A Massachusetts legislative committee held a hearing last week on a bill that would put strict limitations on the use of automated license plate reader systems (ALPRs) by the state. Passage into law would also place significant roadblocks in the way of a federal program using states to help track the location of millions of everyday people through pictures of their license plates.
A coalition of six Democrats introduced House Bill 3036 (H3036) last January. The legislation would limit law enforcement use of ALPRs to specific, enumerated law enforcement functions. The proposed law would also put strict limitations on the retention and sharing of data gathered by license plate readers.
Government agencies would have to delete any ALPR data within 14 days unless they get a warrant authorizing retention. The legislation prohibits the sale, trade, or exchange of captured license plate data for any purpose. Under the proposed law, any data captured or improperly maintained could not be introduced by the state in any grand jury or criminal proceeding or in any civil or administrative proceeding brought by the state or any government office or official.