License Plate Recognition (LPR) data

License Plate Recognition (LPR) Data
LPR data is data from police cameras that scan and capture images of automobile license plates, and correlate those images to GPS location information. Plate information is then cross-checked against a database of open warrants and stolen vehicles for “hits.”

Data classification prior to Session
Prior to the 2013 session, all LPR data was presumptively public, and could be requested by anyone. Stories run by the Star Tribune newspaper in 2012 raised the public profile of LPR technology, and its data status became an issue during the session.

MNCOGI position
Going into the session, MNCOGI’s position on LPR data was that all such data should be given a “not public” classification for a short period of time, in order to allow the data to be properly segregated. Then, all “hit” data should be retained as public “incident” data, while all “non-hit” data should be destroyed. In addition, MNCOGI advocated for the public to have as much information as possible about the use of LPR technology.

Several LPR bills were introduced during the legislative session – one in the House, and two in the Senate (SF 210, SF 385, and HF 474). Certain of the bills attempted to classify “hit” data as “private” or “nonpublic” for a period of time, while mandating an immediate purge of all other data.

Procedural history
During a Senate hearing, law enforcement representatives sought – and won – an amendment to SF 385 that maintained all LPR data as “private or nonpublic” for 90 days before being destroyed. SF 385 never went to a floor vote in the Senate.

The House bill (HF 474) mandated the destruction of LPR data upon collection unless the data constituted “hit” data, in which case it was classified as “confidential or protected nonpublic,” so long as it was part of an active criminal investigation. The bill also contained several provisions relating to access to information about LPR technology – including the number and placement of LPR cameras, hours of use, and aggregate numbers of plates scanned. HF 474 went to a floor vote, and was passed by the House of Representatives.

Just prior to the start of the Session, the City of Minneapolis applied to IPAD for a temporary classification for its LPR data, and sought to make all such data “not public” – including much data on LPR operations. Such a classification would apply until the Legislature chose to act. The Commissioner of Administration then determined to make the temporary classification apply to LPR data statewide.

MNCOGI filed comments in opposition to the temporary classification request. On March 18, 2013, the Commissioner issued a temporary classification that categorized certain LPR data as “private” or “nonpublic” – a classification that became binding, statewide.

The following LPR data became “private/nonpublic” under the terms of the temporary classification: License plate images, numbers, and time/date/location information regarding individual vehicles. Much data relating to the operation of LPR systems is still public.

Minneapolis application for temporary classification
MNCOGI comments on Minneapolis classification
• Commissioner’s temporary classification
SF 210
SF 385
HF 474
Senate Judiciary Committee agenda, Feb 26, 2013, noting MNCOGI testimony related to SF 385
MNCOGI e-mail to House Civil Law Committee members in support of 1st engrossment of HF 474