Tag Archives: camera

The EYE is always watching

It seems we’re waltzing towards the “creepy” side of the dance floor.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Everyone driving on Interstate 15 in southwest Utah may soon have their license plate scanned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA and two sheriffs are asking permission to install stationary license plate scanners on the freeway in Beaver and Washington counties. The primary purpose would be to catch or build cases against drug traffickers, but at a Utah Legislature committee meeting Wednesday, the sheriffs and a DEA representative described how the scanners also could be used to catch kidnappers and violent criminals.

The scanners would capture only the license plate, the GPS coordinates and the direction of travel, Newcomb said. If the DEA or another law enforcement agency has input a license plate number for a car to be stopped immediately, local police would be notified by email or a cell phone text message when that plate crossed the scanner.


For long-term investigations, including those tracking people who grow marijuana on public land in Utah, the digital data would be routed through the police dispatch centers in Beaver and Washington counties to a DEA facility in northern Virginia where it would be stored for two years.

The stored data could be used only to research the movements of suspected drug traffickers or to help other law enforcement agencies investigating serious crimes, Newcomb said. The DEA would track who is accessing the data and why, he said.

The stored data would not be cross-referenced with other databases such as those with names, drivers license or car make and model information, Newcomb said.

“I can assure you there is no private information stored in association with these plates,” Newcomb told lawmakers.

Ummm, sure.

I’m not breaking the law, and I don’t have anything to hide, so why does this bother me so much? And why do I keep having flashbacks to the movie Enemy of the State?

I think it has to do with the presumption of innocence, and various steps that our law enforcement is taking which run counter to that presumption. Each step of “help” seems to come at the expense of the law-abiding citizen. Whether it is fear of the IRS, being groped by the TSA, spied on by drones in the sky, or worse: having those drones armed, you can’t escape the feeling that the government wants to keep tabs on us more than we are willing to keep tabs on the government.

And I wonder: how much more of our freedom do we have to lose before people shout “Enough”!?

Because obviously, we’re not there yet.