360° Coverage : License-reader firm says new law curbs free speech

2 Updates

License-reader firm says new law curbs free speech

Feb 13 2014, 1:28pm CST | by

WASHINGTON (AP) — The surveillance industry is fighting back. A company that makes automated license plate readers sued Utah's government Thursday over a new law there intended to...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

36 weeks ago

License-reader firm says new law curbs free speech

Feb 13 2014, 1:28pm CST | by

WASHINGTON (AP) — The surveillance industry is fighting back. A company that makes automated license plate readers sued Utah's government Thursday over a new law there intended to protect drivers' privacy.

Digital Recognition Network Inc. of Fort Worth, which makes license-plate readers that rapidly scan the tags of passing vehicles, argues that a new state ban on license-plate scanning by private companies infringes on its free-speech rights to collect and disseminate the information it captures, and has effectively put it out of business there.

The case is an early example of pushback as Congress and state legislatures consider proposals to rein in phone-records collection, drones and license-plate readers. At least 14 states are considering measures that would curb such collections.

Republican state Sen. Todd Weiler, who sponsored the new law, said his proposal gained momentum after legislators discovered police were gathering widespread data from mobile license-plate readers. He said those cameras can be useful, such as recovering stolen cars, but he worried about the privacy implications when organizations store that data indefinitely.

"It's one thing to take a photo," he said. "It's another to take photos every 80th of a millisecond, and then store that data you can later be identified by."

The Texas company says it's not a police agency — law enforcement already is exempt from the ban under Utah's new law — nor can it access in bulk federally protected driver data that personally identifies the letters and numbers it collects from license plates in public. The company said it only wants to find cars that have been stolen or repossessed, not to cull large swaths of data and incriminate people from their travel habits.

"People tend to invoke privacy and suspend judgment and skepticism," said Michael Carvin of Jones Day, a law firm representing the company and Vigilant Solutions Inc., a license-data network that shares information with authorities to find missing people. "We don't track people," he said.

Thursday's lawsuit marks one of the first times surveillance-technology firms have invoked the First Amendment arguments to defend their businesses. The lawsuit, which asks a federal judge to put Utah's law on hold, relies in part on the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling. It stripped away restrictions on corporate and union spending in elections on free-speech grounds.

The company's founder, Todd Hodnett, said the technology has helped recover more than 300,000 stolen cars in five years. Companies like Vigilant have lobbied the federal government recently on law-enforcement uses of license-plate-reader technology.

Revelations about surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency have driven a sustained debate since summer on the balance between privacy and government intrusion. Classified NSA documents, leaked to news organizations, showed the NSA was collecting telephone records, emails and video chats of millions of Americans who were not suspected of a crime.

Some state legislatures have been unhappy with the speed Congress has pushed for reform. Their proposals include a Colorado law that would limit the retention of images from license-plate readers, an Oregon bill that would require "urgent circumstances" to obtain cellphone location data and a Delaware plan designed to enhance privacy protections for text messages.

Republicans and Democrats have joined in proposing the measures, reflecting the unusual mix of political alliances formed since the NSA revelations. Establishment leadership has generally favored the programs, while conservative, limited-government advocates and liberal privacy supporters have opposed them.

Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said license-plate readers pose substantial privacy risks because they can aggregate millions of license-plate hits. "That poses the possibility of charting people's movements in great detail over time," she said. She acknowledged that laws like Utah's raise questions that should balance First Amendment rights, such as taking photos in public.

___

Associated Press writer Nigel Duara in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report.

___

Follow Jack Gillum at http://twitter.com/jackgillum

Source: AP Business

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 by 30 per ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tr ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

China launches test return orbiter for lunar mission
Beijing, Oct 24 (IANS) China launched an unmanned spacecraft early Friday to test technologies to be used in the Chang'e-5, a future probe that will conduct the country's first moon mission and return to the Earth.
 
 
Mali confirms first Ebola case
Bamako, Oct 24 (IANS) The first case of Ebola virus was reported in western Mali town of Kayes, the country's health ministry has said.
 
 
Unesco chief condemns murder of Paraguayan journalists
Paris, Oct 24 (IANS/EFE) Unesco Director-General Irina Bokova Friday condemned the murder of Paraguayan journalist Pablo Medina Velazquez and his assistant Antonia Maribel Almada Chamorro, who were shot dead Oct 16 near Curuguaty in southeastern Paraguay.
 
 
Kidney stones may increase bone fracture risk
Washington, Oct 24 (IANS) People, especially women, who develop kidney stones may be at increased risk of experiencing bone fractures, finds a research.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Second MERS case reported in Qatar
Doha, Oct 23 (IANS) A 43-year-old man in Qatar has tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the second confirmed case of the deadly virus in 10 days, media reported Thursday. The patient had...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Two people die in Pakistan bomb blast
Islamabad, Oct 23 (IANS) At least two people were killed and 12 others injured in an explosion that took place in Pakistan's Balochistan province Thursday, media reported. The bomb was planted on a motorcycle, Dawn...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Trott extends contract with Warwickshire till 2017
London, Oct 23 (IANS) England batsman Jonathan Trott, whose mental issues led to his abrupt departure from last winter's Ashes tour, has confirmed his successful comeback to competitive cricket by signing a new three-...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap big movers in BWF rankings
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings released Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Alvin Stardust dead
London, Oct 23 (IANS) English singer Alvin Stardust died after a short illness. He was 72. Stardust's manager confirmed the news about his demise Thursday, reports mirror.co.uk. He was recently diagnosed with...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian man reunited with family after 40 years
Dubai, Oct 23 (IANS) An Indian man, who had disappeared from his hometown in Kerala nearly 40 years ago, has been found by his family at a hospital in Dubai in the UAE, a newspaper report said. Now in his 60s, Abdulla...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap, Saina rise in world rankings
Kala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest released Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Flintoff signs for Big Bash side Brisbane Heat
Brisbane, Oct 23 (IANS) Former England captain and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who retired from international cricket in 2009, Wednesday confirmed that he will play for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL) this...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
OPEC daily basket price falls again
Vienna, Oct 23 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $81.94 a barrel Wednesday compared to $82.09 Tuesday, the OPEC Secretariat said. The new OPEC...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Lopez to sign multi-million dollar deal?
Los Angeles, Oct 23 (IANS) Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is reportedly in the final stages of securing a multi-million dollar deal to perform in Las Vegas. The 45-year-old is being offered $350,000 per show at The...
Read more on Celebrity Balla