Now They Want to Track Our Daily Travel.
The Department of Homeland Security wants to keep a record of where you drive your car. According to the Washington Post, that agency wants a nationwide database of license-plate readers, and they've already asked private traffic-camera companies for access to their data. Of course, a DHS spokesperson said that license plate data “could only be accessed in conjunction with ongoing criminal investigations,” but that sounds a lot like the same old line we've been fed about other surveillance programs.
As of 2011, about three-quarters of police departments used these license-plate readers, and 85 percent planned to install even more cameras. These systems are snapping photos of our cars, and keeping track of almost every place we travel. Even before the recent announcement from DHS, the American Civil Liberties Union said that constantly monitoring our movement can “chill the exercise of our cherished rights to free speech and association.” Giving DHS the power to mine this data and track our movement only solidifies the ACLU's warning.
We have seen our civil rights whittled away under the guise of national security, and now we're being tracked online, on the phone, and even on our public roadways. The national security state has become intrusive, and the constant monitoring poses a serious risk to our privacy, our free speech, and our fundamental right to speak out against our government. We should not be giving these agencies more power to track us, we should be reigning them in and demanding that our civil rights be protected.