San Jose Could Begin Putting Police Scanning Tech on Garbage Trucks

Taking away your trash and monitoring IDs on the same route.


Say this for the people who’ve turned America into a state of constant surveillance: they’re creative thinkers. San Jose, for instance, is wrestling with an imaginative solution to an imaginary problem even as we speak. Namely, why consign scanning devices to the cop cars when you have perfectly good garbage trucks going up and down the street every week, bare of criminal detection tools?

The San Jose Mercury News reports that its California hometown, the country’s 10th largest city, is looking into a proposal to outfit sanitation vehicles with license plate scanners.

“We can cover every street at least once a week and possibly deter thieves from coming into our city,” Councilman Johnny Khamis told the paper, missing an opportunity to add that this was a way the city could really “take out the trash” before putting on a pair of aviator sunglasses.

The usual privacy concerns have been raised, because some people aren’t super-keen on being routinely monitored for no specific reason. The ACLU worries that regular scans could be used to develop maps of travel patterns, and personal information like which church you attend, but really that’s information the police cars — outfitted with the same tech — could already be collecting. But being the first city to expand law enforcement tech to non-law enforcement vehicles is a distinction that’s waiting for someone to claim. The future belongs to smart trash.

Related Tags