Virginia limits how long cops can hang on to automated license plate reader data: 7 days

Virginia has become the first U.S. state in America strictly limit how long data from automated license plate readers can be retained by law enforcement.

Cops in Virginia will now only be permitted to keep license plate data captured by the devices known as LPRs or ALPRs for seven days, unless there is an active, ongoing criminal investigation.

Cyrus Farivar at Ars Technica:

New Hampshire previously banned the devices outright, while Maine has imposed a 21-day limit. However, many jurisdictions nationwide, ranging from the New York State Police to the Oakland Police Department, have no formal data retention limit. That means the location data—often resulting in millions of records collected over years—is effectively kept forever.

Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) signed the Virginia bill into law on March 10, and it will take effect on July 1. His spokesman did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment.

"It is great to see that Virginia legislators have recognized the threats to privacy posed by longer ALPR retention periods and also recognized that longer retention periods aren't necessary to serve the main purposes of ALPRs—finding wanted and stolen vehicles," Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars by e-mail.

"Virginia passes shortest limit in US on keeping license plate reader data" [Ars Technica]