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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Shhh, they're listening

Just as we've suspected, the NSA isn't the only agency we have to worry about when it comes to snooping:

Armed with new technologies, including mobile devices that tap into cellphone data in real time, dozens of local and state police agencies are capturing information about thousands of cellphone users at a time, whether they are targets of an investigation or not, according to public records obtained by USA TODAY and Gannett newspapers and TV stations.

Indiana, of course, doesn't want to be left behind:

This year, the Indiana State Police paid $373,995 for a device that law enforcement personnel have described as a powerful tool in the fight against crime and terrorism.

It could allow investigators in a surveillance vehicle to park in a crowded area and track the movements of anyone nearby with a cellphone and capture the numbers of people's incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

To paraphrase an old quip, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't listening to you.

No, I don't begrudge police the use of whatever tools it takes for them to do their jobs better, since that will benefit me and other law-abiding citizens in the long run. But anything that can be abused will be abused, and this technology is so easy to abuse. Never mind those silly old warrants and having reasonable cause to suspect something, just turn on that listening device. Who is gonns know? Sometimes I worry that we're going to slip into "1984" territory without even noticing, and sometimes I worry that we already have.