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Lumina News: WBPD complies with ACLU concerns

From the Lumina News (7/24/13): With the release of results from the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina’s public records requests from the 11 law enforcement agencies currently using Automated License Plate Recognition Systems, ACLU of N.C. communications director Mike Meno said the organization hopes to inform citizens about the relatively new technology.

“Like with a lot of new technology we have privacy concerns about it because it is still so new and the public is so unfamiliar with it that there is literally zero legislation for how these systems can be used,” Meno said by telephone on July 22. “There are no safeguards for privacy, there are no limits to how long police can keep the data, what they can use it for or who they can share it with.”

The specialized ALPRS cameras can be mounted on patrol cars or any other apparatus to read the license plate numbers of passing cars. Each plate read is crosschecked with police databases for vehicles that are stolen or involved in some other crime.

However, the ACLU of N.C. has discovered that a vast majority of the plates read are those of daily commuters. In one year the High Point Police Department’s ALPRS read 70,000 plates and positive hits to vehicles involved in crimes only made up 0.08 percent of that total, Meno said.

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Colin Donohue,
7/25/2013 10:50 AM