Most people believe they have a right to personal privacy and that the government doesn’t need to know their whereabouts every moment of every day.
Most people would be wrong.
Take, for example, the BC RCMP’s plan for using license plate recording scanners to build a database of the movements of citizens who have done absolutely nothing wrong just because you might do something wrong in the future.
In other parts of the world we would decry the violation of civil rights and be aghast at the police state antics of those nations; here at home it’s just yawn… nothing to see here… business as usual as the Thought Police set up shop across the province.
Sounds ridiculous? If you believe so then you really need to pay a lot closer attention to what the RCMP is saying.
"It can be used to either validate an alibi, or it can be used to find information on a suspect," said Supt. Denis Boucher, head of the provincial E-Division traffic services.
So you just happened to be driving by a crime scene at roughly the time a crime is committed. You’re now automatically a suspect even though you had nothing to do with the crime and were, in fact, driving home for an afternoon with the wife because you got off work early.
Hmmm… sounds pretty darned suspicious… and a huge waste of police resources tracking down and questioning people who have done nothing.
The list could help to check the whereabouts of suspects, Boucher said. "We're interviewing a suspect in a homicide and he says, 'I was nowhere near that crime scene,' and we run his plate and lo and behold, we have a picture of him two blocks from a crime scene," he offered as an example.
Is that really the best you’ve got, Supt. Boucher? You need to build a database of every citizen just in case it might help you solve a crime, some day? Didn’t we just waste $2 billion based on that very premise? It was called the long gun registry, and it never once helped solve a crime according to government sources.
Sounds like a mighty fine reason to waste a ton more of taxpayer dollars, don’t you think?
Don’t you just feel so much better knowing the RCMP is tracking the whereabouts of every law-abiding citizen in the province?
At the moment there are 43 police vehicles in British Columbia with the capability to record over 3,000 license plates per hour. Police currently use these scans to identify individuals with outstanding warrants, expired insurance or anyone whom the police deem to be a “person of interest”, whatever that may mean on any given day.
The RCMP currently claims they delete all license plate data that doesn’t match one of the criteria I have listed above. They’re not happy about deleting all that data on “criminals in waiting” like you and me, of course, and want to keep all the data they collect regardless of whether you’re a “person of interest” or not.
Tracking the whereabouts of Canadians is simply, well, un-Canadian.
In a nation that is supposed to be built on trust and respect it is particularly horrifying to discover our national police force is so completely untrusting of ordinary, everyday Canadians.
We do not and nor do we want to live in a police state; the RCMP’s obvious desire to the contrary notwithstanding.
It’s not whether you have done something that’s the crime, it’s that you might, therefore the RCMP needs to know where you are at all times of the day and night if you’re in your vehicle.
You could have been making that getaway from Tim Hortons late at night after having that iced latte that you know you shouldn't have. Thank God the RCMP will be able to tell your wife and your doctor where you were at 11:42 last night!
Wouldn’t it just be simpler for them to implant tracking devices in the entire population and forgo arrests and trials completely?
I guess the RCMP figures they can’t get away with that all in one step. For now they’ll settle for tracking us in our vehicles… although I don’t know why they bother with the license place scanner system when they can just purchase the data direct from car manufacturers like GM and their OnStar technology. (And yes, the use of that very technology is the reason I will NEVER purchase a GM vehicle.)
As an aside, if you want to read something really scary, read the user agreement for GM’s OnStar program. You have no right to privacy whatsoever and they can sell your driving data to anyone, anytime.
Sounds exactly like what the RCMP has in mind for British Columbians right now, and the rest of Canada in the very near future.
If you want to learn more about the issue of privacy in our ever-growing Nanny State I strongly urge you to read "Moving Toward a Surveillance Society". It's 100% free and will take you only a minute to download.