The Senate passed a bill Friday designed to change laws about automatic license plate readers in a way lawmakers hope would rein in Big Brother surveillance of people but not run afoul of the First Amendment
SB222 advanced on a 27-0 vote on its way to the House
Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, sponsor of the bill, said he hopes it will resolve a lawsuit filed earlier this month against the state by Digital Recognition Network Inc. and Vigilant Solutions Inc. over a law he successfully pushed last year.
The companies contend Utah now limits use of such technology to law officers and parking-enforcement agents and limits how long they may archive data gathered. They say it violates their First Amendment right to take pictures of license plates in public places and store them.
Weiler’s new bill would change the law to allow private companies to take the photos and store them as long as they like. But it would not allow state and local government agencies to buy them from any company that does not comply with the same nine-month storage limit placed on government.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, praised the bill, saying it would avoid using data from private agencies "as a subterfuge" to storage requirements for law-enforcement agencies.
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