Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Big Brother Comes to Massachusetts

If this doesn’t make your skin crawl…

Civil libertarians are raising the alarm over the state’s plans to create a Big Brother database that could map drivers’ whereabouts with police cruiser-mounted scanners that capture thousands of license plates per hour — storing that information indefinitely where local cops, staties, feds and prosecutors could access it as they choose…

The computerized scanners, known as Automatic License Plate Recognition devices, instantly check for police alerts, warrants, traffic violations and parking tickets, which cops say could be an invaluable tool in thwarting crime.


Well yes, they might very well be invaluable in stopping crime. So would putting cameras in every room of every house in America, which would undoubtedly catch lots of people doing illegal things that we might otherwise never find out about. Do those ends justify those means? Of course not.

“What kind of a society are we creating here?” asked civil rights lawyer Harvey Silverglate, who along with the ACLU fears police abuse. “There comes a point where the surveillance is so pervasive and total that it’s a misnomer to call a society free any longer.”

Silverglate is a civil libertarian hero. And he’s dead right. This needs to be stopped immediately.