Automated License Plate Reader Legislation

The Senate Judiciary and Transportation committees heard legislation that would lay out guidelines for the retention of data gathered by law enforcement agencies through automated license plate readers. This has been a contentious issue dating back to the 2013 session. License plate readers take a picture of a license plate, convert the picture to text and compare the license plate number to law enforcement databases. If the vehicle owner is the subject of an active law enforcement investigation or if the vehicle has been reported as stolen, law enforcement is notified of the time and location of the vehicle. There are no guidelines in place covering when, where, or how the technology can be used, how long the data can be stored, or how the data is classified. In its current form, the bill says that police may store the data for up to 90 days to assist in criminal investigations. However, privacy advocates have argued that law enforcement should not store the data at all. The state as a whole lacks a clear standard on how long the data should be stored with different agencies adopting different standards.

STATUS: The bill is in the Finance Committee. (S.F. 86)

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