Monday, December 29, 2008

Napolitano Backs (Questionable) Security Tech

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano

Thomas Frank writes on USA Today:

Gov. Janet Napolitano — President-elect Barack Obama's pick to run the Homeland Security Department — has strongly advocated using advanced security technology as a law enforcement tool, drawing praise from police and raising concern among civil liberties groups that warn about privacy invasion.

As Arizona's Democratic governor since 2003, Napolitano has:

  • Pushed state police to use cameras that scan license plates of moving cars to find vehicles that are stolen or linked to a criminal suspect.
  • Promoted "face-identification" technology that could help surveillance cameras find wanted people by comparing someone's face with a photo database of suspects.
  • Signed a 2007 bill making Arizona one of 12 states that collect and store DNA samples of people accused but not convicted of certain crimes, including murder, burglary, sexual assault and prostitution.
  • Proposed an optional state ID for legal citizens only that features a radio-frequency chip to allow authorities to read the card. State lawmakers blocked the effort this year.

"She sees technology as the panacea of all our law enforcement problems and immigration issues," said Alessandra Soler Meetze, head of Arizona's American Civil Liberties Union chapter. "It's like she's embracing these technologies without taking the time to appreciate the privacy implications."

More here.


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