U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses information obtained from license plate readers (LPR) as one investigatory tool in support of its criminal investigations and civil immigration enforcement actions. Because LPR information can be combined with other data to identify individuals and therefore meets the definition of personally identifiable information (PII), ICE is conducting this Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) to describe how it intends to procure the services of a commercial vendor of LPR information in order to expand the availability of this information to its law enforcement personnel. ICE is neither seeking to build nor contribute to a national public or private LPR database.
Law enforcement officers are often searching for vehicles that have been reported stolen, are suspected of being involved in criminal or terrorist activities, are owned by persons who are wanted by authorities, have failed to pay parking violations or maintain current vehicle license registration, and any of a number of other factors. Law enforcement agencies throughout the nation are increasingly adopting automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technologies, which function to automatically capture an image of the vehicle’s license plate, transform that image into alphanumeric characters, compare the plate number acquired to one or more databases of vehicles of interest, and alert the officer when a vehicle of interest has been observed, all within a matter of seconds.