LANSING — State Representative Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) announced today his upcoming legislation to regulate the use of license plate readers (LPRs) by police in Michigan. The announcement comes in the wake of concerns over personal privacy and revelations of federal domestic spying programs.
“The constitution demands a certain level of privacy for all people, but it is our responsibility to remain diligent in enforcing this right. Broad stroke electronic monitoring methods such as license plate readers raise concerns, and we need to act proactively to ensure the right balance between effective law enforcement and a person’s privacy is maintained,” said Singh.
The bill would, for the first time in Michigan, regulate under what circumstances LPRs could be used, ban LPRs from recording pictures of drivers, require that local department level policies govern their use, and allow the attorney general’s office to ban the use of LPRs at agencies found to be in violation of the bill. Perhaps most importantly is the clause mandating that license plate records collected by LPRs be deleted from data systems within 48 hours after they were collected unless the record is evidence of specific criminal wrongdoing.
“My legislation lays out in clear terms what is acceptable and what is not in monitoring and storing data collected on innocent citizens,” said Singh, “public safety requires innovative ideas in the field of law enforcement, but a vast, unbridled data collection system cannot be tolerated in this state.” The bill joins a chorus of similar legislation being introduced across State Legislatures including Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Vermont.