Rhode Island considers surveillance system to fine uninsured drivers

PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed legislation that would create a highway surveillance system to search for insurance scofflaws and fine them.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 48-17 to pass the bill, with Republicans and some Democrats voting against it. It now moves to the Senate.

The proposed license plate scanning system, which would be run by a private company, has raised concerns from civil liberties groups, police and state agencies.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Robert Jacquard, says data will be “erased within one minute” if there’s no proof the car is uninsured.

Republican Minority Whip Blake Filippi says he’s concerned about “setting up a surveillance system of this magnitude,” citing George Orwell’s book “1984” about oppressive surveillance, saying it should be “a warning, not a guidebook.”

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