Security Vs Privacy–Which Matters to You?

Security Vs Privacy–Which Matters to You?

I was listening to an online Homeowners Association Board meeting the other night (Barb does an exemplary job as Board President) as a resident gave a presentation about an item not on the agenda.

Jack had done some research and wanted the Board to know about a crime reduction security product that could be available to our subdivision. The product consists of a security camera to be placed at the subdivision entrance (we only have one) to photograph each entering automobile and transmit the license plate and other identifying information of the car to a database of vehicles reported as stolen or wanted for involvement in other criminal activity.

Any matches are immediately flagged and sent to the local police dispatch center for a real-time response. The police can apprehend the driver and prevent a crime from occurring in our subdivision. And by the way, all data is also permanently stored “in the cloud.”

The Board asked Jack a few questions but since the item was not on the agenda Barb appropriately limited the discussion and let Jack know this would be considered at a future date.

I don’t know about you, but the prospect of a system like this horrifies me! Every time I or a guest of mine enters my own subdivision, the police will have a permanent record of the entrance. Who will have access to that data? For what purposes might it be used? What has happened to any sense of privacy?

Yes, our subdivision currently has a security camera. It records comings and goings and if, and only if, a crime is committed in the subdivision, those recordings are reviewed to see if the perpetrator can be identified. I get that. But to me, that is very different than the prospect of screening every car in real-time.

I know that surveillance is part of our daily lives. I know that every time I go past a toll plaza on the Tri-State the I-Pass system creates a permanent record. And I know credit cards and cell phones also leave never-disappearing traces of my whereabouts. But these are systems and devices I choose to use. And to the best of my knowledge, they are not immediately cross-referenced to a criminal database.

I value at least a little bit of privacy, even though I am not as privacy-conscious as I should be. I still use Google to do my online searches rather than the (claimed to be) more private DuckDuckGo. I probably use unsecured WiFi when I shouldn’t. I’m sure I make a thousand other mistakes that destroy my privacy. But do the local gendarmes really need a record of when I come home at night?

Security vs Privacy. It is a delicate balance. But this proposed security system is too intrusive for me. In the security vs privacy battle, I vote for privacy on this one.

How about you? Tell me what you think. I promise I won’t be tracking you!

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