Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Case Implicating License Plate Readers

October 31, 2019

Next week the Supreme Court will consider Kansas v. Glover, a case concerning car stops and the status of the registered owner's license. EPIC filed an amicus brief in the case which could lead to police stopping any vehicle if the registered owner's license is suspended. EPIC warned that the Court's decision, when combined with automated license plate readers, could "dramatically alter police practices" and "unfairly burden disadvantaged communities." EPIC provided empirical data for the Court that indicate that police use license plate readers more frequently in disadvantaged communities. EPIC also provided data that car sharing is more prevalent in these communities and therefore that many drivers whose license is not suspended will be stopped. EPIC noted that the Supreme Court has previously established legal safeguards in response to evolving policing techniques, such as GPS tracking devices, (US v. Jones), cell phones searches (Riley v. California), and location data collection (Carpenter v. United States). EPIC recommended that the Court recognize the role of automated license plate readers in police stops. EPIC routinely files amicus briefs in federal and state courts concerning emerging privacy issues.

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