OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued two legal bulletins to California state and local law enforcement agencies providing guidance and model policies regarding the use of data collected or accessed through an Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) system. Attorney General Bonta reminds agencies of their obligation to ensure that the storage, collection, sharing, and use of this information is consistent with California law.
“As technology that helps us protect the public continues to advance, it is important that we put in place safeguards to ensure that this technology is used appropriately and lawfully,” said Attorney General Bonta. “While this technology may be a helpful investigative tool, Californians must be able to trust that their information is being kept safe. Today, we remind law enforcement of their responsibility to safeguard this data and ensure its use is consistent with state law.”
The data collected from ALPR systems capture images of license plates and use the image to find the plate numbers as well as their owner’s information. According to a recent survey and report issued by the California State Auditor, the majority of California law enforcement agencies collect and use images captured by ALPR cameras, but few have appropriate usage and privacy policies in place.
California law governs the collection, storage, sharing, and use of this data. In particular, Senate Bill 34 (2015) (SB 34) imposes requirements to protect data collected through an ALPR system, including limiting with whom this information may be shared. Additionally, Senate Bill 54 (SB 54), also known as the Values Act, provides strict guidelines in the use of these databases to ensure information shared for immigration enforcement purposes is limited to the fullest extent practicable and consistent with federal and state law.
The bulletins include:
The bulletin outlining requirements under SB 34 is available here.
The bulletin outlining requirements under SB 54 is available here.