Here are the 50+ police departments automatically tracking and storing where you drive

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An investigation by the Boston Globe and MuckRock found over 50 police departments tracking and storing scanned license plate data around the state, with many departments having no formal policy in place limiting the data they can keep and how it’s used.

Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology works by having high-speed cameras, mounted on poles, toll booths, or police cars, quickly snap and analyze thousands of pictures, pinging license plate numbers against a database.

A single scanner mounted on a cop car can record 30,000 plates a month, and much of that data is stored indefinitely, even if your license is not on a known list or stolen cars or wanted criminals.


Today, the article’s author, Shawn Musgrave, released a map letting readers quickly sort through which cities were using ALPR technology — and what policy, if any, they had in place for protecting that data.


Does automated license plate recognition make you feel safer, giving law enforcement another tool to nab felons and those driving on expired registrations, or is it a little too Big Brother for your taste?

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