Curbing police data collection aim of proposed SC law: ‘Our rights are being eroded’

A top South Carolina lawmaker wants to restrict how police use some of the newest tools available for tracking people’s cell phones and travel in the state, arguing the technology violates people’s rights as American citizens.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, has sponsored two bills this year to either ban or limit police agencies’ use of cell site simulators and automatic license plate readers, two law enforcement tools that are now being used widely throughout the country.

The cell site simulators mimic cellphone towers, allowing police agencies to collect the data and location from every phone in a geographic area.

The license plate readers, attached to police vehicles or located over highways and streets, collects every license plate number it encounters. It automatically records an image of the vehicle and the date, time and location that information is collected.