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NYCLU Wants More License Plate Scanner Data Transparency

(AP Photo/Michael Balsamo)

The New York Civil Liberties Union is urging the Long Island village of Freeport to be more transparent with how it uses and secures data it collects as part of its new license plate scanner system. Over the past 3 months, Freeport’s license plate reading system led to 25 arrests, helped recover 16 stolen vehicles, and caught a fugitive murder suspect from Virginia.

Jason Starr, Director of the Nassau County Chapter of the NYCLU, said the readers can track more than just license plate information.

"The comings and goings of an individual throughout the village and around the village, for example, paint a pretty detailed picture of the private lives of innocent New Yorkers," he said.

Starr said he’s worried that data could be vulnerable.

"There might always be an opportunity for someone who wants to get at that data to figure out a way to get at it," he said.

Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy said in an email that the collected data is automatically deleted after four months. Kennedy said that motorists have “nothing to worry about” as long as they don’t have an outstanding warrant, aren’t driving a vehicle that’s stolen or that has a suspended registration, or if the vehicle is named in an Amber Alert.

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