Speed Reading: Growing Maryland License Plate Reader Debate

16 Nov

This issue is a mixed bag of right and wrong. As with many things, it’s not the technology which is an issue, but the way in which it is used.

In Maryland, the police have a piece of technology which allows them to scan license plates of cars which pass by their patrol vehicles. Once scanned the scanned information is run through the police systems to do a check on criminal records.

In a recent incident noted in the report, license plate readers, also known as an LPR, read the plate of a stolen car and alerted police. In this case the technology was clearly used in an appropriate manner and helped police without doing harm to the innocent public. The best way for technology and law enforcement to work together.

However, the new technology does not stop there. The new technology not only scans the plate, gets any information it can from the information but it also stores all of that information in a centralized database. That sent up red flags at the ACLU.

David Rocah with the ACLU pointed out, “As the data increases over time you get a more detailed picture of Marylanders’ movements. And that is information the government has no business knowing, absent some particular law enforcement need,”

The reason the police give for storing the information is it could help in future cases. While this may be true, the tracking and storing of this information by law enforcement, without the consent of the general public is very disturbing and should be addressed by lawmakers as quickly as possible.

Source –
CBS Baltimore

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