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I would like to request that the Council remove or delay this agenda item.
The recent police murders of black people have sparked a national reckoning with how we approach policing, and by extension, how we approach surveillance. Every part of this country, including Modesto, needs to listen to the calls of the movement.
One of the major problems tied to LPR technology is that we know that this technology is dis-proportionally used on persons of color, immigrants, and low-income communities.
This means that these populations have a higher chance of having their information stored in an LPR database and ultimately tracked. For example, in New York ALPR technology was used for years as part of their surveillance tactics against Muslim communities.
Moreover, ALPR technology is also plagued with legal problems because they can track and map out our daily movements. Consequently, it can reveal information that we otherwise want to keep private. At least one court has found that LPR technology violated a state privacy law.
The court found that the ALPR information coupled with data from databases containing other information like criminal and DMV records can provide the identity of a vehicle’s owner.
LPR technology could also be a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against privacy. This is because the U.S. Supreme Court has held that long-term tracking is a privacy violation under the Fourth Amendment.
There are too many questions that need to be answered before expanding LPR use in Modesto. Before the City decides to move forward with approving this grant at the very least, the Modesto Police should develop a use policy which includes:
What the purpose for getting the technology?
How it will be used?
How is data stored and for how long?
If and how other City or non-City entities can access or use the information (For example: will it explicitly prohibit sharing of data with ICE? This has been the case in many other cities across the state and across the country)
How people will be trained on the tech?
For these reasons, I request that the Council remove or delay this agenda item.