No License Plate Readers In New Hampshire, Lawmakers Rule

Jan 17, 2014

The New Hampshire House not only rejected allowing police to use license plate scanners, it then took the extra step of voting 214-135 to forbid that the issue be revisited in any form this year.

While supporters argued that plates information would be retained in the scanners for just 3 minutes, and might help solve crimes, critics like Manchester Democrat Joel Winters argued they erode privacy and embolden police to improperly conduct surveillance on the innocent.

"It lets us put license plate readers on every police vehicle," he said. "Every sheriff’s deputy can have one on their car, every state trooper, every police cruiser. You could even put one on a BearCat [armored police vehicle] if you wanted to."

The bill was backed by the N.H. Chiefs of Police. It was partially prompted incidents Hanover, where police were scanning plates of parked cars without the legal authority to do so.

This story republished with permission from NHPR.