Tag Archives: ACLU

Mary Fallin puts an end to Oklahoma’s drone privacy bill

fallin dronesKaye Beach

March 13, 2013

House Bill 1556 authored by OK Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, working in conjunction with the Oklahoma ACLU,  would have required law enforcement to get a warrant before using drones for surveillance and prohibited civilian drones from carrying weapons.

But today the Governors office put an end to this bill.

Reported by KFOR-TV March 13, 2013;

Bill on drone surveillance put on hold

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would have required law enforcement to get a warrant before using a drone for surveillance has been put on hold.

House Bill 1556 will be held over for the next session.

. . . The move comes as a result of opposition from Gov. Mary Fallin.

Read more and watch the video report at KFOR http://kfor.com/2013/03/13/bill-on-drone-surveillance-put-on-hold/

Enjoying a groundswell of popular support that notably spans the political spectrum, HB1556 appeared to have a great chance of being passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives until the Governor’s office decided it was time to intervene.

Citing concerns that pending legislation would hurt Oklahoma’s chances to be one of the six states chosen by the FAA to be a testing site for drones, Governor Fallin’s office took issue with the bill.  However, upon closer inspection of the FAA”s application by the bill’s author and the Dir. Of the OK ACLU, Ryan Kiesel, it was found that the FAA is explicitly does not automatically treat pending legislation as a negative.  

This fact, when raised made no impact on opposition to HB1556 by the Governor’s office which begs the question: Why would the Governor be opposed to the passage of this very modest bill?

This unanswered question takes me back to the press conference that I attended that was held by Gov. Fallin, along with her Secretary of Science and Technology,  Stephen McKeever,  and drone industry representative Michael Toscano, the president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International on Jan 16, 2013 at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Fallin_UAS_0

When it came time to take questions from members of the press, not surprisingly, the very first question asked was in regards to privacy and civil liberties.  At that time the Stephen McKeever made it crystal clear that they were not amenable to any statutory or even policy level changes that might protect the privacy rights of Oklahoman’s.  McKeever was quite clear in his statements explaining that while it was not unreasonable to have some concerns about drones and privacy, he was opposed to any real efforts to secure our privacy rights for fear that it might hinder  the drone industry in some way in our state.

That is when I knew that any legislation to advance the protection of our rights was going to be an uphill battle to say the least. 

Recently, the Congressional Research Service issued a report;  “Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues”

The report states that “perhaps the most contentious issue concerning the introduction of drones into U.S. airspace is the threat that this technology will be used to spy on American citizens.” 

That this is an issue is not a surprise to anyone. Yet with all of the time, money and effort invested by this state to ensure that Oklahoma becomes drone central, USA,  nothing has been done to hear the concerns of Oklahoma citizens or ensure the rights of Oklahomans are protected.

There has been years of groundwork laid in making Oklahoma the premier state for the drone industry.

In 2009 the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma (USA-OK) was created to promote the emerging unmanned systems industry in Oklahoma.

In 2011, Gov. Fallin issued an Executive Order to create the Unmanned Aerial Systems Council and appointed 13 members to her Unmanned Aerial Systems Council.  The council was to advise the governor on ‘all issues related to UAS, including education, economic development, job creation and investments’ so that Oklahoma could become a national leader in the UAS industry. 

This Council was created to advise the Governor on “all issues related to UAS”

How surveillance technology laden drones might infringe upon our Fourth Amendment rights has not been a primary or even secondary issue worth considering when officials were obviously working so hard at covering all the bases.

In all of the materials covering Governor Fallins efforts to develop the drone industry in Oklahoma that I have read, I have found  but one brief mention of the fact that drones present a real threat to our civil liberties.  It is in the Report of the Governor’s Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Council, released on July 8, 2012.   This recommendation made by the Oklahoma UAS Council, a small as it was, is one that should have been given some attention.  It wasn’t.

The Oklahoma UAS Council stated that  “The growth of UAS has the potential for enormous good and economic benefit for all residents, introducing new capabilities simply not possible at present. As with any new technology, however, new capabilities come with the potential for abuse. The state of Oklahoma takes these issues and concerns seriously. We support calls for thoughtful and informed dialogue to address these concerns and for the industry to work with privacy advocates, policymakers and legislators to provide the necessary protections against misuse.”  Source: Report of the Governor’s Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Council  A Strategic Plan for the Development of an Unmanned Aerial Systems Enterprise in the State of Oklahoma 

To my knowledge, no one from the drone industry or the Governor’s office reached out to the ACLU, OK-SAFE, or any other organization that is known for privacy advocacy in the state.

No.  It was not until HB1556 gained real traction and only after a last minute attempt by the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce to kill the bill in committee did the Governor’s office make any effort to connect with anyone and that was to put the brakes on the bill.

Rep. Wesselohoft worked openly and diligently to address any possible concerns by law enforcement or any others over the language in the bill.  Nevertheless, he was sideswiped by the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce shortly before the bill was to be heard in the House Aerospace and Energy committee when a Chamber representative told him that her organization was unhappy with the bill but refused to specify exactly what was problematic denying the Representative any opportunity to address their concerns.  The Chamber representative then proceeded to pass out to all committee members what was described as a ‘hit piece’ on the bill in an attempt to kill the legislation.

Despite this last minute attempt by the Chamber to sink HB1556, the bill passed the committee by a vote of 23-4.

To protect the rights of the people of the state of Oklahoma is the first duty of our elected representatives,  especially the Governor.  In reality, protection of our rights has registered dead last on Governor Fallins drone ‘to do’ list and this is unacceptable!

Another example of what I consider to be bad faith on the part of the Governor regarding the drone issue is her studied lack of forthrightness on the nature of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s RAPS program currently active in Oklahoma.

On June 29, 2012 Gov. Fallin announces Oklahoma is the first state chosen by the Dept. of Homeland Security as a testing site for small unmanned aircraft (drones) in the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) program.

Gov. Fallin assures the public that ‘drones for use by the military or police investigations will not be tested at the Oklahoma site.’

Source: NewsOK, June 29, 2012, Oklahoma chosen as test site for drones http://newsok.com/oklahoma-chosen-as-test-site-for-drones/article/3688386

However, the Dept. of Homeland Security’s own documentation describes the RAPS program to include; “real-time law enforcement tactical operations support, and crime scene situational awareness.”

DHS explains that “Typical test scenarios include search and rescue missions, fire and
hazardous material spill responses, and simulated law enforcement tactical operations.”

Source: Privacy Impact Assessment for the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) Project http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/privacy/PIAs/privacy_pia_st_raps_nov2012.pdf

And then on Dec. 31, 2012 we get a real New Year’s surprise from a news article describing the first RAPS tests taking place in Oklahoma as a SWAT policing exercise.

FORT SILL — The small, winged drone quietly soared overhead as SWAT team members closed in on a building at Fort Sill.

When a suspect sprinted from the structure, the drone banked through a cloudless afternoon sky in an effort to track the person.

A few miles away, two Lockheed Martin technicians sat in a converted bedroom of a ranch-style house using a laptop computer to control the drone’s movements. They followed the action on a video relay.

The simulated chase this month was among the first test flights in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security program designed to evaluate the possible civilian use of “Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.”

Source: NewsOK, Dec. 31, 2012, Wary eyes shift to the skies as unmanned aircraft are tested in statehttp://newsok.com/wary-eyes-shift-to-the-skies-as-unmanned-aircraft-are-tested-in-state/article/3741815

Governor Fallin misrepresented this program.  That is very concerning to me.

What is it that the drone industry plans on doing in Oklahoma that makes a simple piece of legislation protecting basic rights so offensive to Governor Fallin?

Here is the bottom line for the grassroots activists who are rightfully outraged by the governors direct role in quashing this bill; it is up to you to make sure that such actions by our governor politically painful enough that she will think twice about disrespecting the rights of the people of this state which she has sworn to defend.

First, call her office and register your opinion of her actions.

The Office of Governor Mary Fallin

Local: (405) 521-2342
Fax: (405) 521-3353

Don’t forget.  You can also connect with Governor Fallin on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GovernorMaryFallin

And Twitter https://twitter.com/GovMaryFallin

No need to be rude or threatening but tell her this is truly a blatant example of profits over people and she needs to get her priorities straight!

Contact the news stations and ask them to investigate the relationship between the industry and state officials.  Ask them to cover the ire of the people of this state about the amount of investment in this industry and the lack of attention to our concerns about privacy and arming the drones with weapons.  Do your own research and see what you can uncover.

Find out where Governor Fallin is speaking and show up with signs to let people know how little she respects them.

And last but not least, when she runs for re-election, make this issue a campaign issue that she will have to answer to!

Be creative –  but please do something to expose this problem!  If we don’t make this an issue-no one else will!

Oklahomans concerned about unmanned aircraft attend state Capitol rally

idp13 capitol 1

Photo by Dana Lawhon

Kaye Beach

Feb.24, 2013

From the Oklahoman, Michael McNutt, Feb. 23, 2013

Nearly 200 people attend a rally Saturday at the Oklahoma Capitol in Oklahoma City to support Oklahoma House Bill 1556 by Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, that would place regulations on the use of drones in the state.

Joanne Francisco, one of several people who came to a state Capitol rally Saturday with a face mask, said the encroachment of government on
her 4th Amendment right to privacy, such as the possible use of drones to spy on individuals, is a growing concern.

“Government is getting too intrusive, nosy,”
said Francisco, of Tulsa. “How do we know when our rights have been infringed upon? We can see a peeping Tom outside our window, but we
can’t necessarily see when we’re being spied on by a drone.”

The article highlights statements by Ryan Kiesel, Director of the Oklahoma ACLU, Amie Stepanovich, legal counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center and an expert in government surveillance, and Amanda Teegarden, Exec. Director of OK-SAFE, Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise.

Read more

Oklahoma has three important privacy protecting bill active this session.  All of them need some grassroots support to help ensure that they become law.

Please see our action items on HB1556, HB1557 and HB1559 covering privacy protections regarding drones, phones and RFID chips;

Okla. Legislative Action: Three Important Privacy Protection Bills and What You Can Do to Help

Drones, Phones and RFID; PRIVACY Unites Left and Right in Oklahoma

ok dragonfly

Kaye Beach

Jan. 10, 2013

Despite the uncomfortable level of political division among Americans, there are still issues that bring us together.

This legislative session the left and right are pulling together for privacy.  I couldn’t be more excited about this development becuase when the battle between our right to privacy and big corporation’s desire to make money intersect, our numbers are everything.

On Sat. Feb. 23rd at the Oklahoma State Capitol, we will have an opportunity to assemble and to demonstrate those numbers and make it very clear to our elected representatives that Oklahomans expect their privacy rights to be respected!

Speakers:

Amie Stepanovich, EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, on drones and privacy

Ryan Kiesel, Director, OK ACLU

Amanda Teegarden, Exec. Director od OK-SAFE  – Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise will be our Master of Ceremonies

IDP13 OKC flyer

Here is a copy of this flyer for you to download and share!

International Day For Privacy Oklahoma City

If you would like to connect with others online who are excited about and are attending this event, check out Oklahomans For Fourth Amendment Rights at State Capitol on Facebook.

KFOR reports Feb. 5th, 2013:

Unlikely groups join forces to support privacy bills

The Oklahoma Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union along with Rep. Paul Wesselhoft held a joint press conference at the State Capitol Tuesday to explain the three bills aimed at protecting the privacy rights of Oklahomans.

House Bill 1559: The first bill would prohibit the Department of Public Safety from installing RFID radio frequency identification in a driver’s license.

House Bill 1557: Another bill would require law enforcement, absent an emergency, to first obtain a warrant before they access the geo-location data stored by a cell phone.

House Bill 1556: Finally, the third bill would limit the ability of law enforcement to use drones for surveillance without a warrant. 

Read more from KFOR

http://kfor.com/2013/02/05/unlikely-groups-join-forces-to-support-privacy-bills/

Fox 25 Covers Consumer Concerns About Driver’s License Scanning

Kaye Beach

September 8, 2012

Back in April I looked into the practice of retail stores scanning driver’s licenses as a condition for returns that was really making some customers angry.

Best Buy’s Worst Policy-Swiping ID’s and Destiny Management

The practice is becoming more and more prevalent.

Swiping of driver’s licenses is being required for buying gas (in case you try to leave without paying), for entry to public schools (in case you might be child predator and if you are misidentified as a sex offender, which happens often enough, well, stinks for you!), for buying cold medicine, for entry to bars and casinos, San Francisco wants ID swipes for most public events, Harlem wants tenants to swipe to gain entry to their homes,  and now, the TSA is swiping  airline passengers’ ID’s .

Turning our driver’s license into an all purpose access and identity card is contributing to the creation of a 24/7 digital footprint that can be recalled on each of us.  While it may be more convenient and efficient for corporations and the government, it makes us less secure.

Last night Fox 25 News took a look into the practice.  I talk about a sticker trick you can use to protect yourself from ‘sudden scanning shock’ and Fox 25 News Legal Analyst, David Slane gives his opinion on the matter and says that the the ‘sticker trick’ does not run afoul of any state laws. (I have to credit Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst for the ACLU as the source of inspiration for the sticker trick-Creative solution!)

Once again, Fox 25 stands apart from the pack for their willingness to investigate and cover news that we care about.  Thank you Kisha Henry and Fox 25!

Tonight at nine, Fox 25’s Kisha Henry introduces us to a woman who currently is in legal battle with the Department of Public Safety over her right to privacy associated with her state driver’s license. We’ll also hear what stores are legally allowed to do with that information, and what you can do to prevent them from having it.

Read more and watch the video here

Specter of Drones Unite Left and Right to Fight in VA

Kaye Beach

August 2, 2012

Protecting privacy and the right to due process is not a right/left issue and things aren’t always as cut and dried as they may seem.  Conservatives do worry about civil liberties and sometimes the ACLU even works with gun rights groups on mutual causes.

I applaud this “strange bedfellow” pairing!

Reported by the Tenth Amendment Center;

VA Lawmaker to Introduce Domestic Drone Regulation Bill

By Joe Wolverton

What could bring together the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and one of Virginia’s most conservative state representatives? The specter of drones filling the skies of the United States. In a joint statement released July 17 by Virginia Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) and the Virginia Chapter of the ACLU, the seemingly disparate pair announced plans to work to fight the unregulated use of drones by law enforcement in the Old Dominion. He stated,

Both the ACLU and I believe, as do many Virginians across the political spectrum, that the use of drones by police and other government agencies should be strictly controlled by state laws that protect the privacy and civil rights of all Virginia residents. I will be introducing legislation in the 2013 General Assembly Session to i) prohibit the use of drones by law enforcement unless a warrant has been issued; ii) require that policies and procedures for the use of drones be adopted by legislative bodies in open meetings; iii) provide for public monitoring and accountability; and iv) mandate that pictures of individuals acquired by drones be destroyed unless they are part of an authorized investigation.

Read more

Are We being Tracked by ALPR Spy Cams? 38 State Law Enforcement Agencies to be Queried

Kaye Beach

July 30, 2012

It has recently been announced that 38 states (including Oklahoma) have joined with the ACLU of Maryland to find out how the information collected by ALPR camera license plate data is being handled.  This is very good news! (Click the map to find out state specifics)

Automatic License Plate Readers

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland joined with ACLU affiliates in 38 states to send requests to local police departments and state agencies to seek information on how they use automatic license plate readers to track and record Americans’ movements.  Here in Maryland, the state has reported that there are more than 320 ALPRs being used and many are linked to the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, Maryland’s “fusion center,” where the data is potentially stored indefinitely, creating an ever-growing database of our location and travel through the state.

ALPRs are cameras that cam be mounted on vehicles such as police patrol cars or in fixed locations like light poles. These cameras snap photographs of license plates and store the image along with the vehicle’s registration data plus the time date and location of every vehicle captured. The devices have the potential to track all vehicles even those who are registered to owners who have broken no law at all.  Without appropriate restrictions, the police can collect, share and retain the data indefinitely which enables our movements to be tracked and monitored, a concern I raised recently with the announcement that Shawnee police were using the devices and touting their potential to be used for investigative purposes.

“For investigating, it will be phenomenal,” Frantz said. Link

Read more;

Are Oklahoma Cops Using Spy Cams to Become Super Snoopers?

073012 Press Release: ACLU Seeks Details on Automatic License Plate Readers in Massive Nationwide Request; Information Sought on How Cameras are Used by Police Agencies and How Data is Stored

Study finds warrantless police cell-phone tracking widespread and OKC PD response to FOI request

 

Kaye Beach

April 5, 2012

 

Warrantless cell-phone tracking widespread, study finds

By Donald White  Apr 02, 2012

Many U.S. police departments are tracking the location of cell phones without a warrant or court supervision, according to an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Starting last summer, ACLU affiliates around the country began filing hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests with law enforcement agencies to find out about their policies and procedures governing cell-phone location tracking.

Many agencies didn’t respond at all. But based on more than 5,500 pages of documents from the 200 agencies that did respond, the ACLU found that although police departments routinely use cell-phone location tracking in their investigations, “only a tiny minority reported consistently obtaining a warrant and demonstrating probable cause to do so.”

Read More

 

From the ACLU;

Cell Phone Location Tracking Public Records Request

April 4, 2012

Of all of the recent technological developments that have expanded the surveillance capabilities of law enforcement agencies at the expense of individual privacy, perhaps the most powerful is cell phone location tracking. And now, after an unprecedented records request by ACLU affiliates around the country, we know that this method is widespread and often used without adequate regard for constitutional protections, judicial oversight, or accountability.

Cell phones register their location with the network several times a minute and this function cannot be turned off while the phone is getting a wireless signal. The technology’s threat to personal privacy is breathtaking.

All cell phones register their location with cell phone networks several times a minute, and this function cannot be turned off while the phone is getting a wireless signal. The threat to personal privacy presented by this technology is breathtaking: To know a person’s location over time is to know a great deal about who a person is and what he or she values. As the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. explained:

“A person who knows all of another’s travels can deduce whether he is a weekly church goer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups — and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts.”

The government should have to obtain a warrant based upon probable cause before tracking cell phones. That is what is necessary to protect Americans’ privacy, and it is also what is required under the Constitution. In United States v. Jones, a majority of the Supreme Court recently concluded that the government conducts a search under the Fourth Amendment when it attaches a GPS device to a car and tracks its movements. The conclusion should be no different when the government tracks people through their cell phones, and in both cases a warrant and probable cause should be required.

Until now, how law enforcement agents use cell phone tracking has been largely shrouded in secrecy. What little was known suggested that law enforcement agents frequently tracked cell phones without obtaining a warrant based on probable cause.

In August 2011, 35 ACLU affiliates filed over 380 public records requests with state and local law enforcement agencies to ask about their policies, procedures and practices for tracking cell phones.

What we have learned is disturbing. While virtually all of the over 200 police departments that responded to our request said they track cell phones, only a tiny minority reported consistently obtaining a warrant and demonstrating probable cause to do so. While that result is of great concern, it also shows that a warrant requirement is a completely reasonable and workable policy.

The government’s location tracking policies should be clear, uniform, and protective of privacy, but instead are in a state of chaos, with agencies in different towns following different rules — or in some cases, having no rules at all. It is time for Americans to take back their privacy. Courts should require a warrant based upon probable cause when law enforcement agencies wish to track cell phones. State legislatures and Congress should update obsolete electronic privacy laws to make clear that law enforcement agents should track cell phones only with a warrant.

Below is an overview of our findings and recommendations.

Read more

 

 Is Your Local Law Enforcement Tracking Your Cell Phone’s Location?

In a massive coordinated information-seeking campaign, 35 ACLU affiliates filed over 380 requests in 31 states with local law enforcement agencies large and small to uncover when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans. Click on a state in the map below to see what requests we filed in that state, and what documents we received. Click here to learn more about the requests.

http://www.aclu.org/maps/your-local-law-enforcement-tracking-your-cell-phones-location

 

Here is the response from Oklahoma City Police Department;

http://www.aclu.org/files/cellphonetracking/20120328/celltrackingpra_oklahomacitypd_oklahomacityok.pdf

 

Michigan State Police Explain use of Cell Phone Data Extraction Device

Kaye Beach

April 21, 2011

Yesterday I posted this story;

Cell Phone Data Suckers-They’re Heeeere

“The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations.”

The ACLU of MI has complained that they have been stymied in their open records request to MSP since 2008 and expressed concerns about how the  MSP might be using the devices.

Today the MSP issued a press release in response.

From EUPNews

April 21, 2011

LANSING – Recent news coverage prompted by a press release issued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has brought speculation and caused inaccurate information to be reported about data extraction devices (DEDs) owned by the Michigan State Police (MSP).

To be clear, there have not been any allegations of wrongdoing by the MSP in the use of DEDs.

The MSP only uses the DEDs if a search warrant is obtained or if the person possessing the mobile device gives consent. The department*s internal directive is that the DEDs only be used by MSP specialty teams on criminal cases, such as crimes against children.

The DEDs are not being used to extract citizens’ personal information during routine traffic stops.

The MSP does not possess DEDs that can extract data without the officer actually possessing the owner’s mobile device. The DEDs utilized by the MSP cannot obtain information from mobile devices without the mobile device owner knowing.

Read more

RFID to Track PEOPLE?! Cops, Big Government Extremists and Corporate Shills Deny the Possibility

RFID can be used for tracking people?

But we have been assured that we are misunderstanding the ability of the technology by members of our state legislature, Mr. Fancy Pants himself, Richard Chase,  CEO of the Security Industry Association, and even the Department of Public Safety expressed dismay that anyone would think that they even harbored the thought of putting one of those blasted things in our must-carry ID documents;

Richard Chase

The whole thing is just a tempest in a tea pot, an absolutely CORNY idea!

Mr Chase’s assertions were compelling enough to convince Gov. Brad Henry to veto the anti-RFID bill even though it was overwhelming supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.  Even staunchly conservative Christians and the ACLU expressed grave concerns about this technology largely due to its inherent tracking ability.

RFID chips are sensors and  when they are sprinkled over almost everything their spying ability becomes profound.  Wal Mart recently announced that they would be embedding RFID in individual items (including your underwear) and yesterday I posted a story about the new plan to use them to monitor Cleveland’s garbage habits.

Now, they want to use them to track students.

The word of the day is UBIQUIITOUS

New Canaan Considers Tracking Devices for Students

Mon, Aug 23, 2010

 

In the tiny town of New Canaan, students might someday get tracking tags along with their textbooks.

 

No decisions have yet been made, but school officials plan to look into the possibility of adding radio frequency tags to student or staff ID cards, or place them on school property, like laptops, the New Canaan Advertiser reports.

The company that makes the devices is SecureRF Corporation, based in Westport. It has applied for a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct science research and wants New Canaan High School to use the technology, the Advertiser reports.

“We are looking to test this technology with a partner,” SecureRF’s founder and chief executive officer Louis Parks Parks said during a school board meeting last week. “The primary role we are looking for from you is the feedback and input.”

Read More

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.