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Coverage of mass electronic surveillance not censored in Seattle

01/14/2012

BTC– There is a conception that Washington State denizens are apathetic about their personal privacy.

Many of their municipalities are the first to send in for DHS and other federal agencies for grants to try mass surveillance technology programs. Perhaps there is an invisible unheard constituency who is then defeated by law enforcement interests around the State. Most assume locals here either don’t know enough to make a difference or wake up too late, as the surviving guinea pig in a federal mass surveillance system: fusion centers, license plate recognition, Electronic Drivers licenses containing RFID chips, and now they contend with the advent of a newer pilot: Next Gen Identity (NGI).  NGI is an FBI led program used to biometrify images of bystanders from CCTV in pre-criminal image captures.

There is light at the end of the tunnel if the press “gets it”.

I don’t expect The Stranger to suddenly champion digital privacy because they are okay to greenlight stringer opinion support of Red Light cameras as a public service to rein in legitimate law breakers. They won’t be doing any features on the longstanding and publicized dispute from ticket holders who continue contest by refusal to pay.  They also will ignore known Republican consort Tim Eyeman’s State initiative to ban Red Light Cameras which stream live CCTV traffic data to munis. They are like other local mainstream publications in favor of any infrastucture revenue streams for Washington State, dispensing with any longterm value of common privacy or distinctions over the matter of mass surveillance.

Instead, you can rely on the more legitimate electronic privacy and civil liberty news to go out on local NPR affiliates, KUOW and the Seattle Times, home of 8 pulitzer prizes, and the Seattle Post Intelligencer.  I have seen routine news accounts consistently over 6 months of press monitoring from these outlets.

Here’s an opinion piece I read in the Seattle Times today evidencing Washington State may finally be appropriately flipping out over their loss of privacy…

“Privacy considerations are left behind as invasive digital technology advances”

“With so much personally identifiable information exposed in digital form, I question whether the security we supposedly gain is worth the toll on our privacy. What’s beyond question is that current laws protecting our constitutional rights have failed to keep pace with technology advances such as global-positioning systems (GPS), facial-recognition software, and portable RFID data readers.”

There was also an repost from the NYTimes:

Homeland Security Dept. monitored social sites for public reaction
The “Social Networking/Media Capability” program has at times sought to capture political reactions to certain policy proposals.

All in all, a more optimistic outlook for Washington State may be on the horizon if they keep allowing out this type of rhetoric. As the national press outlook continues reporting developments on mass surveillance in America, you can expect local coverage to follow – but not always.  Going forward, the likelihood is high you will get important news about digital privacy and emminent threat of mass government surveillance if you aren’t reading a publication reliant on DUI services, Medical Marijuana Rx’s and sex workers adverts in Seattle.

I will still be watching local TV networks to increase coverage of mass surveillance and identity issues as  time rolls on.

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