License Plate Readers and Your Privacy

Friday, August 24, 2012


License Plate Reader (AFP/Getty)

Police car mounted license plate readers collect date, time and location information and are used by law enforcement around the country to help catch criminals. But when Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Eric Roper filed a freedom of information request for information on his own car, he got a lot more than he bargained for. Bob talks to Roper about how Minneapolis police and agencies across the country deal with this potentially sensitive location information.

Four Tet - Pinnacle

Vic Chesnutt - Degenerate 




Eric Roper

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [3]

Will Caxton

Unless I misunderstood, Mr Garfield seems to be setting up a false dichotomy: either we are in favor of government transparency (meaning anyone can see their records of license plates, times, and locations); or we favor preserving privacy (by restricting the information to authorized persons). If governments weren't gathering this information in the first place, there'd be no need to decide how to control access. The possibility of catching some people with unpaid parking tickets or the occasional felon does not, in my opinion, constitute a compelling government need sufficient to justify collecting this information on every vehicle on the road. Ideally, they wouldn't scan the license plates at all; failing that, the information shouldn't be stored.

Aug. 29 2012 10:19 PM
Chris K. from Santa Clara, CA

Wonder what resources there are to find out what the law is in a particular state regarding this?

I'm SURE there will be lawsuits and this will be resolved at the Supreme Court at some point. But in the meantime, I'm curious what the legal status of such things is in my home state.

Aug. 29 2012 06:17 PM
Pal Lorencz

"Those who will give up freedom for security deserve neither" ~ Ben Franklin

Aug. 27 2012 04:35 AM

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