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Senate approves measure limiting storage of license plate reader data

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: April 11, 2014 - 2:56 PM

The Minnesota Senate unanimously approved a measure Thursday to rein in law enforcement’s storage of data culled from license plate readers.

The Senate passed the measure 64-0 after a lengthy debate. It heads next to the House.

 The bill was authored in response to concerns about privacy following reports of the devices' use, and high-profile data breaches by law enforcement and misuse of the state’s driver and vehicle services (DVS) database. A similar bill stalled after clearing the House last year.

License plate readers—small, car mounted cameras that scan license plates and store information on where and when the car was located when the scan was taken—raised calls for standards on how police classify and retiain plate-reader data. Under the Senate bill, data cannot be saved unless it’s connected to s stolen vehicle, there is a warrant for the owner’s arrest or the owner has a suspended or revoked driver’s license.

The bill mandates that governments must submit annual reports to the Legislature that lists all surveillance technology used that year.

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