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New law enforcement technology causing controversy
New law enforcement technology allows officers to capture license plate numbers 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.
Law enforcement agencies here in our area and throughout the state use the Automatic License Plate Readers.
They can each capture and read up to five-thousand license plates an hour.
There is a marketing video from a company that manufactures the devices.
"It helps find offenders, even if they don't draw attention to themselves."
The readers are sometimes mounted on top of or inside vehicles.
They can instantly pick up if someone's got an unpaid parking ticket.
When the data from several cameras is combined, they can even track the movement of a vehicle used in a serious crime, like a robbery.
State Senator Jeff Brandes of Pinellas County says there are no limits on how long the information collected can be stored.
He and voters we spoke with
Ryan Starkey, Driver: "They shouldn't be able to track me down."
Want that changed.
"Automation and stuff is good and it can help with manpower and a bunch of other stuff for the police force and tracking down criminals and everything else but I think also we have to protect our civil liberties."
Dawn Drew, Driver: "I think it's an invasion of your privacy, absolutely, you know, if they're using it for inappropriate things."
Senator Brandes says a divorce lawyer or someone else could physically stalk you by doing a public records request on the license plate readers.
A bill he filed would put a 30 day limit on storing the information and would keep others from asking for data about your tag number.
A final decision on the bill is expected to be made during Florida's next legislative session, which begins in March.