Press Release

Providence to triple the number of license plate readers in the city

“The Providence Police Department’s plan to imminently triple the number of Flock Safety surveillance cameras in the city only compounds the intrusiveness of the technology and the clear dangers to civil liberties it represents,” writes the Rhode Island ACLU.
Photo for Providence to triple the number of license plate readers in the city

Published on December 15, 2022

The following is a press release and not an Uprise RI-written news story.

The ACLU of Rhode Island issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s press conference by the Providence Mayor and Police Department addressing crime statistics in the City and announcing the planned implementation of sixty additional Flock Safety surveillance cameras throughout the City in the upcoming weeks.

Video of that press conference is here. For previous coverage, see: Providence officials rush to install automatic license plate readers as privacy backlash builds

“The Providence Police Department’s plan to imminently triple the number of Flock Safety surveillance cameras in the city only compounds the intrusiveness of the technology and the clear dangers to civil liberties it represents. With Mayor Elorza’s statements today that crime in Providence is at historically low levels – for reasons totally unrelated to the use of these cameras – it makes little sense to drastically expand a system of surveillance that many community members, community organizations, and even city council members have expressed opposition to or concerns about.  

“Especially in light of the crime data trumpeted by city officials, there is no justification for promoting a technology that places reams of data about all drivers in the city – with no meaningful limitations on its use – in the hands of a private company which has no legal obligation to responsibly maintain or use this information.  

“Indiscriminate and far-reaching surveillance efforts promote a police state, not community safety. We denounce the increase of this surveillance technology and urge the city to instead invest in robust housing, educational, and economic supports, all of which promote public safety and trust in the community rather than suspicion.”

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