In 2015, Democratic Elk Grove Assemblyman Jim Cooper voted for Senate Bill 34, which restricted law enforcement from sharing automated license plate reader (ALPR) data with out-of-state authorities. In 2023, now-Sacramento County Sheriff Cooper appears to be doing just that.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) a digital rights group, has sent Cooper a letter requesting that the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office cease sharing ALPR data with out-of-state agencies that could use it to prosecute someone for seeking an abortion.
According to documents that the Sheriff’s Office provided EFF through a public records request, it has shared license plate reader data with law enforcement agencies in states that have passed laws banning abortion, including Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas.
Schwartz said that a sheriff in Texas, Idaho or any other state with an abortion ban on the books could use that data to track people’s movements around California, knowing where they live, where they work and where they seek reproductive medical care, including abortions.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office isn’t the only one sharing that data; in May, EFF released a report showing that 71 law enforcement agencies in 22 California counties — including Sacramento County — were sharing such data. The practice is in violation of a 2015 law that states “a (California law enforcement) agency shall not sell, share, or transfer ALPR information, except to another (California law enforcement) agency, and only as otherwise permitted by law.”