Lawmakers in Annapolis Proposing Privacy Legislation
Updated: Wednesday, January 15 2014, 10:23 AM EST
The revelations from the NSA scandal are prompting Maryland lawmakers to take action.
It's a Friday night in South Baltimore and keeping watch on Washington Boulevard are two officers and three sets of eyes. The officer's cruiser is equipped with an automated license plate reader, where two cameras scan the plates of every passing vehicle and search crime databases for outstanding violations.
For police, it is a valuable tool, especially for stolen vehicles. The data winds up at a top secret clearinghouse for a year to allow law enforcement to use the information as valuable evidence down the road.
But in Annapolis, they're raising concern. A group of lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, are proposing limiting the states saving of the information to 90 days.
However, the proposed regulations goes far beyond license plate readers – they also want to regulate how police use drones to conduct searches and cellphones to track one's location. The regulation would also require a warrant before police can search a citizen's email for evidence.
So far, 8 other states have passed law regulation license plate readers, but privacy experts warn the race to legislate has its own problems.
Maryland has been gather license plate information for about a decade. Officials say they have received no complaints about civil rights violations, but have logged plenty of success stories.