Historically, Americans have collectively been more than a bit protective in safeguarding what they regard as fundamental personal liberties.
Put this way: It’s not the state’s business where you go to church — or even if you go at all. No law enforcer should ever have the right to detain and ask you questions of any sort without first having probable cause for doing so (a reasonable suspicion that you have committed an illegal act).
If you’ve got an opinion (on abortion, the flag, America’s involvement in foreign conflict, school prayer or another matter), you should be able to freely express it without fear of any legal downside, except in the rarest of enumerated instances (e.g. engaging in an act deemed a hate crime or linked with child pornography).
Privacy is something that most Tennessee residents and other Americans across the country value highly and take great pains to defend.
In acknowledging that, it must also be noted that privacy rights have taken a bit of a hit in recent years, with confirmed stories of law agencies’ clandestine surveillance of citizens through various tools, successful hacking forays and the selling of personal information by computer data collection and marketing companies.
Some residents in one locale in another state have recently cited their concerns with perceived privacy encroachments owing to yet another new form of surveillance, namely, automatic license readers, which track information regarding vehicle movements across a community. Officials in their city recently authorized installation of a number of cameras that record and store license information.
Proponents of camera installation say that such a development curbs crime.
Critics are having none of that, viewing the heightened surveillance as an impermissible intrusion on their private lives.
“This … is not at all within reason,” noted one opponent recently at a public hearing. “We are innocent until proven guilty.”
Another noted that the blanket installation of cameras across town cannot be justified from any perspective and is clearly an attempt by officials to engage in “mass surveillance” and nothing more.
Tennessee statutory law provides for automatic license readers, with stated limitations on their use and storage.
Government surveillance of individuals and families promises to remain a top-tier news topic across the country, with variations on the theme — such as automatic license readers — receiving enhanced press and scrutiny.