Falls Just Short of Homerun Call for Binding Resolution
One year after the York County Libertarian Party requested a moratorium on the deployment of automatic license plate scanners in York City, efforts to protect the privacy interests of York residents seem to be coming to a head.
Spurred by a recently announced ACLU initiative seeking records on license plate scanner usage in 38 states across the U.S., York city councilman Michael Helfrich raised concerns about scanners in York being deployed without proper protections in place to protect citizens’ privacy.
I commend councilman Helfrich for taking the lead in pursuing the issue of privacy and license plate scanners from within city government. Up until this point, no other city official has even bothered to mention the potential implications of the devices.
Lip Service or Genuine Concern?
It’s important to note that although chief Wes Kahley is currently paying lip service to citizens’ concerns for privacy, that’s not always been the case. Two RTK requests seeking information on the police department’s data policy, filed with the city solicitor’s office by this author, have been denied under homeland security exemptions. The denials go on to state that no information will be released about the scanners or their usage. Councilman Helfrich has been provided those documents for review.
What the residents of York need is for Helfrich to continue his push for transparency and accountability. City council should introduce a binding resolution that establishes defined limits for periods of data retention and information sharing.
It’s good to see chief Kahley has studied the IACP license plate scanners privacy impact assessment, which I first brought to his attention at a council meeting in 2011. Let’s hope more comes out of this recent event than just lip service. Councilman Helfrich and his colleagues on council can have a very real impact in this matter. Given that chief Kahley now agrees limits should be placed on how long data is stored, I see no real reason why a binding resolution that is agreeable to all our interests cannot be passed.