Bill Threatens to Outlaw ALPR in California

Sacramento, CA – March 22, 2012 – If California State Senator Joe Simitian (D- Palo Alto) has his way, ALPR data will only be allowed to be retained for  60 days by law enforcement and will not be made available to anyone except law enforcement in the state of California. The bill is set for hearing on March 27, 2012. The impact of this could cost repossession companies statewide hundreds of thousands of dollars in worthless camera gear if passed.

Simitian’s SB 1330, was written under the belief that the gathering and storage of license plate data by law enforcement is a violation of public privacy, but cleverly wrote in a subsection making it illegal to provide ALPR gathered data to anyone outside of law enforcement.

Read the entire bill here!

2413.7. (a) A person, other than a state and local law enforcement agency, shall comply with all statutory and constitutional requirements and subdivision (b) when using license plate recognition (LPR) technology. As used in this section, a “person” has the same meaning as defined in Section 470.
(b) A person who uses LPR technology shall comply with all of the following:
(1) The person shall retain license plate data captured by LPR technology for not more than 60 days.
(2) The person shall not sell LPR data for any purpose and shall not make the data available to an agency or person that is not a law enforcement agency or an individual who is not a law enforcement officer.

In reference to the definition of “Person” in California Vehicle Code 470. “Person” includes a natural person, firm, copartnership, association, limited liability company, or corporation.” Amended Ch. 1010, Stats. 1994. Effective January 1, 1995.

Simitian reported in an interview that he believes there is a critical distinction between consumers who voluntarily choose to turn over private information to Internet companies like Facebook and technologies that quietly collect information on drivers.

Senator Simitian also helped hammer out the guidelines in place for the highway patrol and said balancing privacy protections enshrined in the state’s constitution with the tools police need to improve public safety is part of the legislative process. “I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive,” Simitian said.

Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital and privacy rights group based in San Francisco, said it’s “a good attempt at beginning to address the issue.” The foundation reportedly plans to support the legislation.

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