Sacramento Sheriff is sharing license plate reader data with anti-abortion states, records show

July 06, 2023

In 2015, Democratic Elk Grove Assemblyman Jim Cooper voted for Senate Bill 34, which restricted law enforcement from sharing automated license plate reader (ALPR) data with out-of-state authorities. According to documents that the Sheriff’s Office provided EFF through a public records request, it has shared license plate reader data with law enforcement agencies in states that have passed laws banning abortion, including Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas. Adam Schwartz, EFF senior staff attorney, called automated license plate readers “a growing threat to everyone’s privacy ... that are out there by the thousands in California.”Automated license plate readers are often fixed to stationary locations, or police vehicles, and can collect thousands of license plate images that then are stored in a digital cloud. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office isn’t the only one sharing that data; in May, EFF released a report showing that 71 law enforcement agencies in 22 California counties — including Sacramento County — were sharing such data. It went on to say that organizations like EFF “have lied that law enforcement sharing this information is an attempt to violate people’s legal rights.