For months now, we’ve been following the rapid expansion of license plate readers across America. The growth is fueled by federal law enforcement grants that allow for such data to be instantly shared with federal authorities. We’ve published stories showing how people crossing the US-Mexico border are routinely subject to license plate scans, which is in turn, shared with insurance companies. An intrepid data scientist claimed to have found the location of Minneapolis’ stationary LPRs based on studying public records of the complete log file that he had requested. (Months later, the state law allowing for such access was changed.) As recently as March 2013, Piedmont, a rich Northern California town that is surrounded by Oakland, moved toward placing such devices at its entire city border with Oakland. On Monday, two Californian civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) in an attempt to compel these agencies to release a week’s worth of automated license plate reader (ALPR, or sometimes, LPR) data from August 2012. The non-profits claim that these agencies are required to do so under the California Public Records Act. In late July 2012, the American… Read full this story
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