Friday, September 19, 2008

Watching the Watchers: The Privacy Violation Edition

I'm a bit surprised there was as little news about this as there was, but Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's Yahoo e-mail account was hacked this week. There are allegations that she was using non-governmental e-mail accounts to conduct government business, which is a no-no. And it was also correctly pointed out by commentators that web mail services aren't exactly the most secure accounts in the world.

The car lovers in my audience will surely love the idea that red-light-camera companies are considering teaming up to create a national surveillance network that can recognize license plates and take pictures of drivers and passengers. Undoubtedly this would be useful for law enforcement. One could also make a case that drivers using public roads already have to register their cars with the government. But the idea of developing a tracking database sure sounds like a gateway to first, fourth, and/or sixth amendment violations.

I suppose it could be worse. Oh wait, it is. In Israel, the government is using DNA analysis to track whether pet owners scoop the poop or not. Sounds like an application of Rule 37.

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