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Thread: Ban on Government License Plate Cameras Nears in Montana

  1. #1

    Ban on Government License Plate Cameras Nears in Montana

    Cops in Big Sky Country aren't happy about it, but Montana lawmakers look ready to ban the use of license plate cameras by government agencies to track motorists' movements. The legislative move comes after a stream of revelations of local, state, and federal tracking and databasing of Americans' movements by car, without cause or warrant.

    A year ago, the Department of Homeland Security killed a solicitation for bids to establish and maintain "a National License Plate Recognition (NLPR) database service" after a chorus of public outrage. The DHS plan may actually have been duplication of effort, since the DEA already has a national license plate scanning system maintained with the cooperation of local police. If passed, the Montana measure couldn't block such efforts from D.C., but it would prevent agencies within the state from contributing to those schemes.

    Approved by the House Judiciary Committee on February 13, HB 344 states "an agency or employee of the state or any subdivision of the state may not use, either directly or indirectly, a license plate scanner on any public highway," with limited exceptions. Those exceptions include weigh stations for commercial trucks, city planning so long as driver and vehicle anonymity was maintained, parking control, and tracking government vehicles.

    Interestingly, in a move clearly aimed at preventing technological end runs by police agencies, the bill defines "license plate scanners" broadly.

    In this section, "license plate scanner" means a device principally designed and primarily used for determining the ownership of a motor vehicle, the mileage or route traveled by a motor vehicle, the location or identity of a motor vehicle, or the identity of a motor vehicle's occupants on the public highways, as defined in 60-1-103, through the use of a camera or other imaging device or any other device, including but not limited to a transponder, cellular telephone, global positioning satellite, e-z pass AUTOMATED ELECTRONIC TOLL COLLECTION SYSTEM, automated license plate recognition system, or radio frequency identification device that by itself or in conjunction with other devices or information can be used to determine the ownership of a motor vehicle or the identity of a motor vehicle's occupants or the mileage, location, or route traveled by the motor vehicle.

    According to local press coverage, during the committee hearing on the bill, the measure was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Libertarian Party, and opposed by police.

    "This bill ties the hands of law enforcement. In advance," complained Larry Epstein of the Montana Association of Police Chiefs.

    Well, yeah. That's the idea.

    Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R-Billings), the bill's sponsor, is a young hotshot among liberty-leaning Republicans. Forbes has him on its "30 under 30" list of law and policy movers and shakers. Zolnikov describes himself as "a strong believer in gun rights, civil rights concerning our freedoms and liberties, limited government, a simplified tax code, economic freedom and a competitive job environment." His specialty is privacy issues, and he's currently sponsoring a media shield bill in addition to the measure to protect motorists' privacy. He details his votes and positions on Facebook.
    http://reason.com/blog/2015/02/17/ba...-plate-cameras
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.



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  3. #2
    Not the same bill # but similar.

    Signed by the Governor: Montana Laws to Limit License Plate Tracking and Warrantless Electronic Data Collection

    HELENA, Mont. (April 17, 2017) – On Friday, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed two bills into law that will increase privacy protections in the state and hinder at least two federal surveillance programs. The new laws will ban warrantless collection of data from an electronic device in most situations, and limit the use of Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) in the state.


    Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R-Billings) sponsored both House Bill 149 (HB149) and House Bill 147 (HB147).

    License Plate Tracking

    HB149 prohibits the use of ALPRs except for specified purposes, and will also place limitations on the retention and sharing of data gathered by license plate readers.

    Last month, the Senate passed it by a 48-1 vote. On April 1, the House concurred with the Senate version by a 91-7 vote sending it to the governor.

    Under the new statute, law enforcement agencies will be allowed to use ALPRs for specified law enforcement purposes only. These include identifying stolen vehicles, locating missing persons, locating individuals with outstanding warrants, locating vehicles involved in homicides or other major crimes, and “case-specific investigative surveillance.”

    Any data collected by an ALPR cannot be stored from more than 90 days without a preservation request, or a state or federal warrant. A preservation request will only be valid for one year and will have to be renewed for continuing data storage.

    This new license plate tracking law will prevent the state from creating permanent databases using information collected by ALPRs, and will make it highly unlikely that such data ends up in federal databases.

    Electronic Data Collection

    HB147 prohibits any state or local government unit from obtaining the stored data of an electronic device without a warrant, unless it has the consent of the owner or authorized user of the device, or in accordance with judicially recognized exceptions to warrant requirements. The law will also allow police to access electronic data if the owner has already made the stored data public, or if there exists a possible life-threatening situation.

    Any data obtained in violation of the law will likely be inadmissible in court. The bill also includes provisions authorizing the state attorney general to apply for an injunction or to commence a civil action against any government entity to compel compliance with the law.

    HB147 initially passed the House by a 94-4 vote. The Senate passed a version with some technical amendments on March 23 by a 48-1 vote. The House then concurred with the amendments 96-2, sending the bill to the governor.

    This legislation will work with a second bill to ban warrantless collection of all cell phone data in most situations. HB148 would prohibit warrantless collection of information from service providers and is on the governor’s desk.

    IMPACT ON FEDERAL LICENSE PLATE TRACKING PROGRAMS

    As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the federal government, via the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) tracks the location of millions of vehicles. They’ve engaged in this for over eight years, all without a warrant, or even public notice of the policy.

    State and local law enforcement agencies operate most of these tracking systems, paid for by federal grant money. The DEA then taps into the local database to track the whereabouts of millions of people – for the simple act of driving – without having to operate a huge network itself.

    Since a majority of federal license plate tracking data comes from state and local law enforcement, passage of this legislation would take a major step toward blocking that program from continuing in Montana. The feds can’t access data that doesn’t exist.

    “No data means no federal license plate tracking program,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.

    Law enforcement generally configures ALPRs to store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location of vehicles. But according to newly disclosed records obtained by the ACLU via a Freedom of Information Act request, the DEA is also captures photographs of drivers and their passengers.

    ...
    http://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com...ta-collection/
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.

  4. #3
    Daniel Zolnikov appears to be another legislator in the vein of Amash, Massie and Ron Paul of course

    http://danielzolnikov.com/about-daniel/

  5. #4
    License Plate Tracking

    HB149 prohibits the use of ALPRs except for specified purposes, and will also place limitations on the retention and sharing of data gathered by license plate readers.

    Last month, the Senate passed it by a 48-1 vote. On April 1, the House concurred with the Senate version by a 91-7 vote sending it to the governor.

    Under the new statute, law enforcement agencies will be allowed to use ALPRs for specified law enforcement purposes only. These include identifying stolen vehicles, locating missing persons, locating individuals with outstanding warrants, locating vehicles involved in homicides or other major crimes, and “case-specific investigative surveillance.”

    Any data collected by an ALPR cannot be stored from more than 90 days without a preservation request, or a state or federal warrant. A preservation request will only be valid for one year and will have to be renewed for continuing data storage.

    This new license plate tracking law will prevent the state from creating permanent databases using information collected by ALPRs, and will make it highly unlikely that such data ends up in federal databases.
    Nice! NH for years was the only state that banned ALPRs. Unfortunately, last year, the police pushed very hard, and limited use of ALPRs was finally legalized in NH. Use in NH is more limited than any other state, including MT, but it nice to see other states reforming.

    As for the information collected in a federal database. Sure, NH, MT, and maybe law in other states prevents it. However, we know that the spying branches of the federal government don't follow state or national laws. There might be something build into ALPRs, or perhaps an exploit that the NSA is aware of currently being used by the NSA. We have no idea what is happening with this information, unfortunately


    Daniel Zolnikov appears to be another legislator in the vein of Amash, Massie and Ron Paul of course
    http://danielzolnikov.com/about-daniel/
    It is great to see that these type of folks exist in other states. I learn about them by the dozen in New Hampshire, as everyone knows libertarians get elected as Republicans in NH. It is very encouraging that it occasionally happens in other states
    Lifetime member of more than 1 national gun organization and the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. Part of Young Americans for Liberty and Campaign for Liberty. Free State Project participant and multi-year Free Talk Live AMPlifier.



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