- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Police who capture information from drivers using license plate reading technology are wrongfully keeping hold of the data, and it’s becoming a civil rights and privacy nightmare, the ACLU said on Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a report, “You Are Being Tracked,” that most of the drivers scanned by police aren’t aware their information is being captured via tracking technology, United Press International reported. The group’s study covered 38 states and the District of Columbia.


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And moreover, most of the drivers who were scanned by police ended up being completely innocent of a crime, the ACLU said.

Police use the technology to help identify and locate stolen cars and drivers who have arrest warrants.


But the ACLU says the databases that are accruing at police stations around the nation can be tapped for a variety of non-related reasons – from tracking individuals’ movements to the doctor to trips to the liquor store, UPI said.

“The government doesn’t have a great track record of using this kind of information responsibly,” the ACLU said, UPI reported. “As our report details, the data can be abused for official purposes, like spying on protesters merely because they are exercising their constitutionally protected right to petition the government, or unofficial ones, like tracking an ex-spouse.”