Massachusetts Cops At it Again

Hey guess what — the police want to take away more of your privacy rights! How? Technology!

Yes that’s right, in Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick last month signed off on $500,000 in grants to local police to monitor license plates using technology that can scan a plate and put it into a central computer. The goal of this technology is to better apprehend criminals and stolen cars, but civil rights groups are complaining that law-abiding citizens may be caught in the policeman’s net as a result of this law. Also, there is a danger that by monitoring a car, anybody can access information on anybody that they want just by tracking where the car went.

Now I don’t fault the police for wanting to get the technological edge in fighting crime. In fact, it is technological advances in forensics and evidence-gathering that have reduced the number of wrongful arrests and incarceration. That being said, we must be careful that we aren’t using technology to spy on innocent citizens or intrude too much into their private lives. We should never have to trade security for liberty, under any circumstances, because if we do, they will both be taken from us.

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