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Why Are License Plates Blurred in Some Pictures?

It’s not uncommon to see license plates blurred in the picture. We live in a day and age where you can’t be too careful about important information.

But why are people blurring license plates in pictures, and should you be doing it too?

We dug in to find the answers.

Let’s get started!

What Are License Plates?

License plates are the identifying feature of a vehicle registered by a state Department of Motor Vehicles. A license plate can help identify stolen cars and for law enforcement to search their various databases to locate anyone with warrants or other legal issues.

The plate numbers typically use a combination of letters and numbers, which typically cannot exceed seven. In many states, drivers can pay an additional fee for personalized plates. This can allow them to include their name or show some of their personality while driving their vehicle down the road.

Can You Find a Vehicle Owner by License Plates?

It is possible to find a vehicle’s owner using the information printed on a license plate. However, you’ll likely not have much luck unless you involve law enforcement. Many online services are happy to take your money and promise to do their best, but they often fail to deliver the intended information.

A state’s Department of Motor Vehicles keeps its information extraordinarily secure and protected. You’ll need to show and provide legal reasoning for needing access to the data. There’s almost zero chance that law enforcement will hand over the name and address of someone.

For all they know, you could be a crazy person looking for the bonehead that cut you off in traffic on the way to work this morning. 

Why Are License Plates Blurred in Some Pictures?

There are various reasons why someone might blur out their license plates in a picture, especially if they’re posting it online. A blurred license plate can make it next to impossible to identify a vehicle and look up personal information about the owner.

Let’s look at a handful of situations where it might be a good idea to blur out your license plate in a picture.

Protect Your Vehicle from Theft

Many people like to show off the modifications they’ve made to their vehicles. Whether it’s giant rims, fancy lights, or other components, upgrades can increase the value, performance, and look of a car or truck. In addition, it may make your vehicle more appealing to a thief.

If someone up to no good can access sensitive information, they could come looking for your vehicle. Whether they want to steal a part or the whole thing will depend on the situation and the circumstances. As a result, it doesn’t hurt to blur out your license plates when posting pictures of your fancy ride.

Stalkers and Privacy

If you’re old enough to read this, you’re likely old enough to know that people can sometimes be straight-up crazy. For one reason or another, they could become obsessed with you or someone in your family. Thanks to the internet, privacy has become non-existent, and stalkers can be hundreds or thousands of miles away.

If these seedy individuals can gain access to your address or other personal information, they could stop by for a visit the next time they’re in town. Typically, stalkers are unstable and up to no good. If you don’t want any unexpected guests stopping by your house, it’s worth blurring out your license plate information.

Evade Issues with Law Enforcement

Law enforcement will typically investigate situations when they’re made aware of someone breaking the law. If someone posts a picture or video of them breaking the law online, blurring out the information can help them evade legal issues with law enforcement. 

However, depending on the severity of the crime, law enforcement has access to some pretty sophisticated software and databases. They’re not going to deploy all of them for every minor violation of the law, but in serious criminal investigations, they’ll deploy them to track down criminals.

Avoid Trouble with Insurance Company

Insurance companies can look for any reason to deny a claim, especially if it costs them a tremendous amount of money. Blurring out your license plate can help to conceal your identity and make it harder for insurance companies to cause you trouble. 

For example, one YouTuber had his policy canceled because the insurance company found his channel. The provider stated he voided his coverage by doing a DIY conversion for his van and living in it while traveling full-time.

We’re not saying you should hide information or commit insurance fraud. But, this situation could have easily been avoided had the YouTuber concealed his identity.

How to Find a Vehicle’s Owner by License Plates

There are some ways to find a vehicle’s owner using their license plate legally. However, you’ll need a logical reason or explanation as to why you need the information. Most paid online services require you to provide the reasoning and the legal backing for requesting the data.

If you have a logical and legal reason for needing the information, you’ll likely have no problems involving law enforcement. They’ll be able to provide tremendous help to resolve the issue.

Are There Apps to Blur a License Plate?

Many apps can help you blur your license plates in pictures whether you’re team Apple or Android. However, some are better than others, and the editing feature on your phone is likely just as good as any of these apps. Simply drawing a colored line over your license plate or any sensitive information will do the trick.

When you install apps on your phone, they’ll require specific permissions from your phone. Giving an untrustworthy app access to your phone can be just as dangerous as displaying your license plates online. So make sure you can trust what apps you’re installing on your phone.

Should You Blur Out License Plates in Photos?

In general, blurring out your license plate in photos isn’t a bad idea. We’re not hearing stories of people being tracked down and harmed due to pictures of their license plates online. But it’s not unimaginable. Privacy and safety are two things that you cannot take too seriously.

Once you’re familiar with the process, blurring out license plates in photos will only take a few seconds. It’s certainly better to err on the side of caution. Don’t you think?

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