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ACLU Demands License Plate Reader Data

July 31, 2012  | 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland (ACLU) on Monday requested information about how law enforcement agencies use data compiled by automatic license plate readers, according to a release from the group.

The ACLU's national office and affiliates in 38 states made similar requests Monday.

In Maryland, law enforcement agencies are using more than 320 ALPRs that are linked to the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC), Maryland's "fusion center," where the data is stored.

"Automatic license plate readers make it possible for the police to track our location whenever we drive our cars and to store that information forever," said Catherine Crump, an ACLU staff attorney. "The American people have a right to know whether our police departments are using these tools in a limited and responsible manner, or whether they are keeping records of our movements for months or years for no good reason."

The readers are used in a variety of ways, from helping law enforcement officials to yank dangerous criminals from the state's streets to assisting police in locating missing or lost children or elderly people, reports the Baltimore Sun.

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Frank @ 7/31/2012 6:50 PM

Technology is great except when it is abused if this story is true. I don't like being watched and I do not support traffic cameras or crusier cams either. Years ago when I was young and dumb we would pull over in a deserted area to urinate now if caught you could possibly end up on the Sex Offenders Registry list in my state. The good old days are gone but not forgotten!

DPB @ 7/31/2012 8:07 PM

I would like to know why the ACLU does not care about anything but leftist causes. They never do anything regarding the infringement of 2nd amendment rights. Why not?

I have no respect for those worhless lawyers whom work at the ACLU and undermine the Constitution and this country.

They are as bad as the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPL folks also never met a right wing group or police group they could like and respect.

I just hope when the communist revolution comes to this country they follow Shakespeare's adage regarding the ultimate fate of all the lawyers.

DaveSAM25G @ 7/31/2012 10:13 PM

First off I am no lawyer but I do study and keep up on these issues. There is both pro-con feeling in this area and there have been many successes in use also like any tool! I think the most prudent thing for anyone to do is educate yourself on this subject. This push is a result of a technology for liberty project ACLU push out of the state of Massachusetts and an in-turn letter dated July 30, 2012 to DOJ Freedom of Information request (public letter). Any collection of information is always a concern for usage, privacy, and protection and requires that there are directive is to establish a uniform policy and procedure for the use of automatic license plate readers (ALPR). These issues have been addressed at the national level by law enforcement in 2009: IACP 2009-Privacy impact assessment report for the utilization of license plate readers. Does everyone agree with this tool perspective? Of course not, we all have rights to either agree or disagree (American Way)...There is also room in every profession for differing "(Opinions and Constructive Disagreement)." I do not agree with ACLU on this take but if I feel this was something afoot with my information I as an end user would address on my own behalf...Remember information is collected on everyone by banks, your work, SSA, Government for benefits, VA, etc...I do agree protection in control of and I do agree protection in control of all information of mine is vital and it starts with each “individual”, not ACLU or anyone else!A police writer whom I have learned a great deal from is (Devallis Rutledge) Response to a callout and response to we need to base it on law as written and approved with case law both federal and state. You left off a few items like - Plainview, expectation to privacy, public vs. private areas which are reasonably expected to hold the 4th amendment action...If you stood in your front yard buck naked do you have an expectation of privacy?

Teddy @ 8/1/2012 9:11 AM

Who cares what data they're collecting? If you are a law abiding person you have nothing to worry about. It's the 10% or so of society that needs to be locked up forever. We only have 2 million people in prison. I think this number should be around 30 to 35 million. Building more prisons creates jobs and keeps the 10% of low life scumbags in the big house. Think of how much better and safer this country would be if we put 28 million more criminals in prison for long periods of time?

[email protected] @ 8/1/2012 11:08 PM

If you truly believe that "Big Brother" can't track your ass anytime they want then your still waiting for Elvis to come out of hidding. ALPRs' are a great tool that can keep an Officer out of harms way. It's nice to know the car in front of you at a traffic signal isn't running from a scene. Keep safe and alert.

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