Virginia Supreme Court ruling on license plates creates dangerous speed bumps for law enforcement

A license plate number would not be “personal information” because there is nothing about a license plate number that inherently “describes, locates or indexes anything about an individual.” Without something connecting the license plate number to an individual, it is just a combination of letters and numbers that does not describe, locate or index anything about anyone.

The Roanoke Times - Virginia Supreme Court ruling on license plates creates dangerous speed bumps for law enforcement

The Roanoke Times – Virginia Supreme Court ruling on license plates creates dangerous speed bumps for law enforcement

A license plate number would not be “personal information” because there is nothing about a license plate number that inherently “describes, locates or indexes anything about an individual.” Without something connecting the license plate number to an individual, it is just a combination of letters and numbers that does not describe, locate or index anything about anyone.

American Prospect – As License Plate Tracking Increases, Privacy Advocates Press for More Regulation

American Prospect – As License Plate Tracking Increases, Privacy Advocates Press for More Regulation

“A license plate identifies a car, not a driver,” says Steve DelBianco, head of NetChoice, an e-commerce trade organization. “If you read a plate of a car driving by, you don’t have a prayer of determining who owns the car or who’s driving it.” He adds, “When the LPR data is kept in private hands, it’s only revealed when the government is pursuing an official investigation.”

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Governor’s veto puts Virginians’ safety first

Historically, the Commonwealth of Virginia has been tough on crime and placed a priority on the safety and well-being of its citizens. Virginia has strict laws regarding violent offenses like burglary, murder and sexual assault — without placing a statute of limitations on investigators and prosecutors trying to solve these crimes.

Virginia’s record of protecting its citizens continued when Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently vetoed legislation that would have greatly diminished the ability for Virginia law enforcement to solve crimes.

Senate Bill 965 and House Bill 1673 would have placed extreme limits on the ability of Virginia law enforcement to use all the tools available to serve and protect Virginians. The bills restricted law-enforcement use of license-plate-reader (LPR) data that is more than 7 days old — meaning any criminal investigation that is more than a week old will be much harder to pursue and prosecute.

READ MORE at Richmond Times Dispatch

As You Were Saying . . . Mass. driving to extremes

As You Were Saying…Mass. driving to extremes

As the national debate over license plate readers reaches consensus on an approach that protects privacy and safety concerns alike, Massachusetts has veered down a radical path by considering a new bill that would sidetrack cops and severely weaken technology that saves lives and protects communities.

This bill does nothing to strengthen or safeguard Registry of Motor Vehicle databases or in any way ensure that they are being used effectively for purposes allowed under existing federal privacy protections.

Instead, the bill borrows heavily from an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) draft in banning private collection of license plate data and drastically limiting how long police can store license plate images.

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Boston Herald – As You Were Saying . . . Mass. driving to extremes

Boston Herald – As You Were Saying . . . Mass. driving to extremes

As the national debate over license plate readers reaches consensus on an approach that protects privacy and safety concerns alike, Massachusetts has veered down a radical path by considering a new bill that would sidetrack cops and severely weaken technology that saves lives and protects communities.

This bill does nothing to strengthen or safeguard Registry of Motor Vehicle databases or in any way ensure that they are being used effectively for purposes allowed under existing federal privacy protections.

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Californians Overwhelmingly Support Use of License Plate Readers and Their Ability to Solve Crimes, New Survey Finds

The majority of Californians agree that license plate reader (LPR) technology helps law enforcement solve crimes and any restrictions on who can photograph license plates would be unacceptable, according to a new poll conducted by Zogby Analytics and commissioned by Vigilant Solutions. 

The poll of 800 California residents (with a margin of error of +/- 3.5%), conducted during the first week in April, showed overwhelming support for the benefits of LPR technology and disdain for government limits on personal and corporate photography.

By more than a 6:1 margin, California residents said that they believe that license plate recognition technology helps to solve crimes.  Read more

Doubling Down on Wrong: Massachusetts and LPR Legislation

As the weight of public opinion, legislation and expert analysis swings nationally in the direction of common-sense policy for license plate recognition technology, Massachusetts is digging in its heels, doubling down on an extreme, unconstitutional measure that will hamstring technology and undermine safety in exchange for no tangible benefit.

In the wake of the Snowden revelations, privacy extremists saw a unique opportunity to demonize a popular, widely-used technology that had never before been controversial in mainstream circles. Conjuring images of mass surveillance and tracking, the ACLU successfully prodded several states to introduce legislation to curb the use of license plate recognition (LPR) technology.

White House Technologists Say Focus on Use

But in the past six months, a funny thing has happened. As technologists, law enforcement, and legal experts began to explain what license plate recognition technology actually does (as opposed to what the ACLU baselessly claims it could do in some dystopian future) the national discussion has shifted away from hard-line restrictions on LPR and toward a balanced approach which focuses on access controls (i.e. logging who has accessed the data and for what purpose) and best practices in database security to ensure the protection stored LPR data. Read more

Bloomberg on License Plate Readers – “IRS Among Agencies Using License Plate-Tracking Vendor”

Bloomberg – “IRS Among Agencies Using License Plate Tracking Vendor

NetChoice, a Washington-based trade association that represents e-commerce businesses, is concerned that groups opposing the tools offer “no recognition at all of the benefits of license plate recognition in stopping crime or saving lives,” said Steve DelBianco, its executive director.

Companies that collect the data or sell the technology have strict guidelines about who can obtain records, he said.

“Our governments require us to display a plate on our cars, visible on the front and back in public, for a reason,” DelBianco said in a phone interview. “A lot of the concern is a knee-jerk reaction to Snowden revelations.”

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Money News – “IRS Among Agencies Using License Plate-Tracking Vendor”

Money News – “IRS Among Agencies Using License Plate-Tracking Vendor

NetChoice, a Washington-based trade association that represents e-commerce businesses, is concerned that groups opposing the tools offer “no recognition at all of the benefits of license plate recognition in stopping crime or saving lives,” said Steve DelBianco, its executive director.

Companies that collect the data or sell the technology have strict guidelines about who can obtain records, he said.

“Our governments require us to display a plate on our cars, visible on the front and back in public, for a reason,” DelBianco said in a phone interview. “A lot of the concern is a knee-jerk reaction to Snowden revelations.”

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