Oklahoma ACLU seeks information on planned highway camera system

An Oklahoma civil rights organization says it is concerned the public’s privacy rights might be violated by a proposed insurance verification enforcement system that would use highway surveillance cameras.

A local civil rights organization Wednesday said it is concerned that privacy rights of Oklahomans could be violated by a proposed state contract to use highway traffic cameras to identify motorists without vehicle insurance.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma issued a news release announcing it has submitted an open records request to the state Department of Public Safety seeking information about a proposed insurance verification enforcement system.

“While the state has a vested interest in demanding all drivers are insured, it is not acceptable if the information captured from this elaborate camera system is used for any other purposes,” said C.S. Thornton, deputy director of ACLU of Oklahoma.

For example, it would be an abuse of authority to use information obtained under the guise of insurance verification to identify locations of people with outstanding arrest warrants, contends Tamya Cox, legislative counsel and program director for ACLU Oklahoma.

The Department of Public Safety is evaluating bids submitted by four companies that are competing for the contract.

Former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football coach Barry Switzer has been promoting InsureNet, which is part of the Oklahoma Public Safety Consortium which is one of the bidders seeking the contract. The other bidders are Canadian-based Intelligent Imaging Systems of Edmonton, Alberta; MV VeriSol, headquartered in Kingston, Ga.; and American Traffic Solutions, based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

State officials are counting on the system to raise at least $50 million in additional revenue next fiscal year.

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