Automatic License Plate Readers: effective crime tool, or invasion of privacy?

On Tuesday the Franklin Common Council will consider a request from the police department to purchase four (4) Automatic License Plate Reader camera systems which was approved in the 2022 Budget, for $26,400. The purpose of the readers according to the manufacturer is to gather evidence that could be used in a lawful criminal or other law violation by the appropriate government agency.

Rachel Levinson-Waldman is managing director of the Liberty & National Security program at the Brennan Center for Justice. She said this technology differs from cameras that can catch motorists in speed traps or running red lights because ALPR isn’t designed for issuing tickets.

“Basically what they do is literally scan a car’s license plate, they log the date and the time of each scan, the license plate letters and numbers, the GPS coordinates — so there’s that location information — and then pictures of the car. That’s then fed back into a database, and most typically would be compared against a hot list. So that could include anything from stolen cars [to] Amber Alerts to outstanding warrants depending on the policy of the police department and any state law that comes into play,” she told Marketplace.

I’m all for our police. My many years of blogging document my support. Still…

In September of 2017 I wrote about concerns. You can read the blog here.

And just how effective are Automatic License Plate Readers? Read more in Bloomberg.com.

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