Brookline Selectmen reject state funding for license plate scanners

Vote to protect motorists’ privacy is first in state, maybe nationwide FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; BOSTON — Last night, the Brookline Board of Selectmen voted unanimously, 5-0, to oppose acceptance of a state grant that would have funded a police surveillance program with data sharing requirements that put Brookline residents at risk for serious privacy violations. This is the first time any community in Massachusetts, and possibly nationwide, has rejected state funding for automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) technology because of privacy concerns. “This is a substantial victory for privacy advocates and for ordinary people in Brookline who don’t want their travel information to be shared broadly with the state and federal governments,” said Kade Crockford, privacy rights coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. The Board will now consider a proposal from the Chief of Police to buy an ALPR system with town funds, allowing the Town and the Police Department to determine who has access to the travel data, thereby protecting the civil liberties of Brookline residents. ALPR technology automates the collection of license plate data, enabling police to capture thousands of plates, and their locations, every hour. The machine converts license plate numbers into machine-readable text, and searches databases for wanted individuals, those with expired registrations or licenses, and more. The technology documents the GPS location information and time and date where and when the image was captured, enabling automated police tracking of motorists. With very narrow limits imposed on its use, the technology can be deployed without negatively affecting civil liberties. Unfortunately, use of the machines is spreading in Massachusetts and nationwide, entirely without these protections, becoming another mechanism enabling the tracking of ordinary people. “The Brookline Board of Selectmen and the Chief of Police deserve credit for listening to their constituents and coming down on the right side of this issue, preserving those liberties that we hold dear,” said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “The ACLU of Massachusetts thanks the Board and the Chief, and looks forward to working with them and concerned community members to arrive at a conclusion that protects the privacy rights of ordinary people in Brookline.” For more information about ALPRs, go to:

Twitter Follow

Follow us on

Contact Us

ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT:  This communication or portions thereof may be considered "advertising" as defined by Section 6157(c) of the California Business and Professions Code or within the jurisdiction in which you are viewing this.  Nothing in the discussion above is intended to be a representation or guarantee about the outcome of any legal proceeding in which you may be involved.  By providing the information above in this format, Michel & Associates is not soliciting you to hire it to handle a specific legal matter you may currently have or be anticipating commencing in the future.  Notwithstanding the discussion above, you should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content on this site without seeking appropriate legal advice regarding your particular circumstances from an attorney licensed to practice law.  This communication is informational only and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Michel & Associates.  Michel & Associates's attorneys are licensed to practice in California, Texas, and the District of Columbia.