Technology And Your Right To Privacy Essay
, Research Paper
Technology and the invasion of privacy and its effects onthe criminal
justice system over
the last 100 years
Will searching the internet for more than 5 hours on this topic I found a
quote that is very
appropriate it says;
Subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become
available to the
government. Discovery and invention have made it possible for the
means far more effective than stretching upon the rack, to obtain disclosure
in court of
what is whispered in the closet.
US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandies, 1928
If Justice Brandeis could see the advances in technology, he would realize
prophetic his statement is. He would also be appalled by the new
that go far beyond his wildest dreams. Now that the cold war is over,
little do but track us from the cradle to the grave, from your bank accounts
bedroom. Several of the technologies created by the defense dept. have begun
into law enforcement, various civilian agencies and private companies. The
laws on the
books are old in comparison and unable to protect us from violation of our
I the old west there was no system to keep track of criminals. If someone
was wanted he
picture was posted with a reward. If convicted he was sentenced to what the
In the early 60’s surveillance and tracking was a slow tidious process of
clerical work. To trace a person’s activities you had to physically follow
them, or search
through volumes of card files. It was necessary to contact every one your
suspect came in
contact with. to learn his habits. Electronic surveillance was on a one to
one basis if your
dept was lucky enough to have it. As an example, it took 500,000 east German
informers and 10,000 transcribers just to listen in on it’s citizens
Computers capable of storing large amounts of data have revolutionized the
surveillance. The law enforcement benefits are enormous, and government
have been able to expand their reach and efficiency.
Will technology was expanding private business was also researching it’s
companies offering credit cards, telephone service, banking and many other
services began to use computers with massive storage capacity.
In this day and age information on every person in the developed world is
and stored in several if not hundreds of computers. Your information is
analyzed and disseminated to….. With computer net works, the net and
links, it is possible
now to track everyone with a single identification number, your social
With your specific identifier everything about you can be instantly
medical, dental, financial and general information is stored in the data
bases, a great deal
of detail about you is readily available. Laws in effect make it difficult
to regulate invasion
of privacy as information travels from state to state or across
Through the use of computers, finger prints, ID cards and data matching have
implemented. Tracking these items allows the government, business be
selective in all
processes affecting you. Intrusive technologies generally fit into three
surveillance, identification, and networking. when used together as with
biometrics and ID
cards or video and face recognition, a large segment of the population is
with out knowledge or consent. In a very real sense, what the east Germans
about is becoming a reality here in the United States.
ID technologies have advanced at a vary rapid rate. Use of the Social
Security Number as
ID is rampant. Created in 1938 it was touted as a non-identification number.
supposed to be used to identify a person. Today you are lost with out it.
Id cards are almost a necessity in todays society. California drivers
license is now
imprinted with all of your vital statistics. In some states this includes a
finger print or a
processing chip to allow instant access to reading devices. In some
populations required to carry cards that have all of their information
imprinted in the
magnetic strip. With this card the government can track the every individual
habits. In Europe smart cards are being used that can hold several pages of
the U.S. optical technology is being used that can hold hundreds of pages of
on a single chip. An example of this is Florida health care company that has
customers with a card that contains complete medical histories including
imputed into a computer the information can be shared with computers any
and other states are considering a smart card to cover all government
DMV, welfare and all government functions.
Cards are getting smarter. Active badges used in high tech companies
location and can track the whereabouts of the wearer. Law enforcement uses
technology in portable radios.
Biometrics is another form of technological advance. In the late 19th
began to track unique individual characteristics such as fingerprints. Some
require finger printing for many government services. Modern technology has
those fingerprints and made them recognizable in an instant. DNA tracking is
used on prisoners. A sample of there DNA is taken while in prison prior to
possible future use. The US military has also proposed collecting DNA from
all soldiers to
be stored for 75 years. There are no restrictions on how it can be used.
Recently there was
a movie that used DNA to determine the entire life of humans. The DNA was
determine job, social status, length of life and cause of death. To insure
the right person
was in the right spot DNA from cells (hair, skin, oils) was constantly being
tested. This technology is just around the corner.
All of the above technologies are non invasive and you generally are aware
of its use. New
technology is being refined called facial recognition and facial
thermography. All that is
needed to access your information is a digital camera. You won’t even know
been scanned. Modern data bases are capable of taking scanned information
comparing it to 50,000 faces a second. With closed circuit TV in almost
every store Big
Brother will soon be watching. When you enter a store, the sales men will
know wether or
not you can actually afford to purchase that new computer. That assumes the
information keeps pace with the quantity of information.
Advanced technologies now have the ability to see through walls, overhear
and track movement. Blood can be found with lasers under painted walls. You
constantly being tracked by your data trail.
Micro electronics now make wireless microphones and video cameras almost
undetectable. Voices can now be heard across open areas with devices that
will fit into a
brief case. Satellites orbit the earth that are capable of watching you walk
street. The list of new technologies is endless.
Digital cash is being used and studied as we sit here. Digital cash as used
in the movie "5th
Element" will track your movements, habits and is capable of being a
listening device. It is
totally controllable by the person at the terminal.
Once data is collected and linked using our unique identifiers, it can be
the Government already has several data bases in place. The NCIC is just one
a data base with large volumes of information. The FBI is trying to get
radio access to the
NCIC system. Motorola is already offering wireless access to the above
system and bar
code scanning of drivers licenses and cameras for instant picture
Potentially ever aspect of your life will soon be in a data base. Even
though the Olstead
decision stated wire tapping was not a search in 1928, recent decisions on
bases and surveillance technologies has been mixed, and the Olmstead
decision was over
turned in 1968. The courts have required probable cause to violate a persons
However the courts generally find that your bank records, phone numbers, and
personal information is not subject to a reasonable expectation of privacy
especially if held
by a third party.
A recent court case held that FLIR (forward looking infra red ) was not an
privacy because the energy that is released and detected is waste heat.
Another ruled in a
marijuana case that used thermal technologies to track the movement of
people in the
house, that the privacy of the home is not subject to the governments
ability to exploit
I found a the list below.it says it all…..
A Day in the Life; Or, How to Help Build your
Adapted from the Privacy Commissioner’s Annual Report: 1995-1996, with
the permission of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Nothing to hide? That’s just as well. From when we get up in the morning
climb into bed at night, we leave a trail of data behind us – for others to
merge, analyze, massage and even sell, often without our knowledge or
And in most of Canada (except for Quebec), there is no law against it.
Here are some examples of the electronic trails we leave during a
8:30 a.m – You exit your apartment parking lot
Cameras, and possibly a card, record your departure.
8:35 – Pull onto a toll highway
A device records your entry and exit points, in order to send you a bill at
the end of the month.
8:42 – Caught in a traffic jam, you call work to delay a meeting
Cellular phone calls can easily be intercepted, and new personal telephones
will signal your whereabouts to satellites to deliver calls.
9:17 – Enter office parking lot
Card records your entry and its time; automatic cameras monitor the
9:20 – Enter main office/plant door
"Swipe" cards record your comings and goings; active badges allow others
to locate you anywhere in the building.
9:25 – Log on to your computer
The system records the time you logged in.
9:29 – Send a personal e-mail to a friend, and a business message to a
Both can later be read by your employer, since simply deleting them does
not erase them from the computer’s hard drive.
10:45 – Call your mother
Supervisors may monitor phone calls.
11:00 – Make a delivery using a company vehicle
Many company vehicles have geo-positioning devices to plot vehicle
locations; some even have "black boxes" to record your driving habits.
12:05 p.m. – Stop at the bank machine
The system records details of your transactions, while cameras overhead or
in the machine record your behaviour.
12:10 – Buy a birthday gift for a friend
Your credit card records details of the purchase, while the retailer’s
card" profiles the purchase for points and directed discounts. Banks may
also use spending patterns to help assemble complete customer profiles.
12:35 – Doctor’s appointment
Health cards will soon contain small computer chips to record your
complete medical history on the card. The blood sample you gave contains
DNA, which could be tested for a wide variety of conditions; the
subsequent doctor’s diagnosis may be disclosed to your insurance company,
and the details sent to a centralized U.S. registry run by the insurance
1:15 – Pick up your prescription
Some provinces have online drug networks which share your drug history
with pharmacies across the province, and may be disclosed to police
tracking drug abuse.
1:30 – Return to work
Card records your return.
2:45 – Provide urine sample for employer’s new drug testing program
Reveals use of targeted drugs, though not of impairment. Sample may also
reveal the use of legal drugs such as birth control pills, insulin and
3:30 – Meeting in a secure area
Pass through a security check, which scans your retina to confirm identity.
5:30 – Complete first draft of report
Your computer not only records your content, but can also store
information about keyboard speed, error rate, and the lengths of pauses and
6:15 – Leave the office
Your exit is recorded by the computer, the entry system and the parking
6:30 – Buy groceries
Your debit card records the purchase, while a loyalty card tracks your
selections for marketing and targeted discounts.
6:45 – Pick up a video
The store’s computer records your Social Insurance Number and viewing
preferences. This may allow the store to sell your viewing preferences (say,
Erotica) to other companies.
7:20 – Listen to phone messages
Your phone has recorded callers’ phone numbers, and will also (unless you
enter a code to block it) display your number when you call others.
8:20 – Order clothing from catalogue
The catalogue company records your personal details and credit card
number, and may sell the information to database-list marketers.
8:30 – Subscribe to a new magazine
Magazines routinely sell their subscribers’ lists to mass mailers.
8:35 – Take call from a survey company
Such companies gather political views, social attitudes and personal views,
though some surveys are actually marketing calls to collect personal data
for future sales. The legitimate surveys destroy personal identifiers once
data are processed.
8:45 – Political canvasser comes to your door
Political contributions of more than $100 (the amounts, and the party
they’re contributed to) are listed in public records.
9:10 – Log onto the Internet
Your choice of chat groups and your messages can be monitored, and a
profile can be assembled by anyone – including the police. Some Web sites
monitor your visits.
Increasingly, living a modern urban life seems to mean there is nowhere to
our search for security and convenience, are we hitching ourselves to an
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has a full version of the 1996-1997
Annual Report online. (The 1995-96 report is also available, in a
compressed file format.)