A joint lawsuit has been filed seeking to force the Los Angeles law enforcement authorities to release information collected by cameras that read license plates and can track the movements of millions of motorists.
The cameras – automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) – are on fixed locations, including stop lights, street signs and in squad cars. Each camera can record as many as 1,800 license plates per minute, and more than 160 million data points have been collected in Los Angeles County, according to Fox News.
Critics of the program say it give authorities a huge database on the comings and goings of ordinary citizens.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a suit for the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to release records from the week of Aug. 12, 2012. Both agencies provided some materials following California Public Records Act requests, but they did not disclose documents related to sharing information with other agencies.
The ALPR system used by the LA County Sheriff’s Department uses “hot lists” comprised of “user defined data that is manually input into the informational data file so that ALPR users will be alerted whenever a ‘vehicle of interest’ is located,” an internal directive cited in the lawsuit says.
The current use of “hot lists” includes AMBER alerts and vehicles associated with 290 sex registrants.