Vigilant Solutions today applauded the Los Angeles County Superior Court LPR Ruling on Friday in which Judge James Chalfant prevented stalkers and criminals from having access to law enforcement databases of automated license plate reader (ALPR) data.
In his decision, Chalfant said that publicly releasing ALPR data — which consists of license plate images with accompanying time and location stamps — would greatly harm criminal investigations and could be used by a criminal to stalk victims. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) were suing to gain access to one week’s worth of ALPR data from the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Shawn Smith, founder and president of Vigilant Solutions today issued the following statement:
“We fully understand and appreciate the privacy concerns of the ACLU and EFF. We too are focused on ensuring the privacy of innocent citizens but believe that offering ALPR data to the masses will achieve the exact opposite of what we are trying to accomplish.
Today, strict federal law – the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) – already restricts law enforcement from linking anonymous ALPR data to personally-identifiable information ONLY when there are specific legal, permissible purposes. Could additional safeguards be put in place? Of course they could and should. However, the privacy and personal security of citizens can be protected with less damaging measures than an absolute ban on the use of ALPR data by investigators. For example, we would support legislation to restrict ALPR data access to legitimate businesses and law enforcement agencies for defined permissible purposes as well as a legislative requirement for robust logging and auditing of LPR databases to detect misuse.
Attention-grabbing publicity ploys provide no legitimate public benefit. We need sound, practical solutions that enable law enforcement to leverage ALPR to protect and to serve. We encourage all interested organizations to work together to achieve that end.”