You are on page 1of 4

Californians

Overwhelmingly Support Use of License


Plate Readers to Solve Crimes and Reject Government
Infringement on First Amendment Rights

Background


License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology captures an image of a license plate, a
date/time stamp, the location of the image capture and then uses software to
convert license plate numbers and letters into a computer readable text format. LPR
data has helped to solve thousands of crimes nationally as well as allow private
companies to re-claim foreclosed assets worth billions of dollars .

LPR systems are already regulated by federal law -- The Drivers Privacy Protection
Act (DPPA) -- which sets firm limits on when and how anonymous, public license
plate data can be connected to personally-identifiable Department of Motor Vehicle
data. Unless a LPR user has access to the federally protected vehicle registration
data, there is no way to link the LPR data to the registered owner of a vehicle, much
less someone who was using the vehicle when the license plate was scanned.

However, legislation recently introduced in California, Senate Bill 893would define
anonymous LPR data as personal information and, as a result, limit the amount and
type of license plate data that can be collected and the ways in which the data may
be used for legitimate commercial and law enforcement purposes. If enacted, SB
893 will make it harder for law enforcement to solve crimes and protect
communities.

But, does SB 893 reflect the will of California citizens?

A recent survey* conducted by Zogby Analytics (and commissioned by Vigilant
Solutions) has found that the vast majority of Californians value the benefits of LPR
systems and believe that legislation to minimize risks, not to ban LPR use, is the
proper answer.


*800 California residents were surveyed during the first week in April. The online survey has a
margin of error of +/- 3.5%.

Survey Results

By a 6-1 margin, Californians say that license plate recognition
technology helps police solve crimes.

In your opinion has license plate recognition - the ability for law enforcement to
take photographs of license plates with a date and time stamp - helped to solve
crimes?

Yes
No
Not sure

62%
10%
29%

72% of Californians believe either the existing federal law or a


strengthened federal law will solve LPR privacy questions.

What level of protection is necessary to ensure that license plate recognition


technology's benefits are maximized while also ensuring full protection of personal
privacy?

The existing federal law that makes it a federal crime to unlawfully

link a license plate to a person via access to DMV records is enough


The existing federal law should be strengthened to place additional

privacy protections to further prevent stalking and other crimes


License plate recognition technology has no benefits and should be abolished
Other









Not Sure







29%

43%

5%
2%
22%

71% of Californians want LPR to help convict criminals.


Which of the following uses of the license plate technology do you think is
appropriate?

Law enforcement use for evidence to convict criminals


Law enforcement use for evidence to acquit the innocent


Private use to locate and re-possess automobiles whose loans are delinquent
Private company use to locate stolen vehicles and alert police*

Government use to collect bridge or highway tolls



Nonprofit organization use to recover missing or abducted children

None of the above







Not sure







71%
62%
30%
46%
30%
46%
10%
11%




Survey Results continued

67% of Californians agree that there is no justification for any


law that violates the first Amendment.

Do you agree or disagree that there is no justification for any law that violates the
first Amendment rights of citizens or companies?


Strongly Agree

Somewhat Agree
Somewhat Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Not sure

30%
37%
12%
3%
19%


The majority of Californians understand that license plates
reveal nothing about them including their name or where they
live.

Do you agree or disagree that license plates reveal nothing about me. People who
see my license plate cannot determine my name or where I live.

Strongly Agree
24%
Somewhat Agree
30%
Somewhat Disagree
21%
Strongly Disagree
17%
Not Sure

8%


61% of Californians agree that license plates are designed for
public display and there should be no restrictions on whether
someone can photograph them.

Do you agree or disagree that license plates have always been designed for public
display and there should be no restrictions on whether someone can photograph
them?


Strongly Agree

Somewhat Agree
Somewhat Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Not sure

30%
31%
16%
12%
10%



Survey Results continued

Californians agree that government should not limit the rights


of companies to take and share photos of public events.
Do you agree or disagree that government should not limit the rights of companies
to take and share photos of public events?

Strongly Agree
27%
Somewhat Agree
32%
Somewhat Disagree
17%
Strongly Disagree
7%
Not Sure

17%