At the risk of sounding like one of those really bad specials they used to put on the Fox boradcast network, what happens when Technology attacks?
We are starting to see it rear it’s ugly head in the state of Michigan where the state police are using a machine that can copy parts of your cell phone without your knowledge or express permission. Imagine with me this scenerio. You’re driving in the Wolverine state when you see lights behind you and you pull over. The officer asks for license and registration and the usual proof of insurance. After he sees these, he asks to see your cell phone. Since he’s a police officer, you have little choice but to hand it over if you want a less than complex life. He takes it back to his car and unbeknownst to you, he plugs it in to a machine that copies all of your contacts, pictures, texts and history of what calls you made and when. He comes back, hands it off and away you go. The damage is done though as someone who is an agent of the government now knows an awful lot about you and your habits.
The ACLU is chasing after the Michigan State Police on this one and I have to admit, I think they are right for doing so. I believe that this is something along the lines of unreasonable search and seizure. There is no search warrant. There is just a curious cop that wants to see who you are calling and what you have been saying.
We are focused as a nation on making sure we are safe from terrorists, but you have to wonder when we have crossed the line. The line has been crossed when we take away freedoms and rights from people just to protect things a little more, which can be seen at any airport security check. I guess I should count myself lucky that they don’t ask for a strip search because someone just might be carrying a bomb in their shorts.
At any rate, those in the know are justifying the use of these devices saying that it gathers evidence from a phone quickly that could put a stop to large amounts of crime. I can’t argue with that, but the obvious question of what happens when this gets abused comes into play. What do we do when someone parts with information they didn’t want made public and it goes out to everyone? Privacy must be protected unless there is a reason to show that the public saftey of people was needed to be observed. I personally think that devices like this, while useful, are more trouble than they are worth. Depriving rights just to we can protect ourselves show that we deserve, as the forefathers said, neither liberty nor protection. I think it’s time to say no to this particular law enforcement tool.