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The Department of Homeland Surveillance - Seminole County Edition

david leavitt, seminole county libertarian party, libertarian party of seminole county, seminole county florida, seminole county, seminole county news, seminole county post, government surveillance, real id,

The high-definition photo taken when you renewed your driver’s license (check for gold star in upper right hand corner of your DL) is already confirmed as being fed into the national database for REAL-ID, where facial recognition software is key to the program.

 

By David Leavitt

 

Seminole County, Florida is joining an alarming number of municipalities across the USA, taking advantage of Department of Homeland Security grants to network, record, and provide live and recorded government access to ‘security cameras’ installed in public and private places like Florida Hospital Altamonte, Sunrail Stations, Schools, and even on campus at UCF.

 

Ben Franklin wisely said, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” Citizens of Orlando, Winter Park, and Winter Springs are already home to these intrusive DHS funded video-recording systems.

 

Government likes to use scary phrases such as ‘deterring terrorist attacks’ to give the public a false sense of security in believing these cameras actually prevent such things. There is no camera made that will reach down and grab a bomb out of the hands of someone intent on doing harm, just like there is no surveillance system created that actually deters terrorist attacks.

 

Government officials and proponents of these creepy government surveillance systems argue that we do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in today’s technology-oriented world, so they falsely would have you believe that creepy government surveillance cameras are okay. They are wrong and here is why - there is a major difference between individual, business, and even government SECURITY systems compared to Government SURVEILLANCE systems. WE DO HAVE a reasonable expectation of privacy FROM GOVERNMENT.

 

The 4th Amendment of the Constitution protects us from unwarranted government surveillance. Yet it is going on every day in more and more communities across America. It’s partly because people and government are inappropriately blending the two together (personal security and government surveillance) as if it is ok for the government to secretly record us just because we have the right to provide security for our homes and businesses. But it is mostly due to the fact we allow it to happen as if there will never be a consequence. 

 

We should also be concerned about why the Department of Homeland Security is spending hundreds of millions of dollars dishing out these grants. What does the DHS get in return for their municipality surveillance system grants? Do you think they are just giving it away and expecting nothing in return? No. They are not. But, nobody will tell us. I submitted public records request for the ‘deal’ between DHS and two of our local governments and have received the same response - ‘Surveillance Systems information is exempt from public records request’. I looked it up and they are correct.

 

What happens to all that video collected on these DHS funded surveillance systems? My hunch tells me that it is all being collected and fed into the new state-of-the-art $2 billion NSA Data Center in Utah for the purpose of archiving video using facial recognition software as part of the National REAL-ID program. That’s right. The high-definition photo taken when you renewed your driver’s license (check for gold star in upper right hand corner of your DL) is already confirmed as being fed into the national database for REAL-ID, where facial recognition software is key to the program.

 

In other words, the government positively electronically ID’s you by your face – using the facial recognition software. This allows them to electronically compare the picture from your driver’s license with the millions of terabytes of video surveillance data collected from places like the streets of Orlando, Winter Park, and Winter Springs, plus now possibly Florida Hospital Altamonte, Sunrail Stations, Seminole Public Schools, and evidentially the UCF campus. This gives our government the ability to electronically track our movement in public and private places where we expect a reasonable expectation of privacy from government – all without our knowledge or consent using that photo on our new driver’s license. Now THAT is creepy.

 

David Leavitt, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Seminole County (www.lpflsc.org) and Region 7 Representative for the Libertarian Party of Florida (www.lpf.org).

 

 

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