Computer vision-assisted license plate reading seems to be a favorite spectre of a certain sort of privacy worrier, at least anecdotally speaking. Something to do with its potential for tracking and profiling an activity that seems to make Americans in particular feel their most, uh, liberated (driving cars).
The technology has had a steady uptake among law enforcement agencies, who of course think it’s wondertool for busting crimes, but now an open-source implementation is starting to make some waves in the developer world and beyond. This is OpenALPR, and, as Mike James notes at I-Programmer, it’s not a new thing but is getting some new attention in the wake of a recent code release. LPR is here for the masses and it’s incredibly easy to use.