Another day, another revelation of how the government has pushed its spying efforts a bit too far. This time, it involves our vehicles and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
I'm sure that little bit of information speaks volumes. In order to better combat the import and movement of drugs, the DEA has been working on automatically tracking vehicles - our vehicles - in real-time. This isn't the result of chips being secretly embedded in our license plates, though. Instead, it's all tied to scanners that read the plates, and then upload data, such as location, to a massive database.
This is concerning for a couple of reasons. With this technology, the DEA would be able to tell if you're on-the-move - merely traveling to another state, for example - or if you haven't moved at all for a while. It could be that if you parked your car at an airport to go on vacation; the DEA would no doubt be able to piece that together with information gathered.
Flickr: Josh Kellogg
All of this information came about after the American Civil Liberties Union pored over some DEA documents that were released under the freedom of information act. The Wall Street Journal goes on to say that this tracking database is up to the "hundreds of millions" of records, though it's hard to say exactly how many individual vehicles are actually in there.
The ACLU puts it well in saying, "Data-mining the information, an unproven law enforcement technique that the DEA has begun to use here, only exacerbates these concerns, potentially tagging people as criminals without due process".
As if our privacy wasn't already compromised enough, the situation simply continues to become worse. It sure doesn't paint a pretty picture for the future, does it?