WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

ACLU Calls For Transparency On License Plate Readers

Play associated audio

Law enforcement agencies say license plate recognition systems increase public safety, but American Civil Liberties Union affiliates from 35 states, including Virginia and Maryland, are raising questions about what the devices mean for privacy.

The ACLU is asking police and state agencies to better explain how they use automatic license plate readers.

"The concern is that tracking peoples' location may reveal private things about their lives, such as what friends, doctors, protests, political events or churches they visit," says Rebecca Glenberg, the legal director of the ACLU of Virginia. Glenberg says another concern is that the data may be stored indefinitely.

"We recognize that this technology can be legitimately used for narrowly tailored law enforcement purposes like identifying vehicles that are stolen or involved in a crime," she adds.

The ACLU also sent information requests to the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Transportation for information on how the federal government funds and uses information collected by the license plate readers.

Law enforcement agencies say the devices are a useful tool in enhancing public safety.



'Steve Jobs': As Ambitious As Its Title Character

Danny Boyle's new biopic, Steve Jobs, is a look at the man who made Apple mean computers, not fruit. NPR film critic Bob Mondello says it's an invigorating story told in three acts of crisis.

Could A Mushroom Save The Honeybee?

The bees that pollinate crops are on the brink of collapse. One big reason why: a virus-carrying mite. Now, researchers think a rare fungi could boost bees' immune system and attack the mite itself.

'Quartet' Member: Nobel Peace Prize Is 'Very Important For Tunisia'

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Wided Bouchamaoui, president of the Tunisian Employers' Union, and a member of the National Dialogue Quartet in Tunisia, about winning the Nobel Peace Prize Friday.

Volkswagen Faces Uphill Battle In Repairing Tarnished Reputation

Volkswagen faces two enormous repair jobs: fixing its polluting diesel cars and its battered reputation. Both may be much harder to fix than anything other scandal-plagued car companies have faced.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.