The SAFE DRIVERS Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) in the House of Representatives in late September, would expand the federal government’s spying powers by allowing law enforcement to have easy access to any driver’s personal information. This would be made possible through the creation of a national, real-time data sharing program. Considering that many states already use automatic license plate readers to track drivers’ movement, the consolidation of this data in one large, nationally accessible database, would be an easy next step.
During a presser, however, Moulton tried to sell this effort as “modernization.”
To better collect information on dangerous drivers, the goal is to incentivize states to modernize their systems, the Democrat said, “and work together to make sure their databases are compatible.”
The bill would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to allocate $50 million to the effort, creating a grant program that would essentially work as a bribery system for states willing to give the federal agency access.
Additionally, the bill would create a program that doesn’t only gather data on what car the driver owns or which roads he uses the most. In addition, it would give any law enforcement agency in the state access to citations received by individual motorists, emergency medical services provided, accident information, court judgments, etc., creating a wide surveillance system that would treat every single American motorist as a guilty party. Interestingly enough, Moulton himself claimed that the state would be acting like an overprotective parent.
“Just like parents know from a text message that their kids need something,” he said, “states should have the same kind of system in place to get drivers who are a danger to others off the road.”
Perhaps, it would be prudent to remind the legislator that the state has no right to treat grown adults as helpless children and that massively collecting data on Americans without due process is not only unconstitutional, it is immoral.
Information: Power to Destroy
In the age of big government, data translates into power. And in a time when so many of us are easily targeted, both off and online, it’s easy to see how rogue law enforcement agents could use personal information to destroy innocent Americans.
As Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger explained in an article regarding internet surveillance, abuse is always a possibility in the realms of power.
“What better way to keep an entire populace subdued, subservient, and obedient? People who are now tempted to, say, join a Tea Party protest movement now have to factor in their deliberations the fact that the government potentially has some very incriminating or embarrassing information that it could use against them in retaliation.”
If Moulton had the welfare of Americans at heart, he would refuse to potentially harm them in any way. Broadening the power of the state to surveil the citizenry does the exact opposite.