The Justice Department is Building National Database to Track Motorists Throughout the Country

Just when you think you’re paranoid enough the state goes and pulls a stunt like this:

(Reuters) – The Justice Department has been secretly gathering and storing hundreds of millions of records about motorists in an effort to build a national database that tracks the movement of vehicles across the country, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Not surprisingly the national automobile tracking initiative is being operated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The DEA, thanks to civil forfeiture laws, enjoys the ability to raise a fuckton of money if it can makeup any evidence whatsoever of a possible drug crime. Somebody driving from Colorado to anywhere could very well be enough evidence to seize their property because buying cannabis there is legal but it’s illegal almost everywhere else.

One question that arises from this story is where the DEA is getting its data. Either local governments are either feeding their data to the federal government or the federal government has its own license plate scanners operating throughout the country. My money is on the latter.

Some states have started regulating how long their police departments can hold on to license plat data. Here in Minnesota there are no such laws so police departments pretty much makeup whatever policy that amuses them. The State Patrol only keeps their data 48 hours, St. Paul’s police department keeps their data for 14 days, but Minneapolis’ police department keeps it for a year. There’s talk about implementing state regulations here but that talk doesn’t include whether or not local law enforcement agencies can feed their data to the federal government. In fact, from what I can find, most state regulations don’t touch that subject. That being the case it would be fairly easy for the DEA to setup deals with local agencies to get the data it needs to populate its national database.

As Orwell said, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” So long as states exist our privacy will continue to be violated.