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April 1, 2019

A Fairfax judge has granted our petition for injunctive relief in our case Neal v. Fairfax County Police Department, ruling use of automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) by the Fairfax County Police Department for passive surveillance not related to an authorized criminal investigation is illegal. The ACLU of Virginia welcomes this ruling in favor of our client, as this technology should not be used to monitor the comings and goings of people's daily lives. 

This case demonstrates that random mass surveillance by law enforcement agencies is not exempt from the requirements of Virginia's Government Data Collection and Dissemination Act (the Data Act). Although this decision applies only to Fairfax County, we hope police departments across the Commonwealth will take note and adjust their practices accordingly.