Incident 248: Automated License Plate Camera Notified Police about a Previously Stolen Rental Car that was Returned, Causing an Innocent Person to be Detained at Gunpoint in California

Description: In Oakland, a previously stolen rental car that was returned but allegedly not updated in the police database was pinged by an automated license plate reader (ALPR) camera, leading to police’s wrongful detainment of an innocent person reportedly using excessive force and improper conduct.


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Alleged: Vigilant Solutions developed an AI system deployed by Contra Costa County Sheriff, which harmed Brian Hofer.

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Khoa Lam
Privacy advocate sues CoCo sheriff's deputies after license plate readers target his car stolen · 2019

SAN PABLO, Calif. (KTVU) - Brian Hofer has worked for the last half decade on defending citizens’ rights to privacy and creating tighter oversight surrounding the use of mass surveillance techniques and technology.

As chair of Oakland’s Pri…

When License-Plate Surveillance Goes Horribly Wrong · 2019

Brian Hofer and his brother were on their way home from a Thanksgiving visit, headed toward Oakland, Calif., on Interstate 80 when he saw the flashing lights. Police officers directed him off the highway and into a shopping center. That’s a…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.