Minneapolis moves to make License Plate Reader data private
At the direction of Mayor R.T. Rybak and the Minneapolis City Council, City staff have submitted an application to the Minnesota Department of Administration requesting that all data collected by the Minneapolis Police Department’s Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) system be temporarily classified as not-public data.
The Minneapolis Police Department currently uses Automated License Plate Readers for a number of law enforcement and public safety purposes including finding stolen vehicles and tracking potential suspects in homicides. The data can also be used to determine whether:
- The vehicle owner has a warrant for his or her arrest
- The vehicle owner is driving with a revoked or suspended license
- The vehicle is involved with a missing person
- A person may be subject to a protective order and is violating that order
Risks of keeping data public
While this data has many law enforcement uses, there is a need to reclassify it as private data to protect the public’s health, safety, privacy, and well-being. For example, if this data remains public:
- Victims of domestic violence may be placed at risk because their abuser can request data to try to determine where the victim may be living or working,
- Criminals may be able to determine the home address of a person driving the vehicle and could determine when a home may be vacant
- Disabled individuals may be at risk as criminals could target these vulnerable people learning their patterns of movement and where they live.
The City of Minneapolis is also requesting that the 2013 legislature classify this data as private. However, until the legislature has amended the Minnesota Data Practices Act, the City has requested this temporary classification. Per state statue, when the Minnesota Department of Administration receives the City’s application today, the data will become private for 45 days.
Published Dec. 18, 2012