More Opinion

You Are Being Tracked

How the lack of rules govering the search, seizure, achiving and dissemination of personal information violates our privacy and civil liberties

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a report on the lack of rules governing how information gathered from license plate readers, such as the one utilized by the Hollister Police Department, raises serious privacy and civil liberty concerns about the automatic searching, seizing, archival and dissemination of personal and private driver information - to who knows whom. The wide variation, and in most cases, the undisclosed use of such information is most disturbing in a free society.

The ACLU’s report, "You Are Being Tracked," releases some 300 police department documents showing location records being kept on tens of millions of innocent Americans- this includes Hollister automobile drivers and residents.

I call upon the Hollister City Council and the chief of the Hollister Police Department, since they supported and feel most comfortable in their authorization of these instruments of personal intrusion into our private lives and movements – for no apparent reason – to release the official department policy, guidelines and regulations governing their use.       

To see the ACLU report, click here.


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Luis Burguillo (An Engaged and ...)

As a student of the media and journalism, I am interested in utilizing the medium in order to assure that the residents of the City of Hollister and San Benito County are alerted, informed and educated on the official actions of their elected officials who are sworn to preserve, protect and defend the US constitution and Bill of Rights. More importantly, their engagement in the political process will hold the leaders accountable for their actions/decisions and lead to an improved governance.


Submitted by (Paul Hartnett) on

In all likelihood, there are likely few orno guidelines established for these readers and the tracking technology employed in Hollister. This has tended to be the practice employed by police until abuses become known. It is important to recognize that surveillance goes beyond the readers, and includes facial recognition of citizens. Such focused photography has led police to abuse such technology by using cameras to look at people who are objects of their sexual interest.
As a result, police departments have had to turn off cameras because they were used to peep into women's bathrooms or spy on girlfriends and wives (or ex-girlfiends, wives).
In most jurisdictions, policies were written in the aftermath of such scandals.
Like the old song said I got a feeling somebody's watching me.
The implications for democracy in a society where privacy is essential are frightening--and the capability of storing surveillance indefinitely because of the inexpensive cost of memory means surveillance can be kept indefinitely.

Submitted by (Paul Hartnett) on

Paranthetically, it is noteworthy that though we paid $300,000 for a camera system under pressure from Hollister PD, the shootings that occured were not downtown.
Query: is the corollary for if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns if everybody is being filmed,will only outlaws be out of cameras' reach?
I know that private cameras at Chevron station picked up the shooting, but the real question is was it worth $300,000? How about a drug rehab program for ex-offenders in recovery?
Come on, my friends. Can we not spend money both more conservatively and more wisely?
We spent as much money on those danged cameras at the city council level as we do at the library over 20 years. (Average budget for library from city council $15,000 per year. Do the math.
15 x 20 is equal to 300. Grand, that is. Big bucks.)
Next time, let's spend our money more wisely. As the city expands with new housing, we will need it. Money for libraries is abetter investment in our community than peeping cameras. Especially a $300,000 boondoggle that didn't catch the assailant involved in the shootings on the Fourth of July rally.

Submitted by (Luis Burguillo) on

Why not ask our city elected and appointed "leaders" to account for their decisions and actions? Or will we allow ourselves to be taken to the slaughter house like animals?

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