For many years, Watchman security software from Rekor Systems has been available for commercial use by businesses and even police departments as a means to track license plates and for general security purposes.
Just a few days ago, Rekor Systems released the Watchman security software for consumer usage and home security. This allows users to keep surveillance on their homes and properties integrating it with their smart home infrastructure.
The AI operated software that reads license plates is causing the concern for privacy to be brought up. Although the system does not single out passing automobiles or their owners, privacy advocates are causing a fuss because it has the potential to share information with law enforcement. This can help law enforcement catch those who are wanted or on a hotlist.
Rekor states that this is not what the intended purpose of the software is for and it would never release the information without the homeowner’s consent. The homeowner would have to agree to allow them to send the information to law enforcement through the usage of their home’s system.
The intended purpose of the consumer version of Watchman is to allow patrons to keep watch on their homes. Know who is knocking on the door, whether their children are home from school, and make sure their properties are safe. It is not intentional if a wanted fugitive is caught because of a license plate being read.
The ACLU is concerned about the amount of information that is being stored as a result of these types of software. These types of cameras, the ones who take license plate information, are taking hundreds of photos and videos a minute of license plates across the country of innocent drivers and pooling them. The retention of this information without consent from the drivers is considered a civil rights violation by the ACLU.
There are a lot of privacy concerns that will need to be addressed regarding consumer access to Watchman, but Rekor is remaining firm with their rebuttal that the intention of the home security software is not to breach privacy but to give homeowners peace of mind.