LETTERS

Why should individuals bear burden not to be surveilled?

Posted 8/25/21

To the Editor: In the interest of balanced reporting and the public interest, the Herald might want to look into and publicize the "Safe List" program described by Flock Safety on their website. This program apparently allows any individual to "opt out"

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LETTERS

Why should individuals bear burden not to be surveilled?

Posted

To the Editor:

In the interest of balanced reporting and the public interest, the Herald might want to look into and publicize the “Safe List” program described by Flock Safety on their website.

This program apparently allows any individual to “opt out” of having data collected on their car’s travels by simply entering their address and plate number on a form, and checking a box that says “do not collect my data.”

It is very nice that Flock's system is intelligent enough to skip over individual license plate numbers, but it is also very disturbing that they are allowed to set it up this way. This amounts to a “guilty until registered as innocent” policy.

Why should it not be that *every* registered plate number in the state is pre-emptively opted out of the system? Is law enforcement actually “seeking information as to the whereabouts” of every car in the state? No. The way our system is supposed to work is that law enforcement conducts surveillance and searches based on probable cause, which means they are searching for very specific individual vehicles (“a red Chrysler LeBaron convertible with a broken right front headlight,” for example) – not just collecting data on anything that moves.

So shouldn’t the system be set up by default to ONLY capture information on vehicles that law enforcement is looking for? Isn’t that what “innocent until proven guilty” is supposed to mean? Why should the burden be placed on every individual vehicle owner to actively affirm their right not to be surveilled?

David Baldwin

Cranston

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