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Unblinking Eyes: License Plate Readers and Privacy

You may not have seen them, but they have seen you. And they have not forgotten. Automatic License Plate Readers began as a limited technology to collect unpaid parking tickets and locate stolen vehicles. But today they are rapidly becoming one of the most pervasive surveillance tools in the US. They monitor not specific individuals but all of us. The data they collect can be stored for years, and could well be used to reconstruct our movements many years from now—not only where we were going, but what we were doing and who we were with. The police argue that they can collect, store, share and analyze this information for any reason—or for no reason at all. In July 2012, ACLU affiliates around the country will file hundreds of public records requests to uncover how ALPRs are being used. Join an ACLU lawyer for a briefing on how the technology works, what we have learned about how the police are using it to monitor and record our movements, and what it means for our civil liberties.

Additional Supporting Materials

Questions Answered

  1. What are automatic license plate readers?
  2. How do local, state and federal law enforcement agents use license place readers to monitor Americans' movements?
  3. How is data from license plate users stored, shared and analyzed?
  4. What policies should be put in place to guard against misuse of this technology?
  5. How do license plate readers impact my privacy, and why should I care about them?

Speakers

Organizer

Catherine Crump American Civil Liberties Union


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