Tag readers are used to obtain information from license plates and are increasingly used throughout Georgia to apprehend people suspected of crimes.
As Georgia’s crime rate continues to surge above national averages, law enforcement officials in Atlanta and throughout the state have gotten more aggressive in apprehending offenders. Police in Fulton County and other communities are increasingly relying on digital technology to supplement their own investigative efforts. Tag readers are being used to scan license plate numbers and obtain information about the drivers. This information can end up playing a major role in filing criminal charges. As experienced Atlanta criminal defense attorneys representing clients throughout the state, we have concerns about the legalities, how the information is shared with others, and whether tag readers violate your privacy rights.
Tag Readers New Go-To Technology For Georgia Law Enforcement Officials
Tag readers are being used around the country to aid in law enforcement efforts. Georgia is no exception. Recent reports by SafeWise show our area continues to rank about national averages in terms of the number of violent and property crimes which occur each year. As a result, local counties are more willing to make the investment in this type of technology.
Tag readers use cameras mounted on police cars, traffic lights, and other areas to scan drivers’ license plates as they pass. This reveals personal information about the drivers, the vehicles they are operating, and the locations they have been. This can then be scanned through the system to determine if the person is wanted by police or a suspect in a criminal case. According to a report by WSBTV News in Atlanta, there are two opposing viewpoints when it comes to their use:
● Police credit tag readers with making their job easier and efforts at apprehending criminals more effective.
● Critics claim that collecting license plate reader (LPR) data violates individual privacy rights and is a form of mass surveillance. They are concerned about how information is shared and how long it is kept.
Are Tag Readers Legal?
Tag readers are authorized for use under Section 35-1-22 of the Georgia Code. The law specifies who can use them and in what situations:
● Automated license plate recognition systems may be used by police, the Department of Transportation, schools, public transit providers, code enforcement officers, and other state or local government agencies.
● They are authorized for use in preventing or detecting crimes and for the enforcement of criminal, traffic, regulatory, and controlled substance laws.
Information sharing among officials is permitted, but restricted to law enforcement purposes. All data must be destroyed 30 months after it is collected.
Get Our Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorneys on Your Side
If you are facing criminal charges as a result of information collected via a tag reader, Ghanayem & Rayasam is a strong ally on your side to ensure your rights are protected. To discuss whether this information can be used against you, contact our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys and schedule a confidential consultation today.