The Town of Paradise Valley Is Installing License Plate Readers.

Yes, that is right, Paradise Valley is installing license plate readers on street lights.  These license plate readers will read every plate of every car that goes through the intersection.  These readers can record plates at about 1 per second of vehicles traveling up to 100 mph.   What is the purpose, to catch red light runners, or speeders?  No there are already cameras in place for that.  The reader will relay the plate information and cross reference with DPS records and cross-reference with plates of known fugitives, stolen vehicles and amber/silver alerts.  If there is a match, dispatch will alert the nearest patrol vehicle who will then intersect the vehicle.

Sounds great right?  Catch those who are breaking the law keep them in line?  Using the classic justification, if you’re not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about.  There are several problems.  First, this arguably is a violation of the 4th Amendment’s prohibition of illegal search and seizures.  The Fourth amendment requires “probable cause” in order to allow the government to search property.  This includes surveillance.  Second, there is an issue as to how long Paradise Valley police are storing this information and what it does with this information.