1984 called…

I suspect that I am like many of you, in that I get my news from RSS feeds. I currently subscribe to more than one hundred RSS feeds, and get far more interesting information than I ever did from network news, like this story out of Tennessee: Metro Nashville police use GPS to track gang members.

We’ve been doing it for years out here in California with people on “House Arrest”, and sex offenders, and various unpalatable criminal types, so this doesn’t really surprise me. But it does scare the crap out of me. Eventually this is going to become common place, and it’s just a short jump from where we are now to “DHS needs to know the location of all Citizens at all times, for your safety, and to prevent terrorism”. But this is the thing that really makes me wonder where this is going:

We know where you are, every second, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

– Charles Traughber, Chairman of the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole

Boy that sounds an awful lot like “Big Brother is watching you.” There is just so much potential for abuse here. On the other side of things, I’ve never really been ok with doing this with sex offenders either. I’m of the bent that if you are so untrustworthy that we have to tag you like it’s some sort of Orwellian National Geographic study, you shouldn’t be out walking around. And do these people really believe that there is no way to defeat these things? Now I don’t have any information on the specific equipment that these guys are using, but the results of a quick Google search on how to remove ankle bracelets reveal that it is apparently trivially easy to remove these things without anyone knowing. I know for a fact that you can buy GPS jammers for like $30 online, and build them even cheaper.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending gang members or rapists here. I just can’t condone this kind of behavior. We (the governed) give our consent to the government to punish criminals. But where does this end? Get a speeding ticket, get a GPS tag for five years, and if you speed you do jail time? Seriously. If you think that it won’t happen, you’re lying to yourself. Just as soon as some bean counter somewhere figures out that the tickets can write themselves, it’s gonna happen.


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