Here are some items which appear to have escaped attention of the popular press.
First, remember all the hoo-hah about cameras at intersections catching red-light runners? There was some considerable outcry that having cameras which could take photos of EVERY license plate of EVERY car and keep a database of where ANY driver was at ANY point during the day or night might not be such a good idea.
The State of Virginia decided to outlaw them. The Peoples' Republic of the District of Columbia, of course, has them everywhere.
The people of the Great State of California are going to be treated to a new and improved version of the red-light-running-camera: It is called the Skyseer and is going to be deployed by the LA County Sheriff's office to catch bad guys.
The Skyseer is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which, according to the BBC, "can fly at any height. At 250 feet above the ground, it can clear a 25-story building and is almost invisible."
It has a camera on board which feeds video to someone sitting in front of a monitor who can "then see, in real time, what [the UAV] is seeing,
Of course the cops are saying it would be used for things like, "when children go missing down a hillside in difficult terrain," and to "get an aerial view of a building where someone is believed to have broken in through the roof," which, in LA County, probably happens much more often than it does in, say, your neighborhood.
This idea is disturbing. I know that quantitatively it is no different than two deputies cruising around in a squad car equipped with a video camera, but it still creeps me out.
The guy in charge of evaluating this activity made me feel much better when we was quoted saying, "you have nothing to fear from your own government - you are being watched by your fellow citizens."
Yeah, right. I've got three words for him: N. S. A.
Remember the case of Wen Ho Lee, the scientist at Los Alamos who was accused of, arrested for and later found innocent on charges of having stolen secrets from the New Mexico super-secret facility?
He was awarded $1.65 million from the Federal government and five media companies for having divulged and published private information about him.
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