Last updated April 19, 2021. The current status of the legislation can be found by clicking here.
Powerful new technologies make mass surveillance easier than ever for law enforcement. One such technology, license plate readers (LPRs), capture location data that can reveal people’s religious, political, sexual, medical, and social activities. For years, law enforcement agencies across the country have collected and stored this data with very little oversight and few legal constraints.
Tomorrow, the Nashville Metro Council will take up a substitute for an ordinance that would regulate the use of LPRs in Nashville. The ACLU of Tennessee supports the substitute to BL2020-582 proposed by Councilman Dave Rosenberg, listed as Amendment #4 here. The Rosenberg Substitute to BL2020-582 would create regulations for the use of LPRs, including:
- Significantly limiting the allowable uses of LPR systems used in police work to finding vehicles associated with serious crimes, felony warrants, probable cause search warrants, and missing or endangered persons. These limits ensure data isn’t collected indiscriminately on an entire population and will lessen unnecessary interactions between police and community members.
- Requiring near immediate deletion of LPR data unless it generates a hit. If an LPR gets a hit on a plate, an officer may stop the vehicle, but if the officer does not act, the data is deleted within an hour.
- Increasing oversight of the LPR system by allowing the community oversight board access to LPR systems and the ability to review them at any time. The proposed amendment also ensures that the Metro Council will review and decide whether or not to continue the program after 6 months of operation.