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amftech512

Creating a database of license plates associated with driver reputations

10 posts in this topic

Hello,

 

I was thinking the other day... We see aggressive drivers on the road all of the time. What if there was a software application that allowed users to build driving reputations for people on the road? The application would store a database of license plates along with reports that went with it. For example, if a particular user saw someone who they thought was DUI, they could report it with their phone using the license plate as an identifier. My question is: is it legal to create a database of information using license plates as identifiers?

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1 minute ago, RetiredinVA said:

Probably not illegal to create such a data base.  But any factually allegations about the owner/user of the vehicle identified may lead to suits for defamation.

 

That's a very good point. Maybe the application would only share information between users of the software. That way when they sign up, they'll agree to have that information shared between users. That would prevent any non-consenting defamation, right?

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18 minutes ago, amftech512 said:

 

That's a very good point. Maybe the application would only share information between users of the software. That way when they sign up, they'll agree to have that information shared between users. That would prevent any non-consenting defamation, right?

Wrong.  Defamation consists of publication of false factual information to another.  The fact that the distribution of false information occurs among a group of members does not mean the false information is is not defaming.  Are you suggesting the group would be consisted of the allegedly aggressive drivers?  What is the point of this database anyway?

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1 hour ago, amftech512 said:

What if there was a software application that allowed users to build driving reputations for people on the road?

 

I don't understand what this question means or if it's rhetorical.

 

 

1 hour ago, amftech512 said:

For example, if a particular user saw someone who they thought was DUI, they could report it with their phone using the license plate as an identifier.

 

Report it to whom?  Are simply suggesting that a person could post to the app that, at such-and-such a time, such-and-such behavior was observed by the driver of a car bearing license plate 123ABC?

 

 

1 hour ago, amftech512 said:

My question is: is it legal to create a database of information using license plates as identifiers?

 

I can't conceive why it would be, but there are 50 states, and each state has its own unique laws, and it's not inconceivable that some state might have a law that would be relevant (putting aside the fact that most of the posters probably would be other drivers, who would become distracted drivers while trying to post to the app).

 

 

23 minutes ago, amftech512 said:
29 minutes ago, RetiredinVA said:

Probably not illegal to create such a data base.  But any factually allegations about the owner/user of the vehicle identified may lead to suits for defamation.

 

That's a very good point. Maybe the application would only share information between users of the software. That way when they sign up, they'll agree to have that information shared between users. That would prevent any non-consenting defamation, right?

 

I suppose you could set it up so that users of the app prospectively waive any defamation or other claims arising out of the use of the app.  However, the most likely persons suing for defamation would not be users of the app; rather, they would be non-users about whom allegations are made by users.  There's no way to prevent lawsuits from being filed.

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The point of the database would be to store driver reputations associated with license plate numbers. Normal users could use the data in order to see their own reputation, and to be aware of other people's habits while on the road. My vision for the final interface would utilize Siri or Google Assistant. An example interaction would be as follows:

 

User: "Hey siri/google, what are the driving habits of license plate XXX-000?"

Assistant: "Based on reports from multiple users, driver XXX-000 appears to be aggressive. I suggest you keep a safe following distance."

 

If the user wanted to report driving behavior, the conversation could go as follows:

 

User: "Hey siri/google, driver XXX-000 seems to be drunk."

Assistant: "Thank you for the report. I'll note that in the driver reputation database."

 

As for other use cases, the authorities could use the data generated by this application to better enforce traffic laws; and Insurance companies could use the data from this to give better rates to drivers with high reputations. 

 

42 minutes ago, amftech512 said:

 

That's a very good point. Maybe the application would only share information between users of the software. That way when they sign up, they'll agree to have that information shared between users. That would prevent any non-consenting defamation, right?

 

When I stated this, I meant that only users would be profiled. If you are a non-user, reports about you will be thrown away. A user's reputation would be built off of the number of negative vs. positive reports. Even if there is false reporting, legitimately bad drivers will be more evident based on the data.

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If you are only profiling people who use the app and are reported by other users of the app, then it's a waste of time and energy and completely useless.  There are over 222 MILLION drivers in the US spread across 50 states. 

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46 minutes ago, LegalwriterOne said:

If you are only profiling people who use the app and are reported by other users of the app, then it's a waste of time and energy and completely useless.  There are over 222 MILLION drivers in the US spread across 50 states. 

Fair enough. If someone with better legal expertise wants to try this then they might be successful. As for me, I'd just rather not get sued. Thank you all for the advice.

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On 7/3/2018 at 2:58 PM, amftech512 said:

Insurance companies could use the data from this to give better rates to drivers with high reputations.

 

Basing insurance rates on unverified (and unverifiable) data collected from presumably anonymous users would likely violate insurance regs in most or all states.

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