DHS Renews Plan for Access to License Plate Tracking System

Friday, April 3, 2015
By Paul Martin

By Drew MacKenzie
Friday, 03 Apr 2015

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has renewed a controversial plan that would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials searching for fugitive illegal immigrants to have access to a national license plate tracking system.

A year after abandoning a similar proposal over privacy issues, the department is seeking bids from companies to make such a system available to ICE, a DHS agency, according to The Washington Post.

The DHS reversed itself after realizing it could address fears from civil liberties activists and lawmakers about the dangers of the agency having large-scale access, without warrants, to a system that holds mass data on drivers’ whereabouts, the newspaper noted.

The agency wants to pay companies that already record such information data to say how much they would charge to grant access to ICE officers. But DHS would impose strict limits on how much access ICE officials would have to the license plate tracking system.

“These restrictions will provide essential privacy and civil liberty protections, while enhancing our agents’ and officers’ ability to locate and apprehend suspects who could pose a threat to national security and public safety,” said the department’s spokeswoman Marsha Catron.

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