• ACLU calling on local agencies to stop sharing data with immigration agents

    By: Steve Gehlbach

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - A new report says immigration agents are using license plate reader data from local police to track illegal immigrants.

    The American Civil Liberties Union shared a map showing where agencies are using license plate readers.

    It says 80 of them are sharing their information with ICE.

    Gwinnett County Police is one of the agencies listed on the report.

    The ACLU is calling on local law enforcement around the country, including many agencies in the metro area, to stop sharing data with ICE.

    The organization says cameras mounted in places like at intersections, on toll lanes, and on police cars are being used to track people's location and movements.

    The ACLU calls it a surveillance dragnet.

    They have uncovered thousands of U.S. immigration agents use the database that draws and stores the information from license plate readers across the country.

    During a recent Channel 2 News Investigation, the state patrol told us how they use it.
    "We can type in a tag and can give us a time and date stamp and GPS coordinate of where that tag was last seen,” a trooper said.

    But citing privacy laws, the ACLU fears sharing the location data with ICE can lead to baseless traffic stops and false arrests.

    "They're a form of mass surveillance," Dace Maass of The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit privacy rights group, said.

    He says readers can reveal personal details on innocent people.

    "The government should not be collecting information on everybody in order to go after a small portion of people," he said.

    Local law enforcement says they have used the readers to find stolen cars, to locate suspects near crime scenes, even solve violent crimes.

    The ACLU uncovered ICE has a contract with license reading company "Vigilant Solutions"

    That is the contractor in Gwinnett County and stores all the information from the cameras.

    The list also includes Woodstock, Hiram, Fayette County and others from the metro area all sharing their data.

    Next Up: