Civil Liberties

Canada's Privacy Commissioner Opens Inquiry Into License Plate Readers

The push back to the devices begins


The use of Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR, also known as ANPR in the UK) is coming under increasing scrutiny in North America. The American Civil Liberties Union in July began requesting data from law enforcement agencies around the country so the activist group's lawyers could examine data collection policies. On Thursday, British Columbia, Canada's Information and Privacy Commissioner released the results of an official audit that took six months to look at whether use of the devices by the Victoria Police Department violates the law.

Commissioner Elizabeth Denham opened her inquiry after receiving a number of requests from concerned members of the public. She focused on determining whether use of cameras to track and store license plate data from all passing vehicles, even when their occupants were not suspected of any crime, was permissible under Canada's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).