few hours of her or his abduction?” “I’d do anything at that point” I said “Well that is what LPR is about initially. That’s how it started and that’s the reason for it. It was about bringing children home safely, in a time period when it was thought that these children were still safe, the first three hours of their abduction. If we could locate them, triangularly plates that we’ve have spotted through multiple LPR systems we could possibly triangulate and bring that child home.
Chuck: Now the data is captured in real time, correct?
John C.: Yes. Captured in real time compared against real databases in real time we do everything in real time. Every time the National NCIS, which is the national criminal database, is updated every Law Enforcement Agency that uses our system their database is updated as well, so they’re always working with the most pertinent information, you know, if somebody comes off of the database its erased from the system, their plate is no longer on the database. Now we’ve had a situation, where we’ve had certain companies that do repossession work and that they sell their database to commercial entities for varying purposes.
Mostly for repossession, but I’ve heard of other rumors of them selling it to access credit scores to assess other reasons and I’m totally against that. I believe that’s a violation of one’s privacy, because a lot of these repo companies travel in the same circles and again I am not going to deny the fact that we sell to a repo company or to an agency that does repossessions because they have a legitimate business reason. When somebody borrows money from a bank, they’re guarantying that bank that they’re going to pay their bill on time and take care of this vehicle, yeah, if they don’t pay their bills, who get stuck with the bill finally? The bank get stuck with it, the consumer gets stuck with it and the individual who has not paid the bill often doesn’t get prosecuted, because it’s not worth the effort of prosecuting them for a $20,000 car because the prosecution will cost more.
Chuck: So, in that business your software is used to set up on a street or some traffic area and as cars go by, you can say, “Hey, wait a minute. That’s a car that’s on the repossession list and here is where we saw it.”
John C.: Again if, if it’s the agency that does that type of work, yes. For Law Enforcement, they usually do not have that information. The information they’re out there with most Law Enforcement Agencies or the State database, which, for like Florida, FDLE which is the Florida Department of Law Enforcement database. It has a list of all the stolen vehicles in Florida, all outstanding warrants et cetera also, there is local databases, which individual agencies use to manage their own individual issues that they suffer within the jurisdiction of that Law Enforcement Agency, so that database is there and the database from an NCIS,
which is used both in Canada, Mexico and in the U S is National Criminal Database, so our system checks all those databases, so if your vehicle is on one of those databases, we will find it, we’ll identify it to an Officer and an Officer at that point has a choice. Most times the violations he gets are minor violations and they’re really not worth his time to pursue unless, obviously he wants to. Those are the not the guys I’m concerned about.
The guys I’m concerned about are the drug dealers that Timothy McVeigh’s and we put that Timothy McVeigh has a technology, in our technology, in our, we have the most advanced video analytics technologies for license plates in vehicles out in the industry. We’ve won the Government’s Award, the Govies for video analytics three years in a row over all other companies, because we actually produce data from the data we collect and that data helps identify people that are potentially dangerous. If we had this type of system at Columbine, the two individuals that went into that school with all that military hardware and it’s not, you know, a gun is only as dangerous as the person who uses it, as we saw in San Bernardino. When you saw a woman in a burqa get out of her SUV and take out an AK-47 and cock it in the back of, of a school zone, you know, pre-kid, pre-kindergarten kids, there’s a real issue there. Why did that happen in California and not in Texas, because I guarantee you in Texas where there is an open carry law that person would have never made it to cocking that gun or trying to aim it at anyone.
Chuck: So, let’s go back to the Columbine example, so I, I got this setup at a school and I’m using school cameras because your software, I don’t know if we mentioned this enough, but we should reemphasize it. Your software can be used on existing camera systems. This is the big difference.
John C.: Yes absolutely, it is, yes.
Chuck: So, I don’t want to buy a special camera, that’s the, the big deal.
John C.: No. You do not need to buy, I mean, reemphasize it. We can work with any camera from any manufacturer, from any country and most of our partners are leading manufacturers of cameras around the world. Why they’re choosing to work with us is because cameras are becoming commodities. You know, cameras that several years ago may have sold for several thousand dollars are now selling for $500. The price of cameras have come down so greatly that it is making it hard for these camera companies to stay in business, by having this added ability to add an LPR into a plat, cameras platform like we do with Samsung, for instance, it makes those cameras enable to utilize our technology to identify vehicles that are potentially threats.
Chuck: So, let’s give an example of how we would utilize this and tell me if I’m wrong in my sample, so we take… We take Burbank, City of Burbank. City of Burbank has cameras around the city. It’s got cameras at their public buildings. It has cameras at their schools and let’s just assume that that all feeds into the police department. We can put your software on that network and start gathering license plates throughout the city and if we happen to see some kid’s license plate that keeps coming by Burbank High School 25 times every day and all day long that could be surveillance. It’s going to register that as anomaly, if we see certain patterns of a license plate around a school that’s a pedophile
and we know it’s a registered pedophile and he keeps showing up at a school, it can capture that in real-time and send us that information, right?
John C.: Exactly, because those databases, you know, the pedophile database is available any individual that doesn’t realize that they can go online and look in their general premises of where they reside and see where the pedophiles living around them, which when I did it, I was quite surprised…
Chuck: Oh, they are everywhere, they’re everywhere.
John C.: Very residential area. Within a half mile, I had three pedophiles there who were convicted of some serious offenses that got out of jail, now were living. I couldn’t even let my daughter play outside our home, which is in a secluded protected area, without the fear of this happening and take Columbine excuse me. You had individuals that had threatened the school, have threaten the, student body were expelled, were on an expelled list, and were potentially considered dangerous. If they had entered the premises, if we had to LPR up and using the school’s cameras the minute they re-entered the school in their vehicles, which they did in fact do, security would have been notified and Law Enforcement would have been notified at the same time. I won’t mention the name of the University we just did a large installment at a major University and within 48 hours they caught four pedophiles.
Chuck: 48 hours, wow.
John C.: Within four hours.
Chuck: I’m sorry.
John C.: In 48 hours they caught four pedophiles that should not have been on
Chuck: That’s amazing.
John C.: Now you have students that register their cars, but when asked if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime they say, no and you never think twice about it, until they register their car, you never think twice about it, but now those same students that have registered and said they’ve never been convicted of anything, all of a sudden they could show up on a pedophile list, because the Law Enforcement database, you know that most colleges will actually tie into Law Enforcement Agencies and work in conjunction with them to better protect their students from sexual offenders, from sexual predators, from students that wish to do harm. I mean, the examples go on and on at Sandy Hook, Virginia, you know…
Chuck: Virginia Tech, yeah.
John C.: Virginia Tech, you know, we go on for schools and keep going on.
Chuck: Can I ask you a question about the legalities, so are there any States in the United States that don’t allow License Plate Recognition software or have certain restrictions where data has to be saved a certain way, encrypted a certain way or is it fairly standard? I mean to me, I’m with you this is public information. Your license plate on the freeway in front of me in a traffic jam is not private, I’m sorry. Who it’s registered to is as car is a private, right? But the plate is in public, and your plate and your car and you’re driving is public behavior and we can record that and see what’s going on, so is there any legal challenges in any States?
John C.: Exactly. Yes, there are. You know, a state like Louisiana does not allow LPR under any circumstance.
Chuck: Well, they are French, that’s why.
John C.: They’ve brought into the ACLU and the civil liberties argument that privacy is the utmost concern of every individual in this country and I argue, if that’s the case we will be facing a situation and you know, the situation has made itself very clear and this is the ISIS situation. Our administration has claimed that ISIS is on the down turn, there are no longer a real threat, we shouldn’t be worried about them here in the U S, but a week ago or two weeks ago when they attacked Brussels there’s some accounts of a car driving to that airport five times, ten times up to 25 times was the hard, the highest count that I heard of a vehicle driving through the airport without stopping, without anything other than simply driving to the airport on five consecutive days. If we’ve looked at vehicle and say, okay, this is a problem it’s circling, I mean it’s going through an airport; it’s going through an area a soft targeted area. Airports itself can be considered a soft target on one aspect and that it’s easy to access the common area for airside, for landside, excuse me with luggage. The FBI did a study and probably they’re not going to be happy with me for saying this, but the study showed that and they left luggage all over different airports around the country, and you know, the luggage was never really identified. No one ever open it up to see if there was anything in it.
They simply, you know, notified the card holder on that thing and hoped that those people would come back. What happened was that you know FBI found out that it’s not so safe to do this, Ben Gurion Airport the Israeli people have taken it upon themselves to make themselves watched guards. You know, if I was to leave my luggage in Ben Gurion, and walk away to the rest room, by the time I got back, I would have be facing one or two situations my luggage would’ve either been confiscated or I’d be interrogated by a guard as to why I left my luggage unattended causing a havoc in the airport, because it’s one of the safest airports. Everything that goes into that airport is checked before they check it. Now the individuals that did the Brussels account. The reason they did that was we knew in Paris the attack on Paris that killed 124 people I believe or 114 people in December, in the November-December period was an executed attack. It was strategic, it was well-planned, well-executed. Individuals from the ISIS’s organization all rented well not all some rented vehicles in Brussels and drove back to Paris in rental cars. If anyone had bothered to check who was renting cars in Brussels, and saw that these individuals were on watch lists and they saw that more than one individual that was renting that car was on a suspected terrorist watch list, but maybe two, maybe three individuals were all coming
back at the same time.
What do you think the outcome of that would have been? We would have probably intercepted those vehicles before they got to Paris and tried to figure out, why this is occurring? See this is the thing I’ve been trying to explain to people. I’m not trying to, you know; get involved in your privacy. I don’t care if you go to whatever type of business, or clubs, or dinner place or, you know, what you do in your private time. If you’re not on one of these lists, your plate’s not going to be looked at in detail. It’s going to go on to a database and sit there until the State says we can erase it, because the legislation of the state it’s up to them to determine how long a plate should be kept in a database so, you know, much like the ACLU I agreed with them. In general I believe LPR is a fantastic technology, in general I believe that there have to be some limitations as to how long a plate can be kept in a database. Why because plates do go stale, license plates do get transferred over a period of time, and they’re no longer relevant, but the fact that I may have captured the same person’s plate 500 times, and it’s sitting in somebody’s database would probably piss them off, which it has, excuse my language, I apologize about that, but it would upset me that.
Okay, my plate’s been captured 500 hundred times because these guys who just traveling around in circles, but again that data is not being utilized for any purpose, unless somebody is trying to commercialize it for a different reason then I am totally against that. So I’ve agreed that there have to be certain limitations, and I have agreed that video analytics in general, when we talk about video analytics, you know, Chuck, what do you think of, I think that would be, you know, in the past I think, behavioral analytics, any type of behavior that might indicate some type of foreseen action taken by an individual or object detection or an object has moved in this video and makes, I’m a little nervous about it. What kind of object am I looking at, is it luggage is it a car? Is it, you know, how do I specify and make all those alerts, because they throw up thousands of false alerts and they’re not, you cannot possibly check all the alerts to see if they’re relevant or not. The thing that’s different about LPR is, if it throws of an alert it is their fight right then and there it’s either correct or it’s incorrect, it’s on a database, or it’s not on a database.
If it is on the database, then you have actionable Intel and if you’re looking for people that, you know, we know especially in Tampa we had a, you know, a University professor who is an Al-Qaeda member then we extradited him out of this. We know that there are terrorists here in this area. We know there are terrorists in all 50 States because, you know, we know that the FBI has over 1000 open cases against ISIS’s members in the U S currently. If you measure that number against what that number was last year, I think you’d be surprised and I won’t come out and say what that number is, but I’ll let it, be up to the individuals that claim privacy concerns and claim all these things to do some research on their own and look at how the data is being used.
Chuck: So, if we’re finding this data in real-time.
John C.: Any agencies, cities that are now putting up city surveillance systems to make sure that their citizens are safe from attacks.
Chuck: No, I got a question on the timing, so let me look re-back up on the timing, so let’s say legislators keep the data for 90 days.
John C.: Yeah.
Chuck: This is at real time, and we have a guy that shows up every Wednesday, maybe that doesn’t pop the database for anomaly, because maybe a lot of people show up Wednesday, right?
John C.: Exactly.
Chuck: But, it’s, [indiscernible] [0:40:13] right, but is 90 days a long enough time to get some analytics on that, should it be longer maybe, I don’t know.
John C.: You know, and again I think, rather than me; answer that question, that’s a question for our legislators in both houses to address seriously. I’ve written letters to Congressmen and have not got a feedback other than “Thank you for your concern” but the letters I’ve asked are simply letters of concerns saying, if you’re going to fund a fusion center in a State…
Chuck: Explain what a fusion centers to people so they…
John C.: Fusion centers are centers that states set up to gather data and keep data current that can be shared with other States or other agencies within the other States, so if you are going to fund a fusion center that gathers LPR for instance, why don’t you make it mandatory. If I’m using federal funds that you as a State now have to share that State with A, B, C and D because we’d funded them for the same purpose and now we have data from all these different States and then we have this unique piece of software that can be utilized by any agency that has the criteria and the credentials to do first off, before they can even access the data, they have to pass an audit process, so that that means, no one can simply just go into this database and pull up a license plate. You know, if a Law Enforcement Agent such as a police officer were to type in his girlfriend’s, ex-girlfriend’s license plate into his on board, David day, David database and that ever came to like where he could not justify that looked up, that’s an internal investigation manner and it should be. He’s abusing his authority, but that’s not the case here. If we have the authority and we’ve gone through the process and we’ve gathered the data in a correct manner, then we set up an audit process. Once the audit process is detailed and we have certified that the individual looking at this data has the ability to look at the data, the next step is we utilize the analytics that we put together. Has this vehicle, you know, shown unusual behavior, what do I mean by that?
Chuck: Well that’s a good, let’s back up and restate that. Has the vehicle shown an unusual behavior, because I don’t know whose driving it?
John C.: Exactly.
Chuck: I don’t what color you are, I don’t know what race you are, I don’t know what your political affiliation is. I just know, a car has shown up and that’s, that’s a secret people have to zoom in on that this is not about people it’s about cars and then we go get the legal things we need to make it about people. That’s the secret.
John C.: Exactly. We do not profile.
Chuck: That’s right.
John C.: I am against profiling. LPR is not profiling, it is looking at a license plate, LPR is randomly at any point in a video image where a system may be deployed and I’m not looking at the person in the car, I’m looking on a license plate. Now that plate appears on a database and that’s one issue, if that license plate appears on a unique type of analytic look up where say, this car has appeared at a nuclear processing plant, has appeared at the Port of Tampa, the largest shipper of Nitrate fertilizers in the Southeast in not the US and then it has appeared at the Desalination plant of Tampa, within a week’s time or a three-day period of time, well then…
Chuck: We got a problem.
John C.: I have a question. Why is a car randomly showing up at these secured
locations? It’s not something I do.
Chuck: He is not the paper boy. It’s not the paper boy. There’s a problem with
that and I…
John C.: And you should look at it further.
John C.: So LPR gives them the ability to look at okay, we’ve identified this vehicle. It’s shown abnormal behavior. We have the audit processes in place to justify the lookup. Now let’s look up and see who this car is registered to and what happens if it’s registered to somebody that Department of Homeland Security may have on a watch list as a terrorist are you concerned at that point or do I…?
Chuck: Well I here, let’s stop right there, because here’s, here’s where it can go bad, right? Because just a fact they were gathering license plates and looking at the plates and the behavior of the car, the pattern of the car in other words the car is engaged in some sort of surveillance activity that is really not a privacy issue and I’m not a lawyer and Travis, have I ever played a lawyer on the show? I don’t think so, no, but so, but seriously it’s not a privacy issue because it’s about the car in itself, but if the federal government takes it that they can make it all [indiscernible] [0:44:57] because now they have people on watch list and they’re not supposed to be on watch list and so on and so on. That’s a separate issue; we shouldn’t throw the license plate out with the bathwater because the government doesn’t know how to maintain data on their side on the back end, right. People get on watch list for airplanes, they get the wrong names their databases aren’t updated. Those are separate issues and I, and I think people need to separate that from the behavior of the government and if we can, we can find amazing things and behavior with cars because people out there.
John C.: You are absolutely right, you know, you hit the, you hit the ball out of the ballpark here, because, you know, our current administration seems to believe that we’re over the ISIS crisis that we got them on the run. You know, we got them down from $80 million dollars in oil revenue down to $47 million. Well, Jesus that makes them one of the most well funded terrorist groups ever to exist on this planet. You know, what can; you do with $47 million. Let me tell you what you can with $47 million. In the last year, in Iraq, a device
containing iridium 194, which is an isotope, radioactive isotope which can easily be converted into a dirty bomb material was stolen in Iraq. It is never been identified as being reclaimed or found. In Mexico, in the last month, a similar device containing the same type of material has disappeared and has not been found. Where is this material? I can give you a guess and you know, a lot of what I say is conjecture to some people, lot of it is based on factual information based of off, you know, DHS’s websites and newsletters from various
agencies, but the fact is, the same device was stolen in Mexico in the last month. Now you have to ask yourself, who could steal a device like that and actually get away with it? First off, why would you want to steal nuclear material because for the average thief, what are you going to do with it, who do you find to buy a nuclear material I want to, roles on market.
You know arms market first off and even in that case chances are you’re going to get caught immediately because of the watch list out there, but we do know ISIS has two strongholds. We know that not only has Al-Qaeda, but Hamas has taught the north terrorists and probably going to get myself in trouble here with these guys and you know, it’s not going to be the first time, but again, you know, people think I talk about this, because, you know, I’m a, you know, die hard and I want all this stuff, but you know, I, every time I talk about it, I take a risk of making somebody angry and the fact is, the only people capable of handling this material are sophisticated individuals that have a lot of money, so you handle the material to bring in the right scientific team to take their
material to take it and take it out of the waste containers, to put it into other containers to weaponize it. How difficult is it to weaponize? I can’t tell you that I’m not a scientist, but being an average individual, with average intellect as I say I am. You know, we know the bombs that were used in, you know, Brussels, we know the bombs used in other areas by Al-Qaeda, the, you know, the, the bomb used in the Boston Marathon bombs were pressure cooker bombs. They are they are traditional Al-Qaeda alternative bombs.
They’re inexpensive to make, you can go to your hardware store spend $15, go to a local gun store buy some gun powder, go to your local hardware store and buy some nails and you have basically a device that’s capable of causing a devastation that Boston Marathon did. It’s not that sophisticated, so instead of adding in ball bearings and nails we had some of this material and we dump it in Downtown Phoenix or Downtown Houston, no one is any wiser because these individuals ISIS is so much smarter than we give them credit for and I think it’s doing us a disservice, when this administration doesn’t admit the fact that
they have learned how to circumvent our traditional methodologies of communication. They, they’re not communicating via email and they are not come, communicating via their text messaging or by their Apple phone, why? You know, we know that the FBI once you Apple and asked to open its code to them, Apple refused to allow them to see how they can access the code. The FBI had already cracked it and gathered the information on San Bernardino that it needed for an investigation. We knew they did that they said they did that. When ISIS when, you know, and Chuck correct me if I’m wrong here, but you should probably know this question as well, but I believe there was a threat against Twitter and against Facebook about if they should try to limit somebody’s access to their
sites that they would potentially bring those sites down.
Chuck: Well there was, I believe, yeah there were threats against the founders of those organizations, and personal threats as well I believe too, absolutely.
John C.: Yes, and actually, you know, they put up videos for 20 minutes in which, these companies couldn’t control their own sites, so actually, yeah, they have caused these sites to come down and cause great devastation and…
Chuck: Let me switch gear on something real quick, all right, so you mentioned the companies we’re talking about Facebook, Twitter they have issues. We are discussing this kind of in the realm of License Plate Recognition for governments, for agencies, police that kind of thing, but really there’s absolutely, correct me; if I’m wrong, okay. There is no reason that the Costco in Burbank can buy your software, stick it on the cameras and watch cars going in and out of Costco all day and use that data not connected to the police department, Costco is not going to hook into the police database, but maybe Costco is going to see your license plate that shows some kind of pattern, right? And there, there’s a value in the private sector for this and how it been utilized in a private sector, besides, you know, homeowners associations and things, really controlling parking, but are people use in a private sector and big corporations for intelligence gathering?
John C.: You know are they gathering to find out who their retail shoppers are and are they gathering into, you know, it’s been put out there that they’re trying to do that but, you know, it’s really pretty far-fetched, because of the amount of additional research. They can tell if a car has been in their lot five times in the last week, well this is a great shopper he is coming, maybe we should change or, you know, specials to days when we don’t have that much traffic, so the data can be used in some ways, but can they actually go and determining who is that person and send them a mail and say, we’re giving you a 10%.
Chuck: No, no, they can’t do that.
John C.: No, they can’t.
Chuck: No, but what I’m saying is what they could do, is they could use that data and you look at some data mining and decide, you know, this behavior equals something that we should look at for possible criminal behavior, in other words the car is showing up after hours, right?
John C.: Exactly and that could be…
Chuck: License plate. Then they call the local PD and they say I have some data; I got a car that shows up after hours every Tuesday and Thursday, goes behind my building parts and sits there. Can you guys look into it? I don’t see anyproblem with that. You just…
John C.: In reality there shouldn’t be, because again, you know, we are citizens of the same country we’re a homogonous group of individuals that, you know, we all want the best. You know, we also, we all look at our children; we want the best for them. Even, you know, I’ve often spoken about how badly I feel for Muslims of a different sect than the ISIS sect, which we know they’re being, you know discriminated against by not only ISIS, but by individuals that now look at these and say, oh God you’re potentially, you know, terrorist. It’s not fair to them but, you know, ISIS isn’t concerned about that. ISIS isn’t concerned about showing you a seven year old child putting a gun to the back of the head of a soldier, pulling the trigger and then holding that head up after it’s been severed and laughing with their parents, and saying what a good little solider he is or they aren’t laughing about, you know, they are laughing about our Christian children’s playground in Syria in which, you know, our news stations here refuse to show this stuff and it appalls me, but if you’ve ever seen an image of it, it was nothing more than the stakes planted in the ground with a sign saying Christian Children’s Playground with the heads of children, babies.
You know, to five-year olds cut off and stuck on states with people laughing at this thinking it is funny that Christians are being treated as badly. We know ISIS has used WMDs, you know, of the non-radiological type, they’ve used mustard gas. The same reason we took Saddam Hussein out they are doing it right now and we all, we think we can go onto these countries, and I don’t think we quite understand it yet that we can’t go into Iraq, we can’t go into Afghanistan, and we can’t into Iran and change 5,000 years of thinking by trying to impose our will on them and if by doing so, means we have to commit more troops and more of our soldiers that come back here that have to come back to a world that they’re
no longer adapted to and you know, it breaks my heart when I meet these soldiers, and when I speak to them, you know, they seem normal on the outside, they seem normal when you’re talking to them, expect when you catch them staring off into space and they are cringing, their faces are showing emotions that people normally don’t show.
They’re reliving things that we shouldn’t have to, you know, make people live in, and you know, but we’re heading in that direction again. You know, the Secretary of Defense and the Four Star undersecretary just got off, you know, the news junket, what three weeks ago and said it’s going to take six years and it’s going to take the commitment of massive amount of troops in these countries, when is it going to stop? You know, so what I’m advocating here is, we’ve developed and again we’ve gotten away from the subject of LPR. We’ve developed the most sophisticated branch of LPR. It is not only the most sophisticated branch, but it is the most affordable product out there for deployment in mass numbers, we on average or less than a quarter of our nearest competitor’s price, including equipment on average, if you have to buy equipment. In most cases it’s just a matter of tying the software to your existing cameras.
Chuck: Right, that’s the key. Existing cameras let me ask you a quick question. My, one of my Facebook people just wrote a note here. We’ve got about what three minutes, Travis, or three minutes left and she says, you know, what if we put this in place like downtown Portland and there is lot of pre-school and kindergartens down there and day care settings and you know, could the bad guys avoid being detected by just getting out of the cars and walking around and Christy, I’m going to tell you, yes, except no, because their license plate will still be captured coming into the area parking, it will be captured on some city
cameras somewhere or camera or a drugstore or something like that and then even if the car is parked, if the car keeps showing up there’s a pattern, we’re going to find it in the database do an analysis and say maybe we should find this car and take a look at it, so I think you could get, response to that to say, hey, the same car keeps come in and parking, come in and parking and come in and parking every…
John C.: Absolutely, and even, you know, again individuals we can associate one individual to one car or ten cars to one individual or ten individuals to one car. The databases really don’t care. It is, all we’re looking at is as a plate and then we’re associating it to abstract acts that occurred elsewhere under different circumstances, and then we pull them together and we analyze it and we look for the commonalities. Once we have the commonalities we can lock down upon them. Now, you know, was Christy that asked the question?
John C.: Oh, Christy, I would you say to you try to imagine yourself going from your home wherever you live, and trying to get to a place maybe four miles away, three miles away. How many intersections do you have to go through? How many intersections would you have to try to avoid to try to get around the system, because the beautiful thing about city intersection cameras and city surveillance systems, you never know which camera may have LPR in it and you may never know, which ones are active or non-active, because the human mind, you know, we don’t perceive the cameras as we’re driving through intersections anymore. Once we have seen them once or twice, they are gone, but the problem is Law Enforcement vehicles, when you drive around with four cameras on the back of Law Enforcement vehicles with some systems from some companies being small, you know pretty concise systems. Our systems are always covert. You can never see our systems; they are not visible from the outside of the car. They are covert and they stay covert for the reason of, if I know this police car has LPR, because I’m in the business perhaps, but because I do the research. I know there is a way of defeating those systems.
Chuck: Hey John, we ran out of time. You got to come back and do some more, maybe we have you on another week to give us some updates. Give us your website.
John C.: It’s www.platesmart.com and again, you know, I would emphasize that if you have a chance please take a look at the website, please take a look at the opportunity this technology provides us in fighting this threat against ISIS and against on our own home grown terrorist groups that would see harm brought to the masses to push forward an ideology that we certainly don’t agreed with.
Chuck: Right. John thanks for coming in and…
John C.: Thank you so much, Chuck.
Chuck: Go to YouTube and check out the YouTube from ISC West that gives some more technical information about platesmart.com and tune in next week on
Security Guy Radio.
John C.: Thank you again.
Chuck: Good night.
John C.: Good night, sir.
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