Eric Tucker and Jack Gillum of AP report:
The FBI has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in license-plate reader technology, but it halted a purchase order at least temporarily after lawyers raised privacy concerns about the surveillance three years ago, according to emails and other documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The FBI’s Video Surveillance Unit conducted testing of an automatic license plate system over a couple of days in December 2007 and found the technology “very impressive,” the documents show.
A 2010 purchase request shows that the technology had already been bought in “limited quantities and deployed to numerous field offices.”
But a separate email from June 2012 reveals internal uncertainty about how the technology should be used, with the author saying that the FBI’s Office of General Counsel was “still wrestling with” license-plate reader privacy issues and that an assistant director had stopped the purchase based on advice from the lawyers.
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