I’m sure our National Security Agency (NSA) is drooling over the Brits’ new nation-wide surveillance system set to begin in 2006:
Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years. ()
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) has been a part of the English life for decades so I guess their citizenry either could care less about the intrusion of privacy or have become numb to the concept of being watched by their government 24/7.
The ACLU lists four problems with Public Video Surveillance:
- Video surveillance has not been proven effective
- CCTV is susceptible to abuse
- The lack of limits or controls on cameras use
- Video surveillance will have a chilling effect on public life
Still, I’ll make the prediction that one day in the near future a similar system will be proposed by our congress, probably after another terrorist event, and the people will allow it to happen as they did in England under the assumption that they will be more secure.
Hey, you should only be worried if you are doing something wrong… right?
They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.
Update by Stephen VanDyke: In related news, New York judge Gabriel Gorenstein has sided with the US government in its quest to be able to track a cellphone’s physical location via tower data, without first seeking a warrant to do so:
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the decision is based on “flawed legal analysis,” and contradicts rulings by three other judges. Gorenstein based his opinion, in part, on the idea that using tower data to triangulate a caller’s location doesn’t violate the US Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches, due to the fact that the tracking method doesn’t “install a … tracking device” and only “identifies a nearby cell tower” rather than pinpointing a caller’s location. The EFF vows to continue following what it calls a “dangerous new opinion,” particularly in light of recent revelations about warrantless wiretaps by the Bush administration.