Coral Gables' use of license plate readers goes against Constitution, New Civil Liberties Alliance attorney says

By Carrie Bradon | Nov 1, 2018

Coral Gables resident Raul Mas Canosa is suing the city and the state in a complaint that alleges he has been followed for years through the use of the state's license plate readers, and his attorney believes his client's constitutional rights have been violated. 

"If you look at the way the city initially envisioned the license plate reading program, it was clear that their original consideration was for a 30-day retention program, and because of the cover that was given by the administrative agencies, they changed that to three years of data retention," Mas Canosa's attorney, Caleb Kruckenberg with New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), told the Florida Record.

Kruckenberg said his organization tries to protect individuals against encroachment from administrative agencies, which the group is very concerned about, which is why NCLA is representing Mas Canosa.

"We have a situation with two administrative agencies in Florida, the Florida Department of State and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and in our view, they are issuing guidelines to municipalities that are inconsistent with constitutional requirements," Kruckenberg said. "The administrative agencies are giving communities the green light to violate constitutional rights."


Caleb Kruckenberg   NCLA website photo

Mas Canosa sais he believes he is subject to a highly invasive system that is recording every movement he makes in the city, despite no misdeeds on his part. 

"In previous challenges to license plate readers, some courts have rejected the challenges because the old view taken by some courts is that a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy with their license plate information because it is public facing and can be seen from the outside," Kruckenberg said. 

Kruckenberg said that developments in recent years negates that claim and residents should still have a reasonable expectation of privacy in regards to this information. Law enforcement agencies using the readers to collect information on a resident with out any reasonable suspicion is an overstepping of the agencies, he said.

"To our estimation, license plate readers go beyond that constitutional limit because of the amount of data that they can collect and the amount of information that it available to law enforcement through the system," Kruckenberg said. "We filed this lawsuit because we think we are correct and we think that we're going to win, an we'll pursue this as long as necessary to get the correct outcome."

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