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Gov. Palin Decries privacy invasion by Big Brother government

Posted by Dr. Fay on July 17, 2013

Posted on Governor Palin’s Facebook page today:

Sarah Palin · 3,554,770 like this
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about an hour ago ·

Ben Franklin wrote: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
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The government needs to stay out of our garage, refrigerator, church, gun safe, bookshelf, etc. America, are you willing to give up freedom for more government control?
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Take a look at this article linked at the top of Drudge. Government is out of control and too many citizens are sheepishly and sleepily okay with it all. This is not what generations of Americans have fought and died for. We should be ashamed of ourselves if we give another pass to government on yet another step in the erosion of freedom and privacy.
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Enough is enough of this Big Brother Government.
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– Sarah Palin
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DRUDGE ARTICLE:
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Here is the article she linked to:

Driving somewhere? There’s a government record of that

Posted: Jul 17, 2013 10:33 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:33 AM ESTUpdated: Jul 17, 2013 10:36 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:36 AM EST

By ANNE FLAHERTY

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chances are, your local or state  police departments have photographs of your car in their files, noting where you  were driving on a particular day, even if you never did anything wrong.

Using automated scanners, law enforcement agencies  across the country have amassed millions of digital records on the location and  movement of every vehicle with a license plate, according to a study published  Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union. Affixed to police cars, bridges  or buildings, the scanners capture images of passing or parked vehicles and note  their location, uploading that information into police databases. Departments  keep the records for weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely.

As the technology becomes cheaper and more  ubiquitous, and federal grants focus on aiding local terrorist detection, even  small police agencies are able to deploy more sophisticated surveillance  systems. While the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that a judge’s approval is needed  to track a car with GPS, networks of plate scanners allow police effectively to  track a driver’s location, sometimes several times every day, with few legal  restrictions. The ACLU says the scanners assemble what it calls a “single,  high-resolution image of our lives.”

“There’s just a fundamental question of whether  we’re going to live in a society where these dragnet surveillance systems become  routine,” said Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the ACLU. The civil rights  group is proposing that police departments immediately delete any records of  cars not linked to a crime.

[…]

Law enforcement officials also point out that the  technology is legal in most cases, automating a practice that’s been done for  years. The ACLU found that only five states have laws governing license plate  readers. New Hampshire, for example, bans the technology except in narrow  circumstances, while Maine and Arkansas limit how long plate information can be  stored.

“There’s no expectation of privacy” for a vehicle  driving on a public road or parked in a public place, said Lt. Bill Hedgpeth, a  spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department in Texas, which has records  stretching back to 2008, although the city plans next month to begin deleting  files older than two years. “It’s just a vehicle. It’s just a license  plate.”

In Yonkers, N.Y., just north of the Bronx, police  said retaining the information indefinitely helps detectives solve future  crimes. In a statement, the department said it uses license plate readers as a  “reactive investigative tool” that is only accessed if detectives are looking  for a particular vehicle in connection to a crime.

“These plate readers are not intended nor used to  follow the movements of members of the public,” the department’s statement  said.

But even if law enforcement officials say they don’t  want a public location tracking system, the records add up quickly. In Jersey  City, N.J., for example, the population is only 250,000 but the city collected  more than 2 million plate images on file. Because the city keeps records for  five years, the ACLU estimates that it has some 10 million on file, making it  possible for police to plot the movements of most residents depending upon the  number and location of the scanners, according to the ACLU.

The ACLU study, based on 26,000 pages of responses  from 293 police departments and state agencies across the country, also found  that license plate scanners produced a small fraction of “hits,” or alerts to  police that a suspicious vehicle has been found. In Maryland, for example, the  state reported reading about 29 million plates between January and May of last  year. Of that amount, about 60,000 — or roughly 1 in every 500 license plates — were suspicious. The No. 1 crime? A suspended or revoked registration, or a  violation of the state’s emissions inspection program accounted for 97 percent  of all alerts.

Eisenberg, the assistant U.S. attorney, said the  numbers “fail to show the real qualitative assistance to public safety and law  enforcement.” He points to the 132 wanted suspects the program helped track.  They were a small fraction of the 29 million plates read, but he said tracking  those suspects can be critical to keeping an area safe.

Also, he said, Maryland has rules in place  restricting access for criminal investigations only. Most records are retained  for one year in Maryland, and the state’s privacy policies are reviewed by an  independent board, Eisenberg noted.

At least in Maryland, “there are checks, and there  are balances,” he said.

Read more.

One Response to “Gov. Palin Decries privacy invasion by Big Brother government”

  1. Tim Vande Schraaf said

    Very sad that the rights that George Washington and the founders fought for during the revolutionary war is shifting to big brother government. President Washington would be saddened with the policies our government is taking on in today’s world. In less that 250 years we have taken 3 steps backward. The Continental army spilled blood all over the eastern coast for rights that have now been trampled on. Do we no longer have a Constitution, or is Big Government choosing to either not read or twist the meaning. Very sad.

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