Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rich people are setting themselves up

Because even in America, we can only tolerate such idiocy for so long (via Xanthippas, via Boing Boing):

In Medina, a new sign bears this warning: "You Are Entering a 24 Hour Video Surveillance Area."

Cameras have recently been installed at intersections to monitor every vehicle coming into the city.

Under the "automatic license plate recognition" project, once a car enters Medina, a camera captures its license-plate number. Within seconds, the number is run through a database.

Just hearing that much, my first thought is: police state. Do you ever want to live in a place where people are watching your every move? And then of course to add insult to stupidity:

All captured information is stored for 60 days — even if nothing negative turns up, he said. That allows police to mine data if a crime occurs later, Chen said.

Doug Honig, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, said such a system smacks of privacy violations.

"Government shouldn't be keeping records of people's comings and goings when they haven't done anything wrong," he said. "By actions like this, we're moving closer and closer to a surveillance society."

Medina City Councilmember Lucius Biglow said crime prevention "outweighs concern over privacy."

"Privacy is considerably less nowadays than it was, say, 50 years ago," he said. "I think most of us are pretty well-documented by the federal government ... simply because of the Internet and credit cards."

Uh, look, there's a difference between people being able to see your credit score and watch you at all times. Admittedly not a enough, but still. I think we've fallen away from the vision of our Founding Fathers. I think what Ben Franklin said is relevant to this situation: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

I really hope somebody challenges this in court.

1 comment:

Xanthippas said...

Why don't the police just stop every brown person or anyone not driving a Mercedes, BMW or Lexus? That'll be the end result anyway, so why bother with the cameras?