WLS-TV/ABC Channel 7 aired a segment about a bill that will regulate the use of automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) by police in Illinois. ALPRs consist of cameras mounted on the dashboards of police cars that scan the license plate numbers of every vehicle in its vicinity. Data including the license plate number, date, time and GPS location are then stored in a database. ALPRs present the capability of police to perform widespread surveillance on innocent motorists, and their use is entirely unregulated in Illinois. Channel 7 spoke with ACLU of Illinois Legislative Counsel Khadine Bennett:
"It tells a lot of what a person does by virtue of where they've been: what doctors they've visited, what protests they've gone to, and we know that this information can be abused," said Khadine Bennett, ACLU of Illinois.
The ACLU and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers have introduced a bill requiring all data collected to be erased after 30 days.
"They don't dump the data on the license plates that aren't flagged or they don't need for a criminal investigation, so they have all of these extra license plates that are just being stored," Bennett said.