Tell the Portland City Council to change the law to put requirements around police data collection

Carla Axtman

On an average day, your car might be one of the 128,000 that the Portland Police Bureau cameras capture with their license plate tracking program. They say that the data can be used to track criminals and recover stolen vehicles. This kind of information allows the police to track people’s daily routines, where they go to church, which doctor they visit…even a person’s political affiliations.

The data isn’t just collected if you’re suspected of a crime. If you happen to drive your car near one of the police vehicle mounted cameras or if that police vehicle drives past your parked car (even if it’s in your driveway) it can become part of their collected data.

Even if you're never suspected of a crime, the Portland police are capturing your location and storing it for years.

Tell the Portland City Council to stop this data dragnet. Demand that the Portland Police discard all location data after no more than one month, except where specifically relevant to a particular criminal investigation.

The Portland Police Bureau say this is an important tool that helps them do their job more efficiently and effectively. No doubt that’s the case. This system can capture and run up to 8,000 plates a day. In the past three months alone, officers in patrol cars with these cameras have identified 70 vehicles connected to crimes.

Right now, there are no clear or transparent policies on this very personal information. There are no guidelines on how long the data can be kept. This tool should be used to find stolen cars, capture fugitives, and arrest bad guys. It should not be stored for years and used to build profiles on law-abiding citizens.

Tell the Portland City Council to change the law to require that this data be discarded after two weeks and to place guidelines around the use of this data.

Sign the petition today.

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