Metro Council considering revisions to uses of license plate reader cameras

Posted at 9:10 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 12:38:15-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — While it's still unknown when license plate reading cameras will be set up in Nashville, Metro Council members are still fine-tuning what the cameras can and can't do.

During Tuesday’s meeting, council members approved three bills on the first of three votes that would tweak some of the language of the ordinance they approved two weeks ago. The bills would exclude information collected from the cameras from being used for immigration enforcement, give the Metro Community Oversight Board equal access to all the data and define what is "personally identifiable information" to protect privacy.

The bills still have to pass two more votes before the changes will be approved.

One of the co-sponsors of the three bills, Metro Council Member Dave Rosenberg, said many portions of the original bill are unclear and could result in legal challenges. He expected the three bills voted on Tuesday to be the first of many to clarify portions of the bill.

The vote comes two weeks after council members approved a bill 22-14 which will start a six-month pilot program for the cameras. However, a public meeting must be held before the cameras can be implemented. No date is set yet for that meeting.

License plate readers capture images of license plates that pass by and provide that data to law enforcement. The approved legislation allows the use of the data for investigating and prosecuting felony offenses, violent crimes, stolen vehicles and missing persons cases.

Debate on this issue has been ongoing for more than a year. Throughout that time period, supporters have argued that the technology is an important tool for law enforcement, but opponents expressed concerns about infringing on individual rights and privacy.