The Justice Department wants to make it easier for state and local police to spy on Americans, and retain the information they find for at least 10 years. The Feds want to streamline how the country's 18,000 state and local agencies share sensitive information with them, and simplify data collection for these organizations, which receive $1.6 billion from the federal government annually.
Critics worry that the plan does not adequately safeguard who has access to sensitive information. They also maintain that the Constitution forbids preemptive law enforcement in the absence of a crime.
The new US plan makes me think the former colony wants to be more like its big brother Great Britain. To see how,
According to The Sunday Telegraph the average Briton has 3,254 bits of personal information stored in government databases. Officials can keep some of that data indefinitely! So what kind of dirt does the government dig up? — details about residents' shopping habits, mobile phone use, emails, locations during the day, travel, and Internet searches. Because companies, like banks and telephone providers, keep all this information on hand, it's easy for the government to assert their legal authority to retrieve it.
Have we traveled back to 1984, or are we just updating our crime fighting for the modern era?