The ACLU has launched a nationwide effort, including in South Carolina, targeting police department use of automatic license plate readers.
American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in 38 states have sent FOIA requests to local and state law enforcement seeking information on how they use plate readers to track driver movements.
The ACLU of South Carolina sent its Freedom of Information Act requests to the police departments of Columbia and Mt. Pleasant, and to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety about policies and procedures.
State ACLU Executive Director Virginia Middleton said the agencies were approached to get a sense of how jurisdictions are handling the collection, storage and use of the data.
“Tracking people’s movements is a significant invasion of privacy, and under our Constitution, the government should not be collecting information about citizens’ innocent activities in case they might do something wrong,” she said.
Mount Pleasant Police Department spokesman Maj. Stan Gragg said Monday he is going through the ACLU request, which covered a variety of areas, including how frequently the technology is used.
Mount Pleasant has one of the devices, which was borrowed from the state Law Enforcement Division.