The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and Electronic Frontier Foundation won a lawsuit Thursday that will require the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to fulfill their request for one week's worth of data from their automatic license plate readers (ALPR). This overturns a Superior Court decision that said these public records are protected as records of law enforcement investigations.
ALPRs have become more and more common over the past several years. Many toll roads, such as the Massachusetts Turnpike, have abolished traditional toll booths and now use ALPRs to charge drivers who do not have an EZ-Pass. Many police cruisers have also been fitted with ALPR equipment, which automatically alerts the officer if a plate associated with a violation is scanned.