Privacy: Once it's gone, it'll be hard to get back

Jul 30, 2013


My topic this week is about the license plate readers.

It appears the city grabbed up a free grant and didn’t know exactly what they were getting into. The city claims they can’t get into the state’s data base with the readers and they practically serve no purpose but to collect data for Homeland Security. Washington has flimflammed the city with the word free in exchange for our privacy. I am glad there wasn’t any local matching money included because there would be an even bigger issue with the whole matter.

There was once a Washington senator who gave out Golden Fleece awards to the government for wasted tax dollars. The police readers would surely qualify for that award. I can’t imagine the police department receiving the grant and not asking whether or not the equipment would be adaptable with the entity’s application; but on the other hand, the grant was free so who cares to ask any further questions to vet the equipment.

There seems to be a lot of complacency among the younger generation about privacy. The younger people were brought up with cameras all around them. The older folks have experienced what freedom is all about so it is difficult for the older folks to give it up without a fight. It seems our freedoms are being slowly stripped away until we end up feeling like we are living in a communistic country. If you don’t complain to your elected officials about how you want your privacy distributed, you will wake up some day and wonder how all your privacy just vanished when you were too busy to even pay attention.

Once freedom is gone, it will be impossible to gain it back. The public cannot afford to become complacent or too busy to contact your elected officials to tell them you are not at all happy with their decision to circumvent your privacy. I think if data collection is warranted, the people should have the right to be notified of that fact.

I would like for our police department to completely remove the readers and not just tell us that they are no longer being used while they are still installed on the cars. If the police department didn’t ask enough questions before the readers were installed, how can we trust the police department to keep the readers on the car and then tell us they are not being used?

Until next week, if no one complains, the entity tends to take advantage of the situation and more cameras will start to appear all in the name of terrorism and safety as an excuse to collect data on us. It is entirely up to you to monitor how much personal data collection is tolerable.


The Bizness


A communistic society would be a stateless society if it were a true fully communistic society.

I am from the younger generation and I can tell you I am worried about too much invasion of privacy. However, I think what the government is doing is much more innocent than what private companies do with my data.

I couldn't even think to imagine what kind of pictures would surface if I ran for a public office of any significance. Some would probably be hilarious.


I'm with you, Bizness. As a younger person, I am more afraid of what dataminers are doing than the government.


You SHOULD be afraid of the data miners! But here's the REAL kicker: Those data miners are all too often a source used and abused by the government as much as they are by corporate interests. Note the warrantless requests for phone records, IP information, and much, much more.

The real difference between the two, as I've said before, is simply that corporations can't arrest you at gunpoint while the government can. Another difference? MOST of what corporations collect is given to them voluntarily. By YOU. If you're really concerned, STOP IT. Take Sharon's advice and complain to the City about the license plate readers. Get rid of the loyalty cards. That's another easy one. Stop telling everybody everything on your Facebook page. Don't tag others without their knowledge and consent, either, and tell your friends you expect the same courtesy. Text messages? Retrievable and on the record, boys and girls.

I'm delighted to hear that at least some who consider themselves from the younger generation are just as concerned they ought to be about data collection. The question is, though, are you just going to accept it as the price of living in today's society? Or are you going to join those of us who choose to fight it? You CAN, you know. You just have to WANT to!

The Bizness

At this point I see no real problem with the license plate readers, so no I will not join you.


It's not the readers that are the problem. It's the database they feed.
If the readers simply checked for stolen vehicles and then deleted any data on the negative results, that would be OK. The problem is the dossier of your movements that's being assembled using the readers.

Corporations can only ask for your information. The government can take it by force. Government IS force.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Good points, Nemesis. Even if a database was kept I would rather it be on a local or state level so there is a layer of authority above them to which I can appeal in the case of abuse. But simply checking for known legal issues without presuming criminal activity on everyone else is fine.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I'd have to generally agree, Biz. I am sure there is a picture of me and a friend dressed as Inebrius Prime (a beer delivery truck) and Kegotron (obvious) "Transformers" for one Halloween at Ohio University.


Actually, bizness, "communistic" isn't a real word, and the paragraph in which it's found is unworthy of a sixth grader. More quality writing from the crack journalists at the Register.


Re: "A communistic society would be a stateless society"

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. "

- James Madison

Marx was nuts and without financial help from Engles woulda starved to death.

Typical socialist - living off the sweat of another's brow.

The Bizness

I am not sure why you had to reply to my statement....True communism would be utopia, I know it is not possible.

You are one interesting character.


Re: "True communism would be utopia"

By definition, "utopia" is a: Place that doesn't exist.

Though hundreds of millions have died and been murdered in seeking it's fruition.

IMO, a communist society would be a dystopia and would necessitate a lack of progress.

See von Mises': "Socialism."


Sharon , Have you read the Register's privacy policy ? Information is power and everyone wants some. ; ))))


I agree with you Sharon, take them off the cars and send them back.

The Big Dog's back

So you are "volunteering" things to Corporations? Hardly. And remember sam, Corporations can destroy you in a heartbeat. "Stolen identity", bank "error", credit report. I'll still take my chances on elected officials.


Big Dog, the elected officials claim they didn't know about the collection of data and where it was going and you trust them to vote on the legislation?

The Big Dog's back

They knew. They were briefed on it. If they didn't pay attention, whose fault is that? Elect someone else.


True to form.... dogs only see in black and white

The Big Dog's back

Actually it's been proven dogs can see colors.


MK-Ultra, Operation Paperclip, VD tests on placed on blacks/Ala./twenties. (Without their knowledge/permission) Geez what a storied history we have.


Any other time I would be against L-P Readers , But the fact of the matter is , that with all thie crime that is going on not only in Sandusky , but all over the country , We need to put the thugs of our time back where they belong . LOCKED UP.
I know a lot of people may disagree with me on this , but the fact of the matter if you are a law bidding persom you have nothin to fear .
I say that all law enforcement cars sould have them and be able to use them
Truth be told , when the bill of rights was done our for fathers didnt not know that the world would turned into the world we live in today .If they did they would have worded the Bill of right better and would made them with just the things of today in mind
I am a firm believer of the Bill of Rights , but I also think that law brakers are using the bill of rights to cover up the laws that they brake and the courts have taken the Bill of rights and used then to protect the ones that have no regard for the rights of other and they use the right to slip through the cracks
Wisemen they were , for that time in our nations history
If you want to deter crimes you need to get the bill of right caught up with the times of today and protect everyone and not just the law brakers
And if you did what I mentioned above , you wouldnt need things like the camaras on the backs of police cars Not to mention you also need to get People the respect the laws , And no I am not saying agree with then , but just to respect the laws as well as abide by them
One thing to is if you dont like the laws , then do what should be done and contact you state or locul goverment to change the laws


Ah, I see: You're willing to trade liberty for a little perceived safety. Benjamin Franklin had words to say about men like you!

You are NOT a "firm believer in the Bill of Rights." You believe in whatever's convenient for YOU. Sort of like the government these days! If you don't believe in rights for the accused, then you can't believe in them for the rest of us, either. You suggest the Bill of Rights be "caught up with the times" so that they "protect everyone." They DO protect everybody, INCLUDING the bad guys. Seems you find that objectionable.

As far as whether or not I have anything to hide, I really don't. I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you don't, either. But since you and I ARE innocent, why is the data scanned by these readers being collected, collated, and saved forever? If my license plate doesn't come up with any wants or warrants, why is my name, location, etc. being stored by Homeland Security? THAT'S the part I find objectionable, not the part where the police are just doing their REAL job!


I have to agree with this statement completely. Why does the government want to know my actions as well? Since I am a law abiding citizen, why do they need to know my movements, my actions and keep that information? Why do they need to "tap" my computer, my cell phone and my phone calls? What information could they possibly hope to gleen from a little old lady who has nothing to hide? Oh, yes, they look for the key words I might use to show my demented underside showing that I am plotting a governement overthrow in my basement (if I had a basement), or that the girls and I are plotting it during our weekly pinocole game, etc. PLEASE!!!! They are law abiding as well. The truth is, who is afraid of whom here? These card readers are helping no one, serving no purpose on reducing crime and should go. I thank George Orwell and his lovely book I read years ago. It prepared me well for this day. Glad I read it and took at least some of it seriously.
Those who are not prepared shall suffer the consequences of ignorance. Those who do not learn from mistakes will repeat them forever.


Maybe its only Sandusky that has defective units, I know officers from two other departments who told me their readers detect, owners of plates with warrants, suspensions, and expired status with a direct link to our state bureau of motor vehicles and a crosscheck with the federal database, known as NCIC for warrants from other states and federal warrants.


Sure, IF the local department does the IT work to make that happen, but that's not cheap. But out of the box that functionality is not offered - the feds give the department what the FEDS want, and leave it up to them to implement the rest. That's not likely in a town where the City Manager doesn't know how to use Microsoft Excel.

Mr. D

@ gene. . . You are not a firm believer in the Bill of Rights, just another sad case of someone living in fear and being comforted by words of being protected by sacrificing freedom. Bet you feel warm and fuzzy all over!!!
@Webster. . . Do you really believe what officers told you about the cameras? Do they even know what the cameras can do? Or is it just what they were "told" the cameras would do?


The officer were from different department and I have known them for years I believe them before I would believe what I read in any newspaper. They both have had results in arresting wanted people on warrants from these devices, not everything is a conspiracy. Sorry I used facts and not rumor.


I guess the sheriff department has defective units also? Maybe everyone is busy covering up this whole story because it has all been uncovered exactly where the data is being stored.


Those believing that govt. power is benign, don't know history.

Eventually, even the most "well intentioned" power will eventually be misused.

One needs only look at the mission creep of the Patriot Act and the NDAA.

Even one of the authors of the PA, says that the NSA has gone too far.

And who are the judges which sit on the FISA court? Is there any public representative?

FA Hayek, illustrated this concept of the misuse of power brilliantly in the "Road to Serfdom."


If people are worried about Privacy.. Then people need to re-think Facebook, Twitter and the like , shouldn't they?

Oh, and put up more concealing window treatments ( such as drapes) , simple , but true. :)


Re: "If people are worried about Privacy.."

Which is why nuts like bin Laden and Ted Kaczynski stayed off the "grid."

The "Big brains" are too focus on the tech and often forget basic detective work which is how both of the above were found.

Probably 99.9% of the stuff that these guys are collecting, which we are paying for while they are pretending to protect us is worthless.