SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The ACLU of Massachusetts said license plate readers are “fundamentally threatening our freedom” by tracking who was where and when on the open road. Nationwide the organization is requesting public records in almost 40 states to make sure privacy rights are not being violated by the technology.
Here in the Pioneer Valley, Springfield Police say this tool plays a vital role in fighting crime.
“The more technology a police department has — the better the police department is,” said Sergeant John Delaney.
“The plates are stored in a unit,” said Sgt. Delaney. “We don’t go looking for them and tracking what they’re doing. We don’t have the time or the manpower or the inclination to do that.”
Through a significantly large grant, the department obtained one license plate reader two years ago. It’s primarily helped identifying stolen cars.
While the ACLU is skeptical of how long the data is stored with police departments, police say its those records that can be useful down the road in criminal investigations.