Lawsuit challenges automated license plate readers - KCTV5

Lawsuit challenges automated license plate readers

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  • License plate readers spark debate

    License plate readers spark debate

    Thursday, February 20 2014 10:22 PM EST2014-02-21 03:22:34 GMT
    Police use license plate readers to track drivers, and this is sparking controversy.Some say it's an invasion of privacy that police can track information about law-abiding citizens who have committedMore >
    Police use license plate readers to track drivers, and this is sparking controversy.More >
LEE'S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -

Some cities have used automated cameras to record license plate numbers quickly, but some are worried about where that information is kept once it's gathered.

One Lee's Summit, MO, man has filed a lawsuit because he said the city won't tell him.

Robert Gough believes gathering license plate information for suspected criminals is a good crime-fighting tool. But he draws the line here.

"They're storing the data of law-abiding citizens going about their daily lives," Gough said.

The Lee's Summit City Council approved an ordinance in October to allow the police department to use automated license readers, but with restrictions.

Data would be kept no longer than 30 days and it could only be used on moving cars. Gough said he's more concerned about citizen's personal information getting in the hands of a third party.

"Does any data leave the police car to go anywhere? That's where I have a problem," he said.

Most of the automated cameras are attached to police cars.

The Lee's Summit Police Department declined to speak on camera about their cameras, citing pending litigation. They are, however, drafting a response.

Gough said citizens' license plates shouldn't be kept if they haven't done anything wrong.

"You don't want the government to go through everyone's purse to see if there's anything in there," he said.

That lawsuit was filed by Gough. To prove, he says, that personal information can be given to anyone.

But the police department said the data is not covered under Missouri's Sunshine Laws and denied his request for the data.

As far as other cities in the metro, Kansas City, MO, has seven of the readers and is adding seven more. They keep the information the readers gather until their data storage is full and replace the oldest information with the newest.

Lenexa, KS, has two readers in cars and two in fixed positions. They keep the information gathered for 12 to 18 months.

Olathe, KS, has one of the readers and gets rid of the photos they take after 90 days.

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