Monday, June 09, 2003

Think an electronic tag is more convenient than stopping at the toll booth? It probably is, but not just for you. In Virginia the government is using the information from these electronic tags to track an individuals' movements.

"Virginia law enforcement authorities are using records from the state's Smart Tag electronic highway-toll-collection system in their investigations.
Though the Virginia Department of Transportation has been subpoenaed for the electronic toll-system records, it also hands over the records of vehicle movements to police without requiring a court order, the department said.
'We have provided Smart Tag information for criminal investigations that relate to activities of a specific car,' [Transportation Department spokeswoman Tamara Neale] said. 'We've done so without a subpoena.'
Virginia's Smart Tag operation has the names, addresses, phone numbers, credit-card numbers, driver's license numbers and vehicle license numbers of its customers.
It also records the date, time and location - down to the highway toll plaza and lane number - for every use of the tag.
VDOT says it takes requests for information on Smart Tag customer accounts from police in person, in writing or by telephone."

What this means is that the State of Virginia is allowing its law enforcement departments to access very personal information on you, at times without a warrant & at times merely by a telephone request. & among the information that they possess are any permits, such as a concealed carry permit, that you may have pertaining to firearms. In Virginia this information is tied into your drivers license so I suspect it would also be tied in to your Smart Tag records. Even if it is only accessible by looking at your drivers license record it provides a 'tool' to law enforcement for tracking the movements of gun owners should they so choose.

& not to go all Orwellian on ya, but I have long opinied that the most effective way to implement civilian disarmament in the US would be to quietly start confiscating weapons through road blocks disguised as DUI checkpoints. The theory being that once a drivers license is scanned any information about firearms, such as registration or a CCW permit if that state allows it, is found. If a person has any type of weapons permit or registered weapons that show up in the system then that person is detained while the vehicle &/or his house is searched & all weapons confiscated. That way, under the guise of a DUI checkpoint, you catch the gun owner with his guard down & it is subsequently easier & safer to disarm him. If it is done right then a good portion of the guns in this country could be confiscated in a short amount of time. I am just guessing, but if a gun owner is held under suspicion for three days, as is allowed in most states, & is further denied contact with the outside world, then there would be nothing to warn other gun owners of the confiscation untill it is too late. Perhaps as high as 20% of gunowners in the country could be disarmed this way. I think a higher percentage is unlikely while a smaller percentage is more probable.
This scenario is unlikely, at least anytime soon, but possible. I know if I were in charge that's what I'd do.

In any event a state government being able to track an individuals movements is disturbing.

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