Futuristic Police Technology Concerns Lawmakers

November 07, 2017 08:14 PM

The idea of police watching you through your walls may sound farfetched, but not to some Minnesota lawmakers.

At a meeting of the state Legislative Commission on Data Practices Tuesday, lawmakers voiced concerns over futuristic technology that could invade your privacy.


RELATED: MnDOT Taking Pictures of Carpool Lane Cheaters

Here's a real-life example of what State Sen. Warren Limmer wants to avoid: he recalled how lawmakers didn't know Minneapolis police were using license plate readers until about six years after they were already in use. In other words, when you drove past one of those cameras years ago, your time, date and location was recorded. You just didn't know it. 

"I'm not concerned about the bad guy out there and law enforcement going after them," said Limmer, R-Maple Grove. "I'm concerned about protecting a semblance of privacy that every citizen should expect."

Politicians from both sides of the aisle said they shared those concerns, but determining how to protect citizens is an entirely different problem.

"How can we do this so we're not beating our heads on the wall about every device that comes out?" said State Sen. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park.

RELATED: Body Cameras, Now Gun Cameras? Some Police Trying Them Out

All kinds of tech came up during the meeting. Some rumored, like the X-ray technology that would allow police to see through your walls and into your homes; and some a little more realistic, like reports saying police could soon have radar-gun-like devices to catch people who are texting and driving.

RELATED: Police Departments Install Anti-Ambush Technology in Squads

Bottom line, the lawmakers hope to stay ahead of the technology, something often easier said than done.

"It's just been a frustration of mine as a policymaker," Limmer said, "trying to catch up to technology that in some cases, a law enforcement agency might be using for six years and we don't even know about it."


Josh Rosenthal

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