They're on police cars and street lights, and they track where you're driving. Across Minnesota, police have been using automated license plate readers for years to track down stolen cars and aid investigations, and there are no state regulations governing their use.
But Lawmakers, police and privacy advocates will soon seek to set ground rules for how long police can keep the data and who can access it.
Lakeville Republican Representative Mary Liz Holberg, says she plans to introduce a bill in the next few weeks.
There's little question that the Legislature will restrict public access to police's license plate databases. The bigger question will be: How long should police be able to keep tracking information on law–abiding Minnesotans?
Holberg says the law needs to balance the concerns of police, who say the readers are a powerful tool. Other lawmakers and advocates say tracking everyday Minnesotans is a violation of privacy and civil liberty.