I was thinking about putting an automated license plate logger near my mail box to track in-and-out movement of vehicles. It would have timestamps and license plate numbers. I just thought it'd be interesting to see what patterns emerge, and, you never know, having a log like this could prove valuable in certain circumstances. Just wondering, however, if what I'm thinking about doing is legal. These data wouldn't be published.

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    Update: I've been doing this for over a month now, and my 60+ year old neighbors go out and come back on average about 10 times a day, every day, every week... Kinda curious.
    – user11352
    Sep 8, 2017 at 19:33
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    Update: Turns out they own a couple rentals in town, so they're not the drug dealing money launderers I was hoping they were (joke). ^_^
    – user11352
    Sep 13, 2017 at 1:30

1 Answer 1


You can basically take pictures of anything from your property if it is "public" (i.e. easily visible from your property). People on the road are in public, and have no reasonable expectation of privacy. The basic restrictions on photography are (1) you cannot trespass (you aren't), and (2) you cannot take pictures of certain government operations (e.g. airport border crossing – certain aspects of government prohibition may require lawsuit to rein in government policy that is at odds with the 1st Amendment; also secret military installations, for which there is specific law, 18 USC 795). Commercial exploitation of people who you photograph is strongly protected in California, and that is it.

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