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How are police departments using license plate reader technology? Your feedback is helping us find out

How are police departments using license plate reader technology? Your feedback is helping us find out

Over 100 additional requests related to police departments’ use of automated license plate recognition technology have been submitted to government agencies identified by MuckRock readers as needing further scrutiny.

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Data Driven: Explore how cops are collecting and sharing our travel patterns using automated license plate readers

Data Driven: Explore how cops are collecting and sharing our travel patterns using automated license plate readers

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and MuckRock have filed hundreds of public records requests with law enforcement agencies around the country to reveal how data collected from automated license plate readers is used to track the travel patterns of drivers. Today we are releasing records obtained from 200 agencies, accounting for more than 2.5 -billion license plate scans in 2016 and 2017.

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What We Learned

What We Learned

Our research shows that 173 agencies from 23 states and the federal government accounted for roughly 2.5 -billion license plate scans in 2016 and 2017. The remaining 27 agencies refused to turn over reports on how much data they collected.

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Understanding the Source Documents

Understanding the Source Documents

Part of our strategy with this public records campaign was to seek two separate, uniform classes of documents easily exportable through Vigilant Solutions’ LEARN system. We provided each agency with a guide to producing these records straight from the user manual, which had been obtained through open records law by Mike Katz-Lacabe of the Center for Human Rights and Privacy. Most agencies were able to follow these instructions and provide the standardized records. Some did not and require a little work to decipher.

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A Caveat on the Data

A Caveat on the Data

Analyzing ALPR data is an imperfect science, and we intend to update this dataset as inconsistencies are identified. If you encounter an issue, please email Dave Maass at dm@eff.org

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