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Car Confiscation Program Expands
Camera-based car confiscation program expands to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Woman who owned just $85 had car towed.

The Bootfinder camera system is expanding to Bridgeport, Connecticut. The device which is already in use in Arlington, Virginia and New Haven, Connecticut scans license plates of parked cars searching for anyone listed as owing the city money.

Kathy Martone of New Haven owed just $85 in taxes when the city -- without warning -- confiscated her Dodge Neon right out of her driveway while she was doing the dishes last week. "I didn't know till I went to walk my dog," she told the Associated Press.

In six months, New Haven has made $1 million from the program and confiscated 1,800 cars.

Bridgeport, which has some of the highest taxes in the nation, expects to start using the system April 1.

Article Excerpt:
The BootFinder, originally intended to track stolen cars until tax collectors learned about it, is sparking concerns by privacy advocates. They cite fears of "function creep" in which technology intended for one purpose evolves into other uses.

"It's a very slippery slope into which the authorities may be tempted to go," said Cedric Laurant, policy counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington D.C. "You could use that technology to enforce any type of law that requires people to file their taxes."
Source: Armed with new technology, cities seize cars of tax delinquents (Associated Press, 3/2/2005)

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