The US Justice Department has been covertly gathering and storing hundreds of millions of records about American motorists for a national database, The Wall Street Journal reported. The database can track the movements of vehicles across the country.
Government documents, as well as former and current government officials, confirmed to the Journal that the license plate-tracking program was initially used by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to seize cars, money, and other assets associated with drug trafficking. Use of the database has grown, however, to include hunting for vehicles linked to other possible crimes, including kidnapping, killings, and rape.
Additionally, state and local law enforcement agencies are increasingly using it for a variety of investigations.