Skip to content

Who Tracks, and Who Cares?

January 27, 2015

Hey, is anyone concerned that there are people out there who track your every move?  I mean, everyone is worried that there are cameras everywhere, and that the government can actually look at them… right?

According to the Journal, the DEA program uses high-tech cameras placed on major highways to collect information on vehicle movements, including location and direction. Many of the devices are able to record images of drivers and passengers, some of which are clear enough identify individuals. Documents seen by the Journal also show that the DEA uses information from federal, state, and local license plate readers to burnish their own program.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air isn’t all that impressed, mostly because he thinks it gives us the ability to do better law enforcement.  At some level, our tax dollars are going into the government paying for those traffic cameras.  We should use them for something other than posting the occasional car crash warning.

But really, how many of you out there are using Google Maps?  You happily clicked yes on those terms of service the first time you used it, right?  You had to, otherwise it would exit.  There are three or four links in there to other terms of service that you also agreed to in the process… so you can’t even find everything on one page.

Google collects location data from every device that has Maps loaded and uses it to determine traffic patters, make decisions on route planning, and the like.  While all the data is anonymous in the system, it’s data that Google collects and uses.  How hard would it be for Google to ID and track an individual user in the system?  Not hard at all.

The fact that Google can track more personal information than the government can is something that most people just take for reality.  And I don’t think that Google is going to use that to do the equivalent of a Hollywood movie on any person.  Despite anything that Hollywood tells you, a company that kills or maims either its employees or customers won’t stay in business for very long.  But with that said, we all seem to look at the, “Don’t be evil,” corporate mission and assume that all is right in the world.  In the meanwhile, our government is actually trying to prevent evil (while occasionally creating it by accident, hey, it’s the the government…), and we assume all evil intent.

So am I upset that some camera base has my license plate info?  The government could be paying someone to sit on the corner and track that.  Meanwhile, I give Google (and others) all the info they want and more by using their free service.

So what’s the greater concern?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2015 8:41 am

    I am concerned that while tracking my every move, they may die from bordom.

    • March 9, 2015 9:05 am

      A million boring people can make things pretty exciting, sir. Trust the data hounds to find cool stuff in the blur.

  2. January 28, 2015 7:15 pm

    The greater concern, to answer your last question, is the focus. What is the intent behind this? Over and over, it is revealed to be directed at perceived enemies of the Obama administration, rather than actual enemies of the United States.

    A case in point: It was just revealed that the Obama administration has a plan for tracking the license plates of those who attend gun shows:

    A subtlety here: They now claim that they “never implemented” the plan and made a decision not to do so — but the document request for all relevant documents has no trace of any such decision.

    Obama considers half of the country to be a threat to his agenda. Perhaps he is correct, but it is our right to oppose it. We are not criminals, to be denied bank accounts (as he’s been doing to firearms dealers and such) and other aspects of normal life.

    ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    • January 28, 2015 10:13 pm

      Heck, I’ve been doing a technology scenario for data mining that uses license plates, criminal background checks, and then mining of public social media data. It’s less that this can happen, it’s more how easy it can happen.

      • January 29, 2015 10:16 am

        You and I have overlapping backgrounds here. I was involved in building Clinton’s Total Information Awareness system, from software algorithms to helping negotiate some of the deals with state law enforcement to feed into it and get data back. (This included the deal that resulted in the Florida 2000 fiasco, which was not at all as portrayed in the media.)

        But even Clinton’s use of this system did not target political enemies (though he did some of that with the FBI).

        ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: