Wired reports on the ACLU’s document request showing that the FBI paused for thought on whether or not the use of license plate readers might violate Americans’ privacy rights. Whatever reservations their lawyers may have had, the bosses at the Bureau clearly ignored them, as evidenced by the fact that the readers are very much in use:
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Law enforcement’s use of automated license plate readers has drawn increasing controversy in recent years amid concerns that the devices pose a threat to privacy. Now, internal documents show that the FBI, based on a recommendation from its own lawyers, was told to stop buying the devices for a time in 2012.
The documents, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union through a public records request, show the FBI’s own Office of General Counsel was grappling with concerns about the agency’s use of the technology and the apparent lack of a cohesive government policy to protect the civil liberties of citizens whose vehicles are photographed by the readers.