1 November 2016

California ALPR Policies

ALPR are high-speed camera systems that photograph license plates, convert the numbers and letters into machine-readable text, tag them with the time and location, and upload that data into a database for retrieval. Often law enforcement agencies that use ALPR compare plates to a “hot list” of plates suspected of being connected to crimes or even belong to owners with outstanding court fees. However, ALPR is a mass surveillance technology in that it collects information on every driver, the overwhelming majority of whom are innocent. The technology poses a threat to location privacy; in aggregate the data can reveal detailed driving patterns or identify the drivers who frequent particular locations, such as protests, gun shows, and health care faculties. 

The new law requires agencies to divulge several key policy points, including: 

  • The authorized purposes for using the ALPR system and collecting ALPR information.
  • A description of the job title or other designation of the employees and independent contractors who are authorized to use or access the ALPR system, or to collect ALPR information. The policy shall identify the training requirements necessary for those authorized employees and independent contractors.
  • A description of how the ALPR system will be monitored to ensure the security of the information and compliance with applicable privacy laws.
  • The purposes of, process for, and restrictions on, the sale, sharing, or transfer of ALPR information to other persons.
  • The title of the official custodian, or owner, of the ALPR system responsible for implementing this section.
  • A description of the reasonable measures that will be used to ensure the accuracy of ALPR information and correct data errors.
  • The length of time ALPR information will be retained, and the process the ALPR operator will utilize to determine if and when to destroy retained ALPR information.


See the full list of City Policies at https://www.eff.org/pages/california-automated-license-plate-reader-policies



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