Protection versus privacy: License-plate scanners spark controversy

The City of Glen Cove is upping its use of high-tech gadgets to track down scofflaws on its streets, but some critics say they're concerned

GLEN COVE - The City of Glen Cove is upping its use of high-tech gadgets to track down scofflaws on its streets, but some critics say they're concerned about potential privacy violations.Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi says the city is planning to install half a dozen license-plate scanners in certain spots. The technology is used to identify uninsured and stolen vehicles, he says, and the scanners will pick up the plates of every car that enters or exits the city by Route 107.In addition, some 50 surveillance cameras are slated to be installed in various parking garages and around the city's downtown district. Some residents say the changes will make them feel safer, but others say they believe the city is crossing a line.Samantha Fredrickson, of the American Civil Liberties Union, says she has serious questions about the cameras and scanners and argues that they violate privacy rights. She says the city should make clear how the scanner images are going to be used, how long they will be stored and who will be able to access the images.

Suozzi says only police will have access to the images and they'll be stored for about a month.

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