I'm with libertarians on this one, this goes too far. I didn't think Americans would ever put up with the kinds of invasions of privacy that we've allowed in the name of preventing terrorism, but I was wrong:
Police to Track All Vehicles into New York City, by David Theroux: The New York City Police Department is now planning on tracking the movements of all vehicles entering Manhattan in a federally funded program designated “Operation Sentinel.” Of course, this massive assault on privacy is being done to track and screen out “terrorism.” And according to the Associated Press:
Police say Operation Sentinel would rely on license-plate readers, radiation detectors and closed-circuit cameras installed at the 16 bridges and four tunnels serving Manhattan. About a million vehicles drive onto the island every day. The vehicle data would be analyzed by computers programmed with information about suspicious vehicles...
....New York City police are admitting that since they neither know who are actual terrorists or how to find them, everyone is a criminal suspect and will be monitored in the stereotypical bureaucratic belief that extracting information on everyone will somehow solve the problem. But, don’t worry:
Police say law-abiding people have nothing to fear: Vehicle data deemed innocent would be purged after 30 days.
Translation: spying, collecting files, and then keeping the information on permanent record is entirely at the discretion of the police bureaucracy. In all:
The plan calls for 116 stationary and mobile license-plate readers and 3,000 closed-circuit cameras that would be monitored by officers at a command center.
...The ... Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights states that, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . . .” But this has certainly not stopped government intrusions into the private lives of innocent people, all of which is based on the “precautionary principle” that abridging the rights of a peaceful, law-abiding individual is justified even if the risk of harm is negligible. But once again, the end never justifies the means, and the rule of law is based on the enduring principles that every person is innocent until proven guilty and that no one, including the police and other government officials, has the right to infringe on the rights of others.
As Benjamin Franklin noted in 1775:
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. ...