The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran an AP story yesterday about an ACLU report that documented dragnet license plate surveillance programs by state and local authorities across the U.S.
For the first time, the number of license tag captures has reached the millions, according to a study published Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union based on information from hundreds of law enforcement agencies. Departments keep the records for weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely, saying they can be crucial in tracking suspicious cars, aiding drug busts, finding abducted children and more.
Attached to police cars, bridges or buildings and sometimes merely as an app on a police officer’s smartphone scanners capture images of passing or parked vehicles and pinpoint their locations, uploading that information into police databases.
I wish that the Journal Sentinel pursued the local angle on this. Does the Milwaukee Police Department have a similar program? What about the State – do those Department of Transportation traffic cameras also collect our license plate data?
I’m curious and would appreciate some local reporting on this.
You could argue the Journal Sentinel is more guilty of misinterpreting data than Chief Flynn.
— Bruce Murphy (read his column
if you’re interested in getting more perspective on the Flynn-Journal Sentinel battle.