In 2015 there will be some questions in our august legislative body about the police department’s photo-robots that capture license plates. They say it helps with investigations. Well, so does making everyone shave their head and get a barcode tattoo read by low-circling drones.
What do you mean, you’d wear a hat just to protect your privacy? You sound like a criminal. Anyway, the drone can fly low and knock off your hat. And don’t think about messing up the barcode with a Sharpie because you believe in “privacy.”
I’m not paranoid on this issue. I don’t brace the paper-delivery person every morning and say “how do you know I live here?” I can see why the police would want a searchable database of everything that ever happened. Your profession colors your view of what’s reasonable and necessary. If you gave them the power, firefighters would want sprinklers in every room of the house, including the shower.
But there is the small matter of protecting that database of license-plate pictures. You know how this will go: City announces gigantic 40 terabyte database of license photos “so secure God himself could not hack this file, and I say that fully aware that such a taunt led to the sinking of the Titanic.” An hour later a group called iC3B3RG puts every license plate picture online.
Discovery in divorce trials could romp through the data and uncover so many things.
“You told your wife that while she was out of town, you went to the Walker Art Institute, the Guthrie, the Goodwill to donate some clothing, and later had dinner downtown with old friends, correct? Isn’t it true you never left the house at all except to drive to Liquor Harry’s, and your entire story of leading an interesting, cultured life is merely a cover for the fact that you sat around drinking Hamm’s and watching a Golf Channel marathon on the Greatest Putts of the 20th Century?
The judge could strike the question on objection, but the jury would have already heard it. At this point you may be wondering, “why does this divorce have a jury?” Good question. Here’s a better one: How did they solve crimes before they had pictures of everyone’s license plates?