R.T. Rybak requests reclassification of license plate data as "Not Public"
Rybak wants plate data gathered by these cameras to no longer be publicly accessible.
A day after we told you about how the MPD's publicly available license plate data could be used by stalkers to track their victims, Mayor R.T. Rybak is requesting the state remove that information from the public realm.
In a Facebook post announcing his decision, Rybak wrote, "While LPR data can aid in the work of the Minneapolis Police Department, residents also deserve to have this data, and their privacy, protected."
Here's Rybak's entire statement:
I have directed the City Attorney's office to request that the State Department of Administration temporarily reclassify License Plate Reader Data as Not Public Data under the Minnesota Data Practices Act.
I am doing so because it is a problem that under current State law, this data is public. While LPR data can aid in the work of the Minneapolis Police Department, residents also deserve to have this data, and their privacy, protected. Keeping this balance is critical. We need the Legislature to make a permanent change in State law, but we as a City also need to act sooner than they can. This is why the City Attorney's office, at my direction, started the paperwork to request this reclassification yesterday.
The Legislature is already expected to take action this session to reclassify license plate tracking data, which is derived from cameras mounted on local police squad cars across the state. But after complying with a request for Minneapolis' entire public database [one of the requests was made by self-described hacker and data nerd Tony Webster, who we featured in Tuesday's blog post] -- featuring dates, times and locations of all plates scanned in a 90 day period -- Rybak wants more immediate action...
[Rybak's] request to temporarily reclassify the data would, if approved by the Commissioner of Administration, prevent the city from releasing the tracking data to members of the public...
Once the request is sent, the commissioner has 45 days to make a decision and may decide it also applies to other government entities.
The city of St. Paul stores license plate scanner data for two weeks, while the State Patrol keeps it for just two days.
In correspondence with City Pages, Webster applauded Rybak's request, though he noted he wasn't able to read the mayor's statement himself because R.T. defriended and blocked him after he took to Facebook to ask "Rybak and several City Council Members for their support in safeguarding this data."
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