We’re all perpetual suspects: Portents of privacy-free era emerging in CA

We’re all perpetual suspects: Portents of privacy-free era emerging in CA

scannerThe inexpensive ease with which law-enforcement authorities can monitor the citizenry has gotten some attention from the media, which has reported on how cell phones and cars are de facto tracking devices and on how NSA software allows it to readily track millions of calls made by Americans.

But this surveillance-state enabling is also true with relatively primitive, low-tech approaches as well. Using 1990s technology, license-plate scanners of the sort initially developed to catch cheats on toll roads are now in wide use on regular roads for no other reason but to provide law enforcement with a massive Stassi-style trove on who goes where.

And at the California trial-court level, at least, this is considered no big deal. This is from the L.A. Times:

A San Diego Superior Court judge has tentatively turned down a request by the founder of the MP3 Internet music site for information about his license plates gathered through high-tech scanning.

Judge Katherine Bacal tentatively ruled this week that the records, retained by the San Diego Assn. of Governments on behalf of local law enforcement agencies, are exempt from the state’s Public Records Act. A final ruling is expected next week.

Michael Robertson had sued for access to his records on the grounds that keeping such information is an example of governmental over-reach and that disclosure is necessary to safeguard individual rights.

“If I’m not being investigated for a crime, there shouldn’t be a secret police file on me,” Robertson told the Associated Press.

The 1998 thriller “Enemies of the State” postulated a world in which rogue NSA agents organize assassinations and manipulate events to win passage of a new law allowing vast new government surveillance.

This plot line seems downright idealistic at this point — the bad guys were fighting to get a law passed? Really? Nowadays, we just see the federal government assume it has sweeping rights to spy on individuals, and the courts barely push back at all. And in California, we have mass license-plate scanning that only seems constitutionally acceptable if the government truly believes everyone is a de facto criminal suspect.

The Founding Fathers believed in a default view of government power in which if specific powers were not specifically established by law, they didn’t exist. Now we have a default view of government power in which whether its extent is specifically established doesn’t seem to matter.

12 comments

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  1. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 24 September, 2014, 12:58

    Well, he was a little early, but Orwell called it. Give the man credit. Bill of Rights? Constitution? Rule of Law? International Charters governing foreign intervention and military action? Hype. It unnecessary to give the average human genuine ‘freedom’. Just elude him into believing that he’s already ‘free’ despite As long as the subject places more credibility in the spoken or written words than the demonstrated behavior, mission accomplished. And the younger and more susceptible the mind when this process is initiated, the better.

    Noted psychologist BF Skinner proposed that the way humans learn behavior is much the same as the way the rats learned to press a lever for a morsel of food or to stop pain. Operant conditioning. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Society is a huge “Skinner Box” whereby the ruling class is at the controls and you are pushing at the lever. If you describe that as ‘freedom’, well, God bless you.

    We’ve seen the success of this scheme on many fronts. Smoking, illegal immigration, gay rights, public sector compensations, gun control, DUI checkpoints, random police friskings in major cities, warrantless searches (Boston Marathon bombings), media censorship, traffic enforcement cameras, illegal military interventions in sovereign nations, domestic spying, selective enforcement of the laws depending upon your ‘place’ in society, etc…..

    By this time the frogs in the pot are deliriously acclimated to the hot water. So license plate scanners are a shoe-in. I expect little resistance from the plebes. The younger crowd will hardly notice a change since they have such a limited standard of comparison. We older ones will just go along for the ride for convenience sake. Old people make lousy demonstrators. In a few years we will die off and the history books will get rewritten to ensure a smoother transition for all the youngin’s. Enjoy your journey.

    And welcome to the Brave New World.

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 25 September, 2014, 07:42

      In my short life I have seen the police state develop its prison industrial complex(PIC) into the largest on Earth with little questioning by those in the media, schools, or community. I sometimes feel as if he mantra of “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave,” is but a “Matrix” like implant, because all one needs to do is pull back the curtain to realize that we are not free to do much without state approval. Just spend a few hours reading your local code enforcement laws, you are a state slave my fellow prisoners! 🙂

      Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 25 September, 2014, 07:52

      Yea, LIC knows the score, I hear you Brother!!! As long as those Big Mac meals can be purchased with an EBT card most of the non-RAGWUS people will file right into the cattle cars.
      Right now the government is spewing the unemployment rate as 6.1%, even though 24 million citizens need a job, talk about government control!! 🙂

      Reply this comment
      • LetitCollapse
        LetitCollapse 25 September, 2014, 09:20

        Roger that, Mr. Donkey. They’ll continue to confiscate our rights under the guise of ‘keeping us safe’. They know the economy is unsustainable and ripe for a big crash, so are preparing for the inevitable. That requires full and total control over the masses. Why do you think the cops are being militarized with surplus machine guns, armoured trucks and equipment a nation would use only to invade foreign nations and foster regime change?

        You can imagine the chaos when those EBT cards default and are no longer accepted by the stores or fast food outlets.

        You noticed that AG Eric Holder abruptly resigned his position today? heh. Either somebody caught him dirty and it can’t get covered up OR he sees what’s coming and does not want to be in charge of the enforcement arm of the gubmint when SHTF.

        They’ve been painting us into a corner now for well over a decade. All the writing’s on the wall for anyone with an open mind to read. The bezzle has hit an all-time high. Rule of law applies only to the peasants. Our country has a serious illness that’s not being treated. And when serious illnesses get ignored you know what happens.

        I read today that the Millenial generation (ages 18-33) are less likely to own a home, have a full-time job, own a car, or even use a credit card than older American generations when they were that age. PLUS, they are much less likely to marry. So now we are beginning to see the fallout of massive pensions for the public sector, HUGE amounts of student debt, unemployment or underemployment, a service job economy, a monopolistic medical industry, welfare gone wild, foreign illegals stealing American jobs and corporate/government corruption. THIS WILL HAVE A DEVASTATING EFFECT ON THE US ECONOMY! The nation depends upon the millenials to fianance all the pension, social security and medicare debt. If they can’t do the heavy lifting it all comes tumbling down.

        The complacency in America is mindboggling. Either the people are numbed or just incredibly ignorant. Maybe a combination of both.

        Reply this comment
  2. bob
    bob 24 September, 2014, 23:04

    In the eyes of our government masters we are all criminals of some type.

    Reply this comment
  3. Donkey
    Donkey 25 September, 2014, 07:40

    In my short life I have seen the police state develop its prison industrial complex(PIC) into the largest on Earth with little questioning by those in the media, schools, or community. I sometimes feel as if he mantra of “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave,” is but a “Matrix” like implant, because all one needs to do is pull back the curtain to realize that we are not free to do much without state approval. Just spend a few hours reading your local code enforcement laws, you are a state slave my fellow prisoners! 🙂

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 25 September, 2014, 09:30

      Humans are incredibly gullible and easily manipulated. Like I said, society is like a huge “Skinner Box” and those on the inside are products of classic conditioning. If you are told enough times that you are “free” you begin to believe it even though all the evidence points in the opposite direction.

      Can anyone on these discussion boards provide a reasonable justification for America to have 5% of the world’s population yet 25% of the world’s prison population? I have an open mind and will give your explanation full consideration. But your justification must be REASONABLE, otherwise it is fair game to get ripped apart.

      Reply this comment
      • Donkey
        Donkey 25 September, 2014, 15:35

        Yea, the PIC is a truth that undercuts the idea of a freedom loving society in America LIC.

        It reminds me of the Greeks as they started out with their idea of democracy, then quickly voted to have Socrates put to death!! 🙂

        Reply this comment
        • LetitCollapse
          LetitCollapse 25 September, 2014, 18:42

          Good luck to the #11 Bruins tonight, Donkey. I see they’re playing #15 Ariz State. Should be a great game. I sure hope Neuheisel gets to play QB again and shines like he did against U of Texas. They’re playing in AZ so it should be a challenge for UCLA. But I hope they bring home a win.

          Reply this comment
        • LetitCollapse
          LetitCollapse 25 September, 2014, 23:17

          Wow. The Bruins layed a butt-whoopin’ on Az State. I think the final score was 62-27. At least it was late in the 4th qrt when I shut the tube down. And Az State actually played well except for all the turnovers. The score was not indicative of the talent on that Az State team.

          I look forward to that UCLA-Oregon Ducks game in LA in a couple more weeks. It could very well be an upset in the making if UCLA plays like they did tonight. Impressive performance for sure.

          I’m a big Ducks fan, Donkey. So I will be cheerleading Oregon on Oct 11. But may the best team win!

          Reply this comment
          • Donkey
            Donkey 26 September, 2014, 12:24

            Loved it LIC!! If the defense keeps playing well the Bruins will be playing in the big game!! 🙂

          • LetitCollapse
            LetitCollapse 27 September, 2014, 00:02

            The big game? lol. Well, I’ve seen stranger things happen. But IF UCLA continues to play like they did against AZ State there is a chance they could go all the way. When I watched them play Virgina and Memphis UCLA did not impress me at all, even though they won both games. But the AZ State game was definitely an eye opener. To make it to the ‘big game’ UCLA has to get past Oregon, Washington, USC and Stanford. And that’s a tall order. I wish them luck. But I’m still pullin’ for the Ducks. But after Oregon’s close game against Wahzoo I have my doubts about the Ducks too. That new Duck’s coach is no Chip Kelly.

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