JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (March 21, 2016) – Last week, a Missouri Senate Committee held a hearing on a bill that would place imitations on the storage and sharing of information collected by automated license plate readers (ALPRs) by law enforcement in the state. Based on the testimony, it seem the bill has enough support to move forward.
Senate Bill 1040 (SB1040) was discussed during a March 16 hearing conducted by the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee.
The bill will now need to be scheduled for an executive session, where it can be voted on.
Introduced by Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit), the bill would place significant roadblocks in the way of a federal program using states to help track the location of millions of everyday people through pictures of their license plates.
The legislation would bar the storage of data collected by automatic license plate readers for more than 30 days without one of the following.
- A court-approved preservation request
- A published law enforcement organization policy
- A warrant
Kraus said he would prefer to completely ban the technology.
“I’m not a fan of collecting data on citizens that have done nothing wrong,” Kraus said. “If it was up to me, I would ban these, but law enforcement agencies would block the bill.”
According to an AP report, police lobbyists are not opposing the legislation. David McCracken, a lobbyist for the Police Chiefs Association called it a fair compromise during the hearing.
“We’re not thrilled about it, however we understand that there needs to be a balance,”he said.
This tacit approval by law enforcement should help the bill move forward.
Under the proposed bill, law enforcement organization policy must limit access to captured plate data to detectives and automated license plate reader system auditors after the initial 30-day period, prohibit access to such captured plate data by all other law enforcement officers after the initial 30-day period, restrict access to criminal justice purpose only, and require destruction of any information after one year unless a court grants a preservation request.
SB1040 bars the sharing of ALPR data with any federal agency without a warrant or a court-approved preservation request, or if exigent circumstances exist. The proposed law would completely prohibit routine sharing of ALPR information with the feds.
Any information preserved in violation of the law would be inadmissible in any trial, hearing or legal proceeding.
Passage of SB1040 would prevent the state from creating permanent databases using information collected by ALPRs, and would make it highly unlikely that such data would end up in federal databases.
IMPACT ON FEDERAL PROGRAMS
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the federal government, via the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) tracks the location of millions of vehicle. They’ve engaged in this for nearly eight years, all without a warrant, or even public notice of the policy.
State and local law enforcement agencies operate most of these tracking systems, paid for by federal grant money. The DEA then taps into the local database to track the whereabouts of millions of people – for the simple act of driving – without having to operate a huge network itself.
Since a majority of federal license plate tracking data comes from state and local law enforcement, passage of SB1040 would take a major step toward blocking that program from continuing in Missouri. The feds can’t access data that doesn’t exist.
“No data means no federal license plate tracking program,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.
Law enforcement generally configures ALPRs to store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location of vehicles. But according to newly disclosed records obtained by the ACLU via a Freedom of Information Act request, the DEA is also captures photographs of drivers and their passengers.
In Missouri: take all the steps to support this bill at THIS LINK.
All other states, start at THIS LINK.
Michael Maharrey contributed to this report.