Doug Bedell — October 20, 2021, 12:52 pm

Privacy and License Plates – When Values Clash


Saira Hussain and Adam Schwartz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation report on a controversy in Marin County, California, in which they allege that automated license plate readers (ALPRs) used by the sheriff there violate motorists’ privacy rights

“Last week, EFF filed a new lawsuit on behalf of three immigrant rights activists against Sheriff Bob Doyle and Marin County for violating two California laws that protect immigrants and motorists’ privacy. Our co-counsel are the ACLU Foundations of Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego & Imperial Counties, and attorney Michael Risher. We seek a court order prohibiting the Sheriff from sharing ALPR data with out-of-state and federal agencies.

“The Marin Sheriff’s ALPRs scan thousands of license plates each month. That sensitive data, including photos of the vehicle and sometimes its drivers and passengers, is stored in a database. The Sheriff permits over 400 out-of-state and 18 federal agencies, including CBP and ICE, to run queries of full or partial license plates against information the Sheriff has collected.”

Does seem a little creepy, indeed.

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