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ACLU sues Fairfax County police over license-plate data

Sample Virginia license plate. (Photo: AP)

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia is suing Fairfax County police over a policy in which they store data collected on thousands of drivers through the use of license-plate readers.

The civil-liberties group filed the suit Tuesday in Fairfax County Circuit Court. The ACLU alleges that keeping a database of information collected through license-plate readers amounts to an illegal invasion of privacy.

In 2013, Virginia's attorney general advised state police that data collected by plate readers is personal information under state law and can't be kept unless it's part of a specific criminal investigation.

The ruling prompted state police to stop collecting data, but local police agencies, including Fairfax, still collect and share the data.

A county spokesman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday evening.

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