Police Keeping Data On Where You Drive “Unconstitutional” Says Rep Lesch

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Keeping data that tracks where you drive your car is “un-American” and “unconstitutional” says Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) He says the retention of License Plate Reader (LPR) records should be zero if they’re “non-hit.”

Police use the automated systems to read license plates as a way of spotting stolen vehicles or cars that might be connected with other crimes. But those cameras also capture data on thousands of people who have committed no crime, but the data can show where they went at any particular day.

Lesch and Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) joined with the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (MNCOGI) on Wednesday to call for more transparency in government, but still protecting the privacy of individuals. It’s a goal that’s always been fraught with problems, but made even harder with new technologies.

One of those technologies is police body cams. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has pushed for police wearing the body cams as a way of making police more accountable for their actions. Lesch says Minnesota needs to create guidelines for the body cams to protect people’s privacy.

The 2015 Minnesota legislature will be making key decisions about how to deal with issues such as body cameras, license plate readers, and data related to HMO-administered public health care programs.

MNCOGI board member Don Gemberling said his non-profit all-volunteer, non-partisan organization is all about “transparency”, and has fought hard in the past to make sure the government data that is supposed be public, can actually be accessed by the public.


Click here for a sharable version of this video

Video at top: Rep. Lesch talks about license plate readers.
Video above:Bob Sykora, Minnesota State Public Defender Office says police body cams raise privacy issues.
Video below:Entire MNCOGI data privacy discussion.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

One thought on “Police Keeping Data On Where You Drive “Unconstitutional” Says Rep Lesch

  1. the issue is complicated. yes, the pubilc should have access to the police activity, but it also involves innocent citizens and their homes sometimes and they would also like to keep that private wouldn’t they? and how do we balance that?