Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Disturbing news from Portland, Oregon:

"Portland police may soon be asking for more than a license when making a traffic stop, but also requesting a motorist to stick out a thumb and forefinger.
Next month, more than a dozen officers will carry handheld devices on the street that will allow them to instantly verify a person's identity by analyzing their fingerprints.
The Portland Police Bureau was awarded a $250,000 federal COPS grant to equip each of its five precincts with a device and distribute another 10 to investigative officers in the detective, gang enforcement, drugs and vice, and tactical operations divisions."

It seems since there is federal money involved that this idea could catch on quickly. I have a few religious friends who with or without justification would view this as a "mark of the beast" type move by the government. Religious objections aside, it definitely has an Orwellian flair to it. Perhaps not strictly Orwellian, but it definitely seems reminiscent of Big Brother. Not quite as intrusive as a Television monitor watching your every move, but not as harmless as having Andy Taylor welcome you into town.

The courts have long held that taking fingerprints is not a violation of teh 4th amendment, as you leave your fingerprints everywhere & thus have no reasonable expectation of privacy concerning them. I disagree. When you go out in public you show your body to everyone, but this in no way would be seen as justification for the government collecting nude photos of you against your will.

In any event this technological advance bears watching.

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