Letter: Is Big Brother flying over Gloucester?
Technology can be a boon to communities such as ours, but without restraint it can be problematic. Yesterday, I was discussing with folks the low-flying planes collecting information for the county’s information system. Topographical data, assessment data, emergency planning, even illegal logging or dumping to me are just some of the positive uses photos from planes or satellites can provide.
That said, all technologies have dark capabilities that, if not controlled and, in some instances disallowed, completely infringe upon our right to privacy and Lady Liberty’s need to show just cause before spying on her citizens. After 9/11, FISA laws were enabled to protect our country from terrorists, allowing authorities who suspected someone of planning terrorist acts the latitude to tap lines and other surveillance behaviors while their warrants are being processed—in other words, spy on you and me before it is determined we did anything wrong. This brings me back to the conversations.
Some were worried, with concerns about looking for code violations as a revenue tool to how does the county insure an individual’s privacy on their property is not violated and, if it is, who is liable. Mining data for possible persons of interest sounds a lot like the plot of a current television series, but it is being done daily worldwide. Gloucester County should be restrained from using any surveillance data for enforcement purposes. At the very least, public comment/hearings should be held, detailing what if any law enforcement or code compliance plans exist and how they will be administered. Big Brother used to be paranoia … today, it is a reality.