Coral Gables resident says city’s automatic license plate recognition cameras are a constitutional violation – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When Raul Mas drives round his hometown of Coral Gables, he is aware of he’s being watched and recorded.

“These cameras operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year day or night,” Mas mentioned. “It doesn’t matter and those images are being stored for three years.”

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He’s speaking in regards to the ALPR or Automatic License Plate Recognition cameras. There are 14 stationary, three moveable and two mounted in patrol vehicles in Coral Gables.

“I don’t have any criminal background, criminal record. That I know of, I’m not under any criminal suspicious. Yet, the government knows where I am, where I go, what I do, who I hang out with, who I talk to, who my doctor is,” Mas mentioned.

Mas is suing. He mentioned within the first two years of operation the ALPR snapped almost 400 photographs of his tag. There are a whole lot extra now. He’s troubled that the pictures are saved for 3 years.

“I am very concerned that information is not being safeguarded properly. And it’s being misused, quite frankly,” he mentioned.

Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak defined, “The only persons that see this information is the police department and only in the furtherance to solve a crime or apprehend a subject.”

Chief Hudak mentioned guardrails are in place.

“Nobody in my department can just unilaterally start following somebody through the ALPR system. One it doesn’t align itself to do that, plus we have safeguards in place when the system is look at in a historical nature,” Chief Hudak mentioned.

The cameras are monitored within the Criminal Intelligence Center on the police division. When CBS4 News was allowed in, we had been solely seeing solely the CCTV cameras. The ALPR system is off limits to us and almost everybody else.

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“It has to be about a case,” Hudak mentioned. “There has to be a sign off to that where somebody is asked to do it.”

Chief Hudak says because the system was put in in 2017 there have been 280 requests to take a look at photographs. And it’s helped them clear up quite a few crimes.

“We’ve solved car jackings, burglaries, missing persons cases, robberies, burglaries, bank robberies, bank burglaries through our camera system. Both camera and ALPR system,” he mentioned.

Mas’ legal professional, Sheng Li, is with the New Civil Liberties Alliance.

“This lawsuit is about an American citizen’s right to privacy in his own town,” Li mentioned.

He calls this warrantless surveillance and a constitutional violation.

“Citizens have a right to privacy to the history of their movements and it’s the extended recording of tracking their movement that violates the expectation of privacy,” Li mentioned.

Mas lost this case in circuit courtroom in Miami-Dade. He’s already filed an attraction and is ready for the appeals courtroom to listen to the case.

License plate readers are utilized in most communities in Miami-Dade and Broward ultimately.

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The communities the place they are not used embody: Lauderdale Lakes, Sea Ranch Lakes, West park, Pembroke Park and Lazy Lake in Broward. In Miami-Dade they are not utilized in El Portal, Surfside, Virginia Gardens and West Miami.

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