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Location: California, United States

I am a neolibertarian minded individual who feels that freedom and individual rights take precedence over the wants of government. I believe government exists to serve the people and not to protect us from ourselves. I am an advocate for private firearms ownership, smaller government, reduced taxes and freedom to live your life however you choose, providing you do not directly hurt others.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Possible Federal Ban On Radar Detectors

According to
The legislation, sponsored by Senator Steve Oelrich of Gainesville, Florida, would make using a radar detector a secondary traffic infraction, which means you could be ticketed were [you] pulled over for another offense and found to be using a radar detector.
I understand that many people think that this is a safety issue, but I'm against any such ban. I don't own a radar detector and am not a pedal-to-the-metal sort of driver, so my objection to the ban is not about making it easier for me to speed.

I object because it amounts to denying a private citizen the right to own a device that passively receives and alerts them to a signal that is being beamed at them for the purposes of surveillance. If somebody (in this case the police) is bouncing a laser or radio wave at you for the purposes of measuring and recording your actions, you should be entitled to own a gadget that informs you that you are being targeted. If it ever becomes illegal to have such devices, it paves they way to make it illegal to own other tools that could detect more egregious intrusions upon your privacy.

Imagine if someone, such as a pervert neighbor, was using an infrared illuminator to see into your darkened bedroom through an open window. Or, imagine if an unscrupulous hotel maid plants a wireless camera in a room in order to record what happens in bed. It is technologically possible to create devices to warn you of these sorts of intrusions upon your privacy. If it is OK to federally ban a radar/laser detector, why would it not be equally OK to ban other spy-detection devices? The fundamental concept behind the detection technology is the same.

Law enforcement agencies sometimes use microphones, wire-taps, hidden cameras, FLIR, infrared optics and other technology to gather evidence. As better spying technology becomes available, both law enforcement and private citizens will use it. It would be much easier for them to use technological spy tools on people if it was impossible for anyone to obtain devices to detect such spying. Banning radar and laser detectors is a legal step in the wrong direction as it creates a precedent for banning other types of passive detection equipment to warn people that they are being spied upon. It is wrong to deny law abiding citizens (and even criminal suspects since they haven't yet been convicted of anything) a legal means to detect when their privacy is being invaded.

Our right to privacy is more important than the convenience of law enforcement agencies. We have already seen countless cases of people using hidden cameras to photograph up girls' skirts, spy on locker room showers, dressing rooms, and more. As new technology becomes available, perverts and snoops will use it and people should not be barred the use of detection equipment just so that it is easier for the police to gather evidence.

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