Springfield using controversial license plate reader technology

Springfield Parking Authority uses it to check for unpaid tickets, excise tax

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The FBI temporarily halted the use of license plate reader technology, following concerns about privacy. But that kind of technology is used every day in the city of Springfield.

At the federal level law enforcement are able to track suspicious cars or people using the technology that scans license plates.
Something some Springfield residents, like Jeremy Ledoux, say they support if it helps catch criminals.

“I think if they’re using the data instaneously to check like if the car is stolen or is somebody a criminal than that’s okay,” Ledoux said.

But certain privacy groups argue against the practice, calling it an invasion of privacy.

The Springfield Parking Authority uses license plate readers to scan cars driving through the downtown business district,

Springfield City Councilor Tim Rooke told 22News that it is done in an effort to track those who have unpaid parking tickets and excise taxes. Despite the fact that the same technology has been called into question on a federal level, Rooke says the program has been in place in the city for years, and he hasn’t heard any questions about its use so far.

“It’s very popular. It took the city of Springfield a little while to adopt, but since they have, we have generated about $3 million in revenue that we wouldn’t have received,” Rooke said.

He told 22News that the technology is programmed specifically for different uses, but in Springfield, it’s only used to secure unpaid revenue.

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