How rude is it to take a picture of someone's license plate?



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Phoros
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04 Aug 2010, 1:18 pm

My interest is license plates. I maintain a private photo collection of all the license plates in my neighborhood, and all the ones I can get outside of that area - I've never had any complaints, and when people ask me what I'm doing I tell them that I just really love license plates.
Recently, though, when I was taking a picture of the plate off a truck (which was, granted, parked across a driveway) someone, presumably the driver, asked me if I wanted them to move it. I used my standard reply, and he seemed to accept this. Still, I get the feeling that people are made uncomfortable by this behavior.
Feedback appreciated.



MONIQUEIJ
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04 Aug 2010, 1:30 pm

it may seem odd. but not rude


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TallyMan
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04 Aug 2010, 1:31 pm

Your interest may be viewed by people as an invasion of their privacy or as something a little sinister rather than being the innocent collection of plates. Not everyone may want the fact recorded that they are at a certain place too - so for example if you accidentally photo a drug dealers plates while he is making a drop you may walk into a whole heap of trouble if he spots you.


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04 Aug 2010, 2:11 pm

I don't think it is. If you were in a collision with them, you can take a photo of their plate so you can look at it later and give out their lisence number to the police. Or if you see them doing something they weren't supposed to be doing, you can do it and then call the police and give them their lisence number.



Asp-Z
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04 Aug 2010, 2:17 pm

It probably seems a bit weird unless it's a custom number plate, but hey :P



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04 Aug 2010, 2:41 pm

It's more of an identity issue. A license plate is a photo ID attached to the ass of people's cars.

Some people may get amused by turning the license plate number into the PD.

I wouldn't do it for amusement, but I admit I've fantasized about using people's plates to turn them into the PD for revenge. I'm on a bicycle so I have to put up with a lot of s**t (such as people literally putting their own lives in danger to flip a b***h in the middle of a moving intersection just to flip me off and cuss me out. Or pulling over to get out of their car and run at me, screaming threats at me when I so much as look at them).

^^^ That s**t really happens to me, including those two examples.


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Zara
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04 Aug 2010, 3:04 pm

It just makes people uncomftable. There's nothing illegal about it. Rights to privacy are limited in public spaces so people can photograph you, your vehicle or the outside of a business.

Although it is considered curteous to ask permission to take such photos.


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CowboyFromHell
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04 Aug 2010, 4:26 pm

Zara wrote:
It just makes people uncomftable. There's nothing illegal about it. Rights to privacy are limited in public spaces so people can photograph you, your vehicle or the outside of a business.

Although it is considered curteous to ask permission to take such photos.


On reality shows such as Cops and surprise camera shows and even talk shows, the license plates are censored.

I can understand that sometimes it's obviously impossible to take a picture of something without a stranger being in it if there's a lot of people (such as at a fair or arena), but what's the big deal about privacy regarding plates? They're (usually random) numbers and letters. You can get all kinds of information from someone's name and birthdate which you can find on a photo ID, but can you actually look up the owner's name with the plate code?


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Pistonhead
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04 Aug 2010, 4:28 pm

I would say it's considered an invasion of privacy. I myself censor my plate in every picture I take of the rear of my car.


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04 Aug 2010, 4:52 pm

Guilty as charged. I did it once because the letters on the licence plate were 'OCD'.



Zara
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04 Aug 2010, 5:17 pm

CowboyFromHell wrote:
Zara wrote:
It just makes people uncomftable. There's nothing illegal about it. Rights to privacy are limited in public spaces so people can photograph you, your vehicle or the outside of a business.

Although it is considered curteous to ask permission to take such photos.


On reality shows such as Cops and surprise camera shows and even talk shows, the license plates are censored.


I would assume that shows like COPS do that because the police are supposed to assume innocence before guilt is proven, plus they don't want to run the risk of anybody appearing on the show getting harassed and suing COPS, whether they were guilty or not. In such cases it's probably more about protecting the people depicted in the shows and protecting the show from potential liability.


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04 Aug 2010, 5:20 pm

I once took a picture of a novelty licence plate that read, "I'm not perfect...I'm British!"


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04 Aug 2010, 5:26 pm

It's the same as me taking pictures of scenery or animals. People just automatically assume the worst, and reject the idea that what they are seeing could be something innocent or simple. It's just the way people are, and it makes me somewhat glad that I'm not one of them. :P


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04 Aug 2010, 9:31 pm

i don't think that it's rude, but at the same time, it does seem rather odd.


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04 Aug 2010, 10:31 pm

I think it's natural for someone to feel threatened by a stranger taking a picture of their license plate. A license plate can be a gateway to a slew of other details about a person. My advice is - don't let anyone see you do it. The old adage 'what they don't know doesn't hurt them' applies here, I would say.



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