You Can Drive but You Can’t Hide

New law enforcement technology allows a single patrol car to capture up to five thousand license plate numbers an hour, computer analyze them, and potentially track where your car has been spotted. One state lawmaker wants to put the brakes on how the auto recognition system is used.

This is a marketing video for something called an Automatic License Plate Recognition System, or ALPR. "It helps find offenders, even if they don't draw attention to themselves."

ALPRs can capture and read up to five thousand plates an hour. The devices can instantly pick up if someone's got an unpaid parking ticket. With multiple cameras are combined, you can even track the movement of a vehicle used in a robbery.

Captain Nancy Rasmussen says the Florida Highway Patrol is using seven units across the state. "We are looking for a stole tag, stolen cars. The hot list informs us, it's undated every two hours."

The recognition systems can also be used on bridges or toll plazas. State Senator Jeff Brandes says there are no limits on the information collected. He wants to change that. "Today, a divorce lawyer, someone could physically stalk you or could stalk you through doing public records request on the license plate readers."

Brandes would put a thirty day time limit on storing the information and he would keep others from asking for data about your tag number. "And if the department has a policy that allows them to keep these records for 6 months, a year, they can pull any time your licenses plate reader has been- your licenses plate has been read over the course of that year.

While the technology is still young, the staff analysis for the legislation envisions millions of records being collected every day and stored indefinitely if limits aren’t imposed.

The FHP began using the recognition system in 2011. It keeps record for three years.

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