Law enforcement agencies across the United States are using automatic scanners to amass millions of digital records on the location and movement of vehicles, according to a study published Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The scanners – which can be affixed to police cars, bridges or buildings -- capture images of moving or parked vehicles that include such details as location and license plate numbers.
The images are then uploaded into police databases and kept for weeks or sometimes indefinitely.
While the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that a judge's approval is needed to track a car with GPS, the ACLU says the image scanning raises concerns about government possibly over-intruding in the lives of everyday citizens.
"There's just a fundamental question of whether we're going to live in a society where these dragnet surveillance systems become routine," said Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the ACLU, which wants police departments to immediately delete records of cars not linked to a crime. Read more >>