I remember reading the book 1984 in high school in the year 1984 and thinking how wrong the author got it. He was wrong, but only by about 20 years. In the book, the government knew where you were and what you were doing at all times. They even provided drugs that subdued the masses and made them complacent. In the year 1984, this seemed almost silly. Now today, about 1/3 of the country takes prescription drugs for pain, depression and anxiety. Drugs that make you just plain feel better. What is really scary is that the real big brother is watching. We all know about the CCTV in Europe. Basically, everywhere you go, you are on a government camera. The United States has cameras, but not nearly as many. What the U.S. does have is even scarier. Or to be more specific, what the South Florida police departments have is terrifying.
LICENSE PLATE RECOGNITION CAMERAS
Probably the first time you have ever heard of them, but it won’t be the last. These high tech cameras are placed in police cars or stationary locations and read license plates. They record the time, date and location of your car. By extension, they are recording your location, date and time … all the time. The cameras can take read thousands of tags an hour and do the work of twenty cops. The worst part, you have no idea you are being tracked.
The police say it is a crime fighting tool. They can see if your tag is expired and give you traffic ticket. They can see of the car is stolen and pull it over. They can also read tags for Amber Alerts and save lives. This may all be true, but at what cost. Before you say “who cares, if you have nothing to hide.” If that is your view, than you won’t mind if the police search your bedroom without a warrant. Or if the police search your computer for no reason. Even the fact that they are being used to give out tickets is troubling. If your tag is expired a few days, you should not get a ticket. If your drivers license is suspended and you have not even received the letter from the DMV yet, the cops will know it an stop you.
THE EVEN BIGGER PROBLEM
The data that is collected can be stored for years. They are now being used in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Hollywood, Lighthouse Points and Broward and Dade County sheriff. Just to give you a flavor of how much data we are talking about, the city of Boca Raton has stored over 1,500,000 plates so far. What would happen if hackers could get that information? I can think of a few ways this information can be abused. First, if I had that information in real time, I could rob your house when I knew you were elsewhere. Second, if I wanted to target you for attending a protest or religious event, I would know where you were. I could know all of your habits of travel and where you spend all of your time, without you ever knowing it. Also, because the police departments are so strapped for cash, it is only a matter of time before they begin selling this “public” data for commercial purposes. I can’t even imagine how this will be abused.
If hackers can get into the pentagon, banks and Amazon, how hard do you think it will be to get into your local police departments servers. The same servers that are probably 10 or more years old. Not very long. The reality is that 1984 is here and it is now. Mark my words, within ten years, the police will have facial recognition software in their cars and will be tracking the drivers as well as the cars. That means that no matter where you are, there will almost always be a record of it. Your movements, likes, dislikes, habits, and everything else will be recorded and sold to the highest bidder. What is really scary is what those who wish to do you harm will be able to do with this data. To quote the movie, The Fly, BE AFRAID … BE VERY AFRAID.