Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Something?s Watching You
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Something?s Watching You

Harley L. Sachs - November 29th, 2007
Technology, like a ravenous wolf, is closing in on our heels. You’ve probably read about the cameras used at certain intersections to catch red light runners. These are not so unusual in states, unlike Michigan, where cars must carry a front license plate. Run a red light in some states and the camera gets your picture; the computer identifies your vehicle, and even if no one was around to see you, in a week or two you can expect a ticket and a hefty fine.
It seems like every time technology produces some new delightful gadget like the iPod, someone else finds a way to use it to intrude on your privacy and your life. Cell phones function as a locator. Otherwise the system wouldn’t know where you are. That’s great if you get lost in the woods or run off the road into a ravine and need to be found, and it’s also helpful in cases of crime; but how do you feel about this stealthy tracking going on during your everyday life?
In the case of the Glasgow, Scotland terrorists who tried to blow up the airport, the police found a cell phone used by one of the three men. The cell phone had a record of numbers called. One of those numbers was that of a co–conspirator. Within hours the police found the registration of the car he owned, tracked his cell phone, set up a road block on the motorway and flagged him down. And he thought he was home free.
The cell phone is not an anonymous gadget. Every call is recorded, where it came from, who was called, and the duration of the call. Homeland Security people, who have a reported list of 750,000 people on their roster of potential terrorists, have access to that kind of information.
Hey, if you don’t like that, did you vote for those people?
In a past column I wrote about those little gadgets that, mounted under your license plate, can record your passage through a toll gate so you can pass right through without stopping. The toll is then charged to your credit card. On the Indiana Toll Road, when the card that you picked up at the entrance is turned in at the exit, the average speed you traveled is calculated. If you were speeding, you get a ticket, along with the toll fee. Some speeding drivers take a half hour break for coffee at a rest stop just for insurance.
I once hitched a ride with a trucker whose boss had an engine hours meter installed to make sure the driver didn’t just park someplace and take a nap. The driver drove the truck up against a barrier, set the brake, and left the engine running while he went into a café.
Other gadgets aren’t that easy to deceive. Some car rental companies have locators built into the vehicles. It’s handy to find them in case they are stolen, a plus advertised by the OnStar folks. But if you rented a car for local use only and cross a state line or a national border, the record of the vehicle’s movements can stick you with a hefty penalty fee.
It’s only a matter of time before every car is equipped with a locator that not only notes the location but records your speed. Exceed the limit and get a ticket. No patrol car needed. If you have a teenaged driver, this might be a deterrent to street racing.
It could also catch a driver who, instead of driving to the stadium or the high school dance, took a detour to lover’s lane, spent three hours smooching, and never made it to the ball game.
It gets more and more like Orwell’s 1984, where you were watched by your television screen, or Zamyatin’s dystopian Russian novel, We, where everyone lived in glass houses in full view of the neighbors.
Are we ready for this? Or did technology, like the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent, wheedle into our lives until it took up our entire space?
 
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