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ACLU OF UTAH SEEKS INFORMATION ON UTAH POLICE AGENCIES’
LICENSE PLATE DATA COLLECTION
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY— Today, on the eve of one of the busiest driving weekends of the year, the ACLU of Utah sent GRAMA requests to the Utah Highway Patrol, the Ogden City Police Department, and the Iron County Sheriff's Office seeking information about their use of automated license plate recognition ("ALPR") technology.
During this year's interim session of the Utah Legislature, the Beaver County Sheriff sought authorization for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to use ALPR technology on certain parts of I-15. According to the sheriff, the DEA intends to capture and record the license plate of every vehicle passing along those stretches of I-15 and to store that information for two years. At the hearing on this request, it was revealed that the UHP, Ogden, and Iron County appear to already be using ALPR technology. Using such technology raises concerns about how captured license plate information is being used, protected and stored. Past experience shows that the purposes for which police use data tend to expand over time, and many such uses raise significant threats to our privacy.
“We find it troubling that we had not heard about these agencies using this technology until after it was implemented.” said John Mejia, Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah. “In a state that values privacy like we do in Utah, we feel that the public should have input into the question of when and how ALPR is used here.” Through today's requests, the ACLU of Utah will bring to light how these police agencies are using ALPR technology in Utah.
For copies of the GRAMA requests and more information on ALPR technology go to http://www.acluutah.org/ALPR.html.