CHICAGO (CBS) — Civil libertarians in Illinois have raised privacy concerns about a new tool being used by some police departments.
Automated license plate readers (ALPRs) consist of a camera used to scan the license plate of every passing car. That number then is recorded and stored indefinitely.READ MORE: Saint Joseph Catholic School Principal On Administrative Duty After Former Teacher Charged With Child Sex Crimes
For example, ALPRs are used on red light cameras to catch drivers running red lights, and are used by the Illinois Tollway to catch motorists who don’t pay tolls.
Adam Schwartz, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said he doesn’t object to certain uses of ALPRs, such as watching for a vehicle involved in a kidnapping.READ MORE: Across Illinois, Arab Americans Were Dying From COVID-19, But The Government Wasn’t Counting. Some Say That Cost Lives
“Of course, we don’t object to running the plates of passing cars, and seeing if the car going by is the AMBER Alert car everyone’s looking for,” he said.
However, the ACLU objects to unlimited use of the devices.
“What this is is a database of the comings and goings of millions of innocent Americans,” he said.MORE NEWS: South Side Entrepreneurs Reimagine Restaurant Business Into Retail During COVID-19 Pandemic
The ACLU has supported proposed legislation in Springfield that would restrict how and when ALPRs could be used, and how long the data could be stored.