Kathryn Watson of Watchdog.org writes from Alexandria, Virginia:
The police know exactly where my car has been — and when — during the past few months.
They could have the same information — or more — about you.
Curious to learn what the police gathers and stores about her own movements, Watson asked them for her personal information, noting that she has nothing more than parking tickets on her record. What she learned was “unsettling,” to say the least. [emphasis added]
In all, police captured 16 photos of my car — mostly at night — and recorded my license plate eight times on five dates — from October 2013 to as recently as April 1.
In January, a license plate reader captured my plate twice while my car was parked in the lot of my apartment complex, according to latitude and longitude records.
Police also captured records of my car as I drove to Bible study on a typical Wednesday night in March.
Still, others were captured in various spots around Old Town Alexandria. …
The state’s highest constitutional office has already said random collection and storage isn’t legal — but many local police departments in Virginia continue to do it. …
The top-of-the-line ALPR technology allows local police departments like Alexandria’s to capture up to 1,800 license plates per minute …
That’s exactly why civil rights advocates such as John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute in Charlottesville, said the widespread collection and preservation of license plate data not only potentially violates search and seizure rights in the Fourth Amendment, but it also makes people leery to exercise their First Amendment rights.
In 2008 and 2009, the Virginia State Police, which now regularly expunges records but still collects them, captured license plate data of people at political rallies for Sarah Palin and Barack Obama.
“It could be used against you later,” Whitehead said earlier this month. …
It can and will be used against you “later.”
Capturing and storing information about everyone’s movements (e.g., as they attend a Palin rally) makes people afraid to exercise their Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom to associate and assemble, which is certainly one of the goals of the Obama administration when it comes to their political opponents.
In addition, if the government can capture license plates of people attending rallies for Obama, then they can find their names and addresses, too. Then “later,” these presumed-pro-Obama “folks” can be targeted for political ads and get-out-the-vote activities, which has always been a goal of the Obama campaigners, especially ACORN and ACORN-like groups.
Who believes that, given this juicy database, the powers-that-be in Virginia and the federal government won’t tap the data for political purposes?
It can certainly be credibly argued that the political usefulness of the information is exactly why the data is being collected.
As we’ve seen with the illegal data collection done by the NSA, as we’ve seen with the illegal targeting of political adversaries by the IRS, the Obama administration and its fellow travelers continue to ignore the laws and the U.S. Constitution.
Unless something radically changes in the elections of 2014 and 2016, those “private”
prying eyes will be watching you, watching you, watching you …
forever more. Welcome to the Police State of America.
The USA becomes the PSA … “fundamentally transformed” before your very