Here’s a direct link the video from the Al Jazeera broadcast featuring Track the Police for those who may have missed the broadcast on Monday.

Anonymous asked: How do you request the ALPR data from the Police Dept.?

It depends on your local data practice/FOIA laws. Not all States or cities release the data to the public. Generally you would file a request with the police department for the data or whoever owns the ALPR cams in your area.

"Automatic license plate readers have changed the game for police, but privacy advocates warn your data is being misused"

The police are tracking you, so what happens if you track them?

Weekly Roundup of ALPR Stories - March 29

Piedmont, CA:  With plans to install over $1 million dollars in ALPR readers for all entrances and exits to the city, NYC is not the only city with plans  to scan every car that enters or exits it. 

Nationwide: Privacy advocates continue to be concerned about data retention policies after a CBS News report highlights the increased use of ALPR scanners by law enforcement.

Weekly Roundup of ALPR Stories - March 22

Minnesota: There was big news this week in license plate reader data as the State classified the data as private in an opinion issued by the Commissioner.  Both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press covered the change to what data is now private and what is public.

However, this isn’t the end of the story. The Minnesota legislator is still at work on the license plate controversy. In particular, an amendment passed a key House committee that would eliminate or  the storage of “non-hit” license plates and limit the retention time of the data.


Regardless, it is unlikely that the public will be able to request ALPR data  in the near future to continue updated Tracking of Police license plate movements. This blog may take a slightly different approach to Tracking the Police in upcoming months. Stay Tuned!

The State of Minnesota now declared that the ALPR data will remain private. Thus, we can’t request specific data on police vehicles unless the legislator changes the law. At least, they must disclose the location of license plate readers.

Track the Police Friday Roundup - March 15th

Arkansas: A video clip on the use of license plate readers in Arkansas and a story about how the local legislature is proposing limiting the storage of reader data.

Maryland: Rockville, MD is also dealing with the data retention controversy. A Town Hall meeting is set for March 20, 2013 for anyone who wants to provide input on the use of license plate scanners in that town.


New York:  A relatively in-depth article on the use of ALPRs and controversy surrounding the devices in the Rochester area. The story mentions how millions of dollars of Homeland Security money are funding the purchases of these devices across the country.


New York City:  The Huffington Post published a story this week on the NYPD’s plan to scan all vehicles entering and exiting Manhattan. Not only would this massive project attempt to scan all vehicles but the current data retention policy for NYC is 5 years!!  Good old NYC always has to be #1 in police state creepiness :-/

Utah - State legislators unanimously passed a bill limiting the storage of license plate data to 9 months! For those who have been following the issue of data retention in license plate readers, this is still a considerable amount of time to retain data on all license plates scanned by a reader.

This slide from a 2011 Minneapolis Police Department presentation reveals a bit more about ALPR scanners than what we had previously known.  This unredacted version shows the location of one of the stationary cameras on the Broadway Bridge between North and NE Minneapolis. The MPD refuses to disclose the location of the stationary cameras yet this document clearly reveals the location of two more of the cameras.
In other words, Broadway Avenue Bridge and Plymouth Ave Bridge are the two known locations of the stationary cameras.
Another interesting aspect of this document is that you can see in the bottom corner that the ALPR readers have a total of 27,865 “hits” or vehicles that are active on some list or another.  That’s a very long hot list of “wanted” vehicles! 

This slide from a 2011 Minneapolis Police Department presentation reveals a bit more about ALPR scanners than what we had previously known.  This unredacted version shows the location of one of the stationary cameras on the Broadway Bridge between North and NE Minneapolis. The MPD refuses to disclose the location of the stationary cameras yet this document clearly reveals the location of two more of the cameras.

In other words, Broadway Avenue Bridge and Plymouth Ave Bridge are the two known locations of the stationary cameras.

Another interesting aspect of this document is that you can see in the bottom corner that the ALPR readers have a total of 27,865 “hits” or vehicles that are active on some list or another.  That’s a very long hot list of “wanted” vehicles! 

Weekly Roundup of ALPR Stories March 8th #TrackthePolice

Little Rock, AR: USA Today featured a story on how Little Rock, Arkansas is using license plate scanners. This story notes how there appears to be no data retention policy for license plate information in Little Rock, but that “..the department has now has a growing archive of license plate photos..”.

Piedmont, CA: One Californian town is considering installing license plate scanners at all exits and entrances to the city.  No word on how long they plan to keep the data if this program goes forward or if it would be available to the public.