Gann Says Warrantless License Plate Scanner Tracking is Not Authorized By State Law

Mar 21, 2024
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, issued a statement today about the failure of legislation that would have authorized the use of license plate scanner technology for a purpose beyond insurance verification.

"In 2016, the Legislature made the unfortunate decision to authorize the use of license plate scanner technology for the purpose of insurance verification," Gann said. "That law limited the use of this intrusive technology to that purpose only. This year, the Legislature considered House Bill 3570, which was not heard prior to the March 14 third-reading deadline for bills in their chamber of origin. Also considered was Senate Bill 1620, which was defeated on March 14 by a wide margin — becoming one of the very few bills to be defeated on the Senate floor. These bills would have authorized the use of this technology for purposes other than insurance verification. As these laws have failed, it's important for the public and city councils across the state to know that: There is no specific statutory authorization for using these systems beyond insurance verification."

While the Legislature was considering these proposals, Gann said numerous concerning details have been brought forward.

He said that while the proponents advocate for its ability to automate National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and Amber Alert scanning, it's clear that the real impact of this technology is to create a database of vehicles' travels, complete with the vehicles' identifiers, including its bumper stickers, and to then allow warrantless searches of that data – data that's stored in the cloud and that is then subsequently shared with many, many diverse government entities including those that are not in Oklahoma, Gann said.

To demonstrate this concern, Gann pointed to the fact that in the past 30 days, Tulsa's data collection has been queried 2,143 times compared to 1,364 Amber and NCIC alerts.

"That's 2,143 searches that have clearly occurred without a warrant and undoubtedly compromised the information of many innocent persons," Gann stated.

Gann also stated that departments that use this technology have been known to share access to the data collection with federal agencies, including the FBI and ATF.

"No Oklahoman should ever have to worry about their movements being shared with the Biden Administration's federal police state," Gann declared. "That's clearly what this technology is enabling."

Gann said in the case of the Del City Police Department, that department appears to be sharing their information with more than 60 other government entities including the U.S. Postal Service, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and the Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center.

In addition to sharing Oklahomans' travel data with many government entities, the technology also appears to allow government entities to create custom watch lists that will inform them whenever certain people attempt to travel into or within their city limits, Gann said.

"In my view, these abuses are clear violations of the Fourth Amendment and are not specifically authorized by state law," Gann said. "By not hearing House Bill 3570 and defeating Senate Bill 1620 by such a wide margin, the Legislature has clearly signaled that it doesn't intend to authorize them at any point in the near future."

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