Washington, DC, December 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The city of Coral Gables, Florida uses Automatic Number Plate Readers (ALPRs) to collect and store geographic location data from drivers navigating the city, gathers this information and stores it in a database accessible to the police for three years. This warrantless surveillance violates the privacy rights of residents like Raul Mas Canosa, who is suing for the use of ALPRs.
The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a non-partisan, nonprofit civil rights group, has filed a brief opening On Monday in Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals, arguing that the city’s adoption of the ALPR program, based on statewide guidelines issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), violates the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution; and Article I, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution. Mr Mas maintains that the court of first instance erred in decision that there is no constitutional right to privacy in his movements over time if the government stops before monitoring and cataloging every public movement of the individual. He also challenges the trial court ruling that the FDLE guidelines, which interpret Florida law and implement a mandatory and uniform statewide policy, are not a “rule” that would require the development of notification and comment rules.
In 2015, Coral Gables authorized the use of 17 RAPI to form a perimeter of “geo-fencing” around the city in order to provide maximum 24-hour surveillance potential. By 2019, the RAPI program had collected over 106 million images, including 101 million retained for three years in accordance with the City’s data retention plan. Additionally, Coral Gables has chosen to share ALPR data with 68 other jurisdictions, including federal law enforcement.
The discovery in the case revealed that as of January 2019, the City had cataloged 393 photographs of Mr. Mas in Coral Gables. Each photograph includes the precise date, time, latitude and longitude of their vehicle, as well as an estimate of the nearest address and intersection.
Remarkably, even though Mr. Mas alleged constitutional prejudice on the basis of the government’s collection, retention and aggregation of his whereabouts information, the trial court found that he did not established an actionable harm because the government had never “used” this data against it. The NCLA warned the Court of Appeals that the trial court’s standing ruling would prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting their constitutional rights.
The NCLA has issued the following statements:
“The Town of Coral Gables uses ALPR to systematically violate the constitutional rights of all who drive on its roads. The trial court’s decision to allow this warrantless surveillance erodes the right to privacy by failing to recognize how advancements in technology allow the government to monitor our whereabouts in ways that were not possible before. – Jared McClain, Litigation Attorney, NCLA
“If I haven’t done anything wrong I don’t have a criminal record, why is my city watching me? We will wake up one day and find that we have no more rights; that they are all in the hands of the government; that bureaucrats can watch us when and where they want. I’m not ready to do some kind of turnaround and just say, “Okay, go ahead and do it, follow me around the clock.” I don’t think it’s fair. – Raul Mas Canosa, plaintiff, Raul Mas Canosa v. City of Coral Gables, Florida, et al.
ABOUT THE NCLA
NCLA is a non-partisan, non-profit civil rights group founded by a prominent jurist Philippe hamburger protect constitutional freedoms against violations by the administrative state. NCLA public interest litigation and other pro bono advocacy work to tame the illegal power of state and federal agencies and foster a new civil liberties movement that will help restore basic human rights. Americans.
Judy Pino New Alliance for Civil Liberties 202-869-5218 [email protected]
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