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Privacy - Past, Present, and Future
Monday, 28 June 2004
Where is our reasonable expectation for privacy going?
Mood:  down

What is a "reasonable expectation" of privacy for a free, law-abiding individual in the USA? When I was a kid years ago, it used to be that we could travel the roads without worrying or even having reason to think that we would be filmed doing so, or tracked by a satelite from a device in our new car. The picture above is a picture of a wireless camera mounted on top of a street lamp which films the traffic on some busy highways in the US. It IS legal for the government to do this, as the laws governing non-consentual video capturing allow video, but disallow audio recording in the local area of this camera. Their reason or excuse for putting it there (and all the other dozens of identical cameras on lamp posts in the immediate vicinity of this one) is to monitor the flow of traffic through that area. We can be tracked in so many ways as we travel now days! If you put the small device in your car which pays the state toll at all state toll booths for you by just driving past a sensor, the state government can track where you travel. Buy a nice new vehicle with GPS or On-Star or any of those new-fangled systems on it, you can be easily tracked. Use your cell phone in the car much? The technology exists to locate you depending on which cell tower(s) you are transmitting and receiving through. Ever see the cameras they put at intersections to capture records of your driving habits? The cameras at each toll booth that takes a picture of your license plate as you leave the toll booth whether you pay the correct amount or not? The definition of a "reasonable expectation" of privacy for a "free" law-abiding citizen of the United States has changed greatly just in the past 20 years. The FBI is allowed to use most likely any of the means listed here plus many more insidious ways to track us and find out personal details about our lives, especially since 9/11. Our civil rights and liberties are eroding at an alarming rate, and it's terrible. If nothing else, I say we need to put our foot down and stop them at the property line of our homesteads or at the very least at our front doors! Let's fight for and protect the sliver of privacy and personal freedom we still possess in our own homes!

Posted by hermes at 8:22 PM CDT

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