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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5 thoughts on “Bill Threatens to Outlaw ALPR in California

  1. CAN ANYONE GIVE ANY EXPLANATION AS TO WHY ANYONE WOULD NEED THIS KIND OF INFO ABOUT LITERALLY ANYONE WITH A CAR?? Oh, AND IF YOU SAY IT HAS ANYTHING THAT EVEN REMOTELY RELATES TO “911” YOU’RE A F@#!ING TOOL!! My stance is that NOBODY, individual or entity, needs to know or should have the ability to know EVERYTHING about ANYONE and EVERYONE at ANY TIME. Then again, society in general doesn’t want privacy anymore. The younger generation can’t even grasp the concept of it. This program IS NOT OBJECTIVE and it is certainly NOT HARMLESS. I’m going to give an example here and I hope you’ll take some time away from your simple lives to consider it. How many of you drink alcohol RESPONSIBLY (e.g. roughly 3 pints over 3 hours at a dinner gathering)? You know damn well that you are physically and mentally capable of driving by the time you leave. On your way home at 9:30, you run into a “LICENSE/Sobriety Checkpoint” that was so incognito that upon approach, it looked like an after hours road construction area; no warning signs, no warning lights, no marked vehicles in plain sight, and a single portable upright floodlight that was set up in a spot where all you could see was a faint glow until you were already trapped inside the coned off area. Now after well over a minute into conversation with the sheriff deputy, she has asked you to exit the vehicle because even after all this time, she just can’t seem to be able to tell if you’re sober or not, because she doesn’t know if the smell of alcoholic beverage is coming from you or your only passenger (not because you have displayed objective signs of intoxication!! In fact, she realizes after all the FST’s, that you show no signs of intoxication that would even merit a breath test (let alone an arrest), but since you’re already out of the car, she might as well do what it takes to arrest you. Believe me, the police report is a real piece of work). Longest story ever short; now you are charged with a DUI (even though the police report doesn’t hold water and theres no way the checkpoint was legit) and the DMV is suspending your license for 30 days. Now there’s no way in hell you can suspend your life for 30 days, so you still need to drive yourself to work and school between the hours of 6 AM and 12:40 AM. The motto in this situation used to be “Just don’t do anything stupid to draw attention to yourself”, but thanks to the “added safety” of having ALPR around, your license suspension info is available immediately when an officer mozies in behind you for any or no reason at all. Now you’re F@#KED by the Go Go Gaget Arm of the law once again! You don’t have to get caught doing something wrong anymore. They simply expect that you’re probably maybe doing something wrong, without REASON, JUSTICE, or OBJECTIVITY, so you’re now made to incriminate yourself; whether voluntary or not. Or in the case of ALPR, law enforcement has the capability to instantaneously do all the incrimination for you. HOW F@CKING THOUGHTFUL OF THEM!! OH!, and the checkpoint tactic is still being sold to the public as a deterrent. If that were true, the number of arrests related to DUI should be on a steady decline. The reality is nothing has changed, but the revenue generated sure is impressive… Don’t worry, this is for your benefit.

  2. Lee , you are correct we should ALL unite and fight, but for years our industry only seems to CRY about things after it changes. To the other states that may feel that it is not your fight! IF CALIFORNIA adopts it , you can bet it will move to your state as well.
    Scott, I agree this JOE guy is fighting a fight that we all have already lost to technology! This is just life. There are hundreds of cameras taking pictures of us daily and this is now just a way of life. GOOGLE/ YOUTUBE both post pictures from public places daily that RECOGNIZE license plates that are some form or fashion monetary gain. Maybe we need GOOGLE/YOUTUBE to join our fight for our LPR rights as this could also affect pictures that they store.
    This JOE guy contradicts himself as far as fighting for our privacy rights, how can you dictate what we do with pictures in PUBLIC view from my private camera?
    Those of you that have not joined the LPR network will wish that you had fought this bill to keep some control of our industry as the old repo a car at the given address is almost a MYTH.
    I personally believe that the more LPR cameras in the world the better, not just for recovery for safety and national security. There have been documented cases where non law enforcement REPO AGENTS have captured plates of units used in crimes that never would have been solved. We all should privacy rights, but pictures in PUBLIC? if someone shoots me in public view and local PD only has the last registered address (NO GOOD) no leads all because they were able to store data for 60 days, I would hope that PD would post the story and plate and a REPO agent would provide PD the correct address for the shooter. I would have to wonder who this bill was really written to protect. We all know that PD does not scan the alleys and ghettos that we scan. I’m not saying to share data with law enforcement, just that our data can only help not hurt you, unless you are a DEBTOR driving for free or comitting crimes.
    The bill also kept mentioning that CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL can retain LPR data. To my knowledge CHP is the only Law enforcement that is not using LPR unless maybe at the truck scales. Why would you even limit CHP protecting our roads requesting they get a warrant to verify if a plate had issues over 60 plus days?
    why 60 days?
    Would the Bill require BANK ATM’S to not log a plate?
    Has anyone started to put info together letters, etc to address JOE SIMITIAN and the SENATE?

    If so please post contact info or any fights already started so that we can all join the fight to preserve our industry.

  3. If there was ever a cause to unite every organization in the industry, this would be that cause. Regardless of your affiliation, there are very few that can argue the benefits that LPR technology has brought to our industry.

  4. Man is this guy kidding? Private info? they are license plates,last I checked they are on all vehicles in plain sight. Now some feel good politico wants to protect peoples privacy. I suggest he look at GOOGLE Earth. Talk about invading privacy without consent. If you want to amuse yourself look at the Google Spoofs on the internet (call girls servicing and drug deals etc..)
    It is not a privacy issue, as the plate is plain for all to see. Utilizing technology to see where it was located is not invading any privacy.
    Scott Patterson

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