In These Times published an overview of current tactics being used by police forces in Illinois that have the power to monitor the everyday activity of innocent people. Along with stingrays and facial recognition technology, police officers across the state have been utilizing automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) to track the location and behavior of criminal suspects.
However, ALPRs remain completely unregulated in Illinois, which means that police have the capability to perform widespread surveillance of innocent motorists and store data about their behavior for unknown lengths of time. A bill being introduced in the Illinois legislature aims to place modest regulations on the use of ALPRs by law enforcement. In These Times spoke with ACLU of Illinois Senior Staff Counsel Adam Schwartz:
This retention of data is what most worries the ACLU’s Schwartz: “If you have hundreds of ALPRs around your city capturing hundreds of license plates every hour … you can punch in somebody’s license plate number and see where they’ve been, or after the fact, you can punch in the location of a protest three years ago and see who was there.”