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Sensors detect neighbourhood visitors

A developer has created a special sensor that tells people who is driving in their neighbourhood.

Flock, a start up company, has created a special device which is available for houses for $50 a year. It works by taking the number plate of every car that enters a particular street as well as taking a picture.

Garret Langley, chief executive and co-founder of Flock, said: "An unfortunate individual drove into one of our [monitored] neighbourhoods. He put a nice road bike in the back of his car, and drove off with both the window down and the trunk open. Not only do we have footage of his licence plate, we have a picture of his face and a picture of the bike in the back."

Residents of the streets being checked are allowed to opt out of being tracked and logged but those who visit are not able to opt out.

Flock insists the data would only be passed on to "neighbourhood leaders" and could be used to provide evidence for crimes committed in the area. It has already led to one person being convicted.

Albert Gidari, director of privacy at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, added to BBC News: "One of the great weaknesses in US privacy law is that we only protect against intrusions into private areas, not public spaces. Public roads through neighbourhoods, licence plates, pedestrians on public sidewalks etc all are fair game."

The devices are currently being trialled in seven locations near Atlanta, Georgia.

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