Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy | Tags: Keeping Us Safe, Keeping Us Under Control, What Are the Limits?
“Intellistreets” is coming to your city before you know it. I am not a conspiracy type, but in a time when we have government expanding their role, regulating, controlling, intruding into all sectors of American life where they have no business — you have to wonder. These talking streetlights can not only give you instructions, orders, but observe you, record your conversation and take your picture. Seems very strange that major cities would be purchasing these expensive gadgets when budgets are so tight and out-of-control.
Oddly enough, this comes at a moment when Congress has given their approval for drone flights to patrol and observe the domestic front. The only barrier to routine use of drones for persistent surveillance are the procedural requirements imposed by the FAA for the issuance of certificates, and the Department of Transportation, parent of the FAA, has announced plans to streamline certification. According to some estimates, the commercial drone market in the United States could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars once the FAA clears their use. How many drones and how much patrolling?
It was only last month that I was writing about the proposed Senate Bill 1813, the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.” As far as I know, it hasn’t advanced beyond the pretentious name, but it makes it mandatory for all new cars in the U.S. to be fitted with black box-like recorders beginning in 2015. Called “Mandatory Event Data Recorders,” the devices would be capable of monitoring your speed, driving habits, braking habits, miles driven, location and distance of travel — and removal of the device would be a civil offense. The measurements would remain the property of the vehicle owner, but the government would have the authority to retrieve the data. I suppose it measures your carbon footprint as well.
I can certainly see the use of drones to patrol the border. We not only have the illegal alien problem, but there is a vicious drug war going on just south of the border. Suspected drug gang killers dumped 49 headless bodies on a highway near Mexico’s northern city of Monterrey this last week. But they are not talking about patrolling just the border, if they are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. Observing farmer’s crops, your barbecue?
Each of these innovations has some positive benefits. I am not at all sure that the benefits outweigh the governmental intrusion. If you are of a conspiratorial turn of mind — it could be pretty scary. There has been an outcry over surveillance cameras. I would prefer to see strong legal restrictions on the use of any of these new technologies, or better yet, just don’t do it.
Leftists begin with trying to regulate everything, and that becomes control, for the left doesn’t like disagreement or disapproval and wants to stamp it out. They want a green world, and they want it now. They believe themselves to be doing nice things that will benefit society as they put more restrictions on what dissenters may do. That’s what prompted George Orwell to write 1984, after all. And that book was not meant just as an entertainment.
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