Big Brother is Already Here

Under the ever-seeing eye of God we are free. But not under the surveillance state that is increasingly using artificial intelligence and other technology to track every move we make.

It may come as a surprise to most Americans, but the United States already has more closed-circuit cameras per capita than China: 15.28 surveillance cameras per 100 citizens, compared to 14.36 in China. But even 50 million surveillance cameras is apparently not enough for the government control freaks.

For example, the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted 3-1 to install about 1,000 surveillance cameras with Automated License Plate Recognition capability on city streetlights, claiming that they will help law enforcement solve crimes. But the cameras will also record the comings and goings of every law-abiding citizen.

A similar program was suspended in 2016 after public outcry over the program’s lack of transparency, limited oversight, and confusion about who would own the data collected. The council then passed a Surveillance Ordinance that supposedly put these serious concerns to rest by creating a privacy advisory board.

But the ordinance includes an exemption for any city cops assigned to a federal task force, so if the feds are involved, there’s really no privacy from the electronic spying after all. Another exemption added by the city attorney states that “no confidential or sensitive information should be disclosed that would violate any applicable law or would undermine the legitimate security interests of the City” – leaving it entirely up to city employees exactly what “legitimate security interests” entail.

You could drive a 14-wheeler through these loopholes.

And most cities in the U.S. have similar surveillance programs.

In an amicus brief filed in California in 2020, the Electronic Frontier Foundation noted that ALPRs – which can scan up to 1,800 license plates per minute – “undermine the “degree of privacy against government that existed when the Fourth Amendment was adopted … because they give police a capability unimaginable in the past—the ability to enter a virtual time machine and view suspects’ past movements.”

The data these CCTV cameras capture, mostly of people who are not suspects in any crime, is huge. They can not only pinpoint the date, place and time a vehicle passes, but also take photos of occupants of the vehicle and any identifying information, such as bumper stickers. Piecing this data together can reveal an individual’s place of business, where they go for worship or recreation, who they visit, where they shop, and any number of other personal information that the government is not authorized to collect without a warrant.

And through the use of shared databases, some governmental and others privately owned, EFF found that most law enforcement agencies “were sharing data directly with around 160 other agencies.”

There is no way that a person’s constitutional right to be free from “unreasonable searches” when 160 government bodies can track their every move.

This technology is supposedly being used to track down criminals. But the overwhelming amount of data collected is from law-abiding citizens going about their daily lives.  

China now uses its millions of surveillance cameras to enforce its draconian “social credit” regime.

If we don’t wake up, Americans are next.

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