aclu-logo

Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Police Documents on License Plate Scanners Reveal Mass Tracking Across the Country

17 July 2013 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist

Automatic license plate readers are the most widespread location tracking technology you’ve probably never heard of. Mounted on patrol cars or stationary objects like bridges, they snap photos of every passing car, recording their plate numbers, times, and locations. At first the captured plate data was used just to check against lists of cars law enforcement hoped to locate for various reasons (to act on arrest warrants, find stolen cars, etc.). But increasingly, all of this data is being fed into massive databases that contain the location information of many millions of innocent Americans stretching back for months or even years.