In These Times has an ongoing investigative series called "We Surveil and Protect" that looks at the surveillance activities of the Chicago Police Department (CPD). This article highlights inconsistencies in the data released by the CPD regarding police use of automatic license plate readers (ALPRs). ALPRs are cameras mounted on the dashboards of police cars and are used to scan the license plates of every car in its vicinity, regardless of whether or not the driver is suspected of criminal activity. The data scanned by the ALPR are stored in a database, and can be shared with other law enforcement agencies across state lines. The power of the CPD to surveil citizens is completely unregulated, which is why the ACLU of Illinois has worked with State Senator Daniel Biss to draft a bill - Senate Bill 1753 - that would place modest regulations on the use of ALPRs in Illinois. In These Times reports:
Illinois, like 39 other states, does not have any state-imposed regulations. And, according to the ACLU, police departments are loathe to create any internal policies that would restrict their ALPR programs. How widely ALPR data is shared between police departments, federal agencies and the private databases that sell that information to anyone willing to pay, is unknown.