Focus Point - PrivacyCommentary by Pete du Pont
July 30, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. When I read that house majority leader Dick Armey and the ACLU agreed on something, I assumed it was a mistake. I had some stronger coffee, but the results came out the same. And sure enough, I agree with them too.
Armey and the ACLU are upset about what they call "a troubling expansion in the way technology is being used in the surveillance of ordinary Americans."
Tampa, Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Colorado have or plan to use technology that digitizes the faces of ordinary citizens and matches them with mug shots of criminals. The chances for misuse are apparent. The Colorado system, for example, could allow the tracking of the public movements of everybody in the state. Worse, the reliability of the systems is lousy -- they're more than 40 percent faulty.
Armey and the ACLU -- yoking those two still sounds funny - want state and local governments to stop using the technology. Normally, I love new gadgets. but this one has liberty in the crosshairs. So I'm with ARMEY and....the ACLU too.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know that ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, ending third world poverty.