Tuesday, July 13, 2021

"New" Eavesdropping isn't New

No one has any problem with a store owner putting up surveillance systems to protect their assets against theft or damages.  Identifying and prosecuting those who'd violate their private property effectively deters crime.  Criminals waive their right to privacy when they choose to violate someone else's property.

If that equipment is used to identify and log the movement of those who've committed no crime, however, it violates the spirit of freedom.  History is rife with the abuse of very similar behaviors.  Just because you can do something that might have a positive effect doesn't mean you should, especially if due diligence hasn't confirmed that it won't have negative effects.

It's not like this type of equipment and software is new; it's been around for decades.  Americans, after much study and chagrin, have routinely rejected it as draconian.  Sadly, there will always be those who have either forgotten their history lessons, or simply don't care.  I'm afraid the latter now outnumbers the former.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to know who's violating your property.  There's nothing wrong with filming people on your private property, as long as you let them know what you're doing, and give them the option of leaving before doing so.  Just don't randomly record people without their consent, especially not with the specific purpose of using it to track them.  That's just creepy. 

EDIT:  I'm reminded of a post a few years ago: Andy Taylor on Due Process. The same issues exist with collecting this type of data on someone without their consent and eavesdropping.  If someone records everything you say or do, it can be edited to your detriment or presented without enough context to imply something completely different.  

Andy does a pretty good job of explaining it to Opie.