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Debate Continues Over Proper Usage of License Plate Readers in Pennsylvania

Local police departments across Pennsylvania use a special type of camera that automatically reads license plates. They have been a well-received tool in the world of law enforcement, but some elected officials believe additional regulation is necessary to ensure the data captured by these tools is not compromised.

There are currently no state regulations for how these license plate readers can be used. One state lawmaker out of Cumberland County hopes to establish a database in which law enforcement would be able to store and share this data, while offering greater protections against unwanted access to that information.

Proposed systems

The proposed system would be overseen by the Pennsylvania State Police. The systems could store information about license plates and the locations at which they were scanned.

The bill would also ban the trade, sale or other form of dissemination of any information collected by the devices unless this sharing is done with other state agencies. In addition, the legislation would require that all data be destroyed within a year of collection unless it’s related to an ongoing investigation or crime. This proposal does not apply to the state’s red light cameras or turnpike cameras.

The bill does have the support of PennDOT, but authorities have mentioned on several occasions that they hope to continue analyzing the wording of the bill to make sure it does not allow for the sale of information to any groups or organizations that could jeopardize privacy.

For more information on your rights when accused of a traffic crime or other offense in Pennsylvania, consult experienced Reading criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.

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