Police in Pennsylvania were accused Wednesday of disguising a license plate reading vehicle as a Google Street View car.
Noticed at around 10 am EST by security and cryptography researcher Matt Blaze, the white SUV was seen with a large Google Maps sticker on one of its rear windows.
“WTF? Pennsylvania State Police license plate reader SUV camouflaged as Google Street View vehicle,” Blaze wrote on Twitter.
The photo, which quickly gained several hundred retweets, also shows two cameras on top of the vehicle believed to be LPRs or “License Plate Readers.”
Speaking with Gizmodo writer Matt Novak, Pennsylvania State Trooper Adam Reed confirmed the equipment to be LPRs although he and the department denied owning the SUV.
Matt, this is not a PSP vehicle. If this is LPR technology, other agencies and companies might make use of it. https://t.co/ekJrN4lF2h
— PA State Police (@PAStatePolice) May 11, 2016
According to Blaze, the vehicle was not only parked near multiple police cars but even had a Pennsylvania State Police parking placard in the window, a police radio and a “LoJack antenna array on the roof.”
Plot thickens. Car was def. law enf & had a @PAStatePolice parking placard, but they say it isn't one of theirs. https://t.co/WGQLuVrTUz
— matt blaze (@mattblaze) May 11, 2016
The cameras used on Google Street View cars, as pictured below, are also vastly different and much larger than those used for scanning license plates.
Twitter users, also noting the potential legal issues surrounding the misuse of Google’s logo, alerted the tech company to the vehicle. Google has not made any public statements at the time of publication.
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