BEND, OR -- State legislators are considering limits on the storage of data collected by digital license plate readers used by some police agencies. New technology in use by some law enforcement agencies allows police to quickly navigate license plate data in the search for stolen cars and criminals. But, the use of license plate readers and the storage of data they gather has some lawmakers scrambling to create statewide guidelines. Bend Senator Tim Knopp (R) says that for him, it’s a civil liberties issue. "I think as we get further down the road with technology, we want to make sure our laws are explicit in what law enforcement can do with the different data they are able to collect. Because, just because we can, doesn’t necessarily mean we should."
Knopp says the license plate readers aren’t yet used in Central Oregon, but are in Portland and other cities. Howwever, "Our goal is to make sure we stay in front of the technology as much as we can, to protect our citizen’s rights as we move further down the road with all these technologies that are available. We’re probably further down the road than we would have wanted to be in terms of trying to deal with this. I think it should have been dealt with a few years ago." A similar bill to limit the collection of cell phone location data failed to gain traction in Salem.