Friday, April 24, 2015

Bryant Jackson-Green ― Proposed rules for license-plate tracking balance privacy with effective law enforcement

Privacy advocates have been voicing concerns about automated license-plate readers, which are increasingly used by law enforcement to track drivers’ location via their license plates. These license-plate trackers are small cameras strategically placed on signs, police cars or other objects and can photograph thousands of license plates per minute. With enough cameras, law enforcement can effectively track the location of a given car across long distances.

Being such a powerful tool, this technology could be misused without clear rules limiting how police use them or how long police store the information.

In an effort to prevent abuse, state Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, has introduced a bill regulating how the trackers can be used. The bill, HB 3289, would limit law-enforcement usage of automated license-plate readers to toll, traffic and parking enforcement, as well as ongoing criminal investigations.