An open records analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union released a few weeks ago shows that multiple Texas police departments are using license plate readers to capture and store information on the traveling patterns of everyday drivers.
Automatic license-plate readers are cameras mounted on police patrol cars, road signs and bridges that scan car license plates and check to see if there are any violations on record. According to Tom Hargis with the ACLU of Texas, many police departments in the state are keeping that data beyond the initial scan for years at a time.
President Obama said the balance between liberty and security is a tricky. As the National Security Agency tries to defend its data collection practices in the wake of the Eric Snowden leak, the debate continues around the issue with little chance of abating anytime soon. Julian Sanchez from the Cato Institute and Ron Sievert from Texas A&M University will make their cases.
A bill addressing privacy issues would require police and other state agencies to develop signage for any area of the state under the watch of a surveillance camera.
The House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety heard House Bill 3165, which not only requires that those using surveillance cameras put up a notice, it also requires those agencies have a website where the public can view a live stream of what is being filmed.