INDIANAPOLIS — Police in Indianapolis are using cameras to keep tabs on you, and it’s all perfectly legal.
Some Indianapolis Metro Police cruisers have been fitted with special high-speed cameras to track your comings and goings, even if you are not the suspect of a crime. It uses an automatic license plate reader that takes pictures of your license plate as you drive by a cop car and then turns the information into searchable data.
Indiana State Police said they use the technology as well across the rest of the state.
Indiana School of Law professor Shawn Boyne, who has worked as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney in the past said the camera toe a fine line with violating your constitutional rights.
“When we talk about our constitutional rights, we have freedom of travel, the freedom of not being under surveillance, the freedom of speech,” Boyne said to WISH-TV. “As a lawyer, I would be concerned, if I go to a protest, that my license plate might be being tracked and my right to free speech could then be chilled.”
She added that collecting information from an automatic license plate reader is not like gathering other evidence.
“In order to get a warrant, you have to have probable cause that an individual has committed or is going to commit a crime,” she said. “So with these license plate readers, there’s no similar legal requirement that must be evaluated by a judge prior to their use.”
Indiana has no laws on the books regulating automatic license plate readers. The legislature has considered it in the past but never advanced any bill into law.
A spokesperson for IMPD said the department does not restrict the use of the cameras to the investigation of specific crimes. ISP said it uses automatic license plate readers to find habitual traffic violators, stolen vehicles, and people driving with suspended licenses.
Stephanie Zepelin contributed to this article.