Automated License Plate Readers: Legal and Policy Evaluation

January 2023
Noah Stein, BA, Public Policy

Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) are a surveillance technology that can alert law enforcement about vehicle locations in real-time or provide information on past movements. In recent years, growing numbers of public and private entities have begun using ALPRs, moving some communities to implement policies aimed at limiting the potential damage posed by the technology. This memo analyzes legal and policy concerns related to the technology. It concludes by suggesting policy options that communities can advocate for, including a ban or moratorium, and appropriate safeguards if the technology is used.

To view a one-pager on ALPRs that was created by We the People Action Fund, please click here.

STPP Managing Director, Molly Kleinman, weighs in on surveillance technology like Automated License Plate Readers in The New York Times article, "Thousands of Dollars for Something I Didn't Do"