Two legal activist groups have lost their appeal in a public records lawsuit filed against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) had sued those law enforcement agencies to gain access to one week’s worth of license plate reader data as a way to better understand this surveillance technology. After losing in Los Angeles Superior Court last August, the EFF and ACLU SoCal appealed; that court’s decision was handed down on Wednesday.
Both agencies, like many others nationwide, use these specialized cameras to scan cars and compare them at incredible speeds to a “hot list” of stolen or wanted vehicles. In some cases, that data is kept for weeks, months, or even years. Handing over such a large volume of records by a California law enforcement agency is not without precedent.
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