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(Ars Technica)   Arkansas is up in arms that someone can write down another person's license plate. Wait until they find out about Google   (arstechnica.com) divider line 50
    More: Dumbass, Repo Men, Arkansas, for-profit, Arkansas Attorney General, collects  
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4282 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Jun 2014 at 12:40 PM (24 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



50 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-06-11 09:08:01 AM  
Arkansas is up in arms that someone can write down another person's license plate. Wait until they find out about Google
FTFY
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-06-11 09:27:58 AM  
Considering how common dash cameras are, it's a silly law.  Another few years and dash cams will have text recognition software that records license plate info instead of just recording images.
 
2014-06-11 09:43:08 AM  
F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.
 
2014-06-11 10:37:38 AM  
Welcome to the information age.  Did you think it was just going to be free music and wikileaks?
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-06-11 10:40:59 AM  

Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.


In ten years everyone will be a data collector unless they are Amish.

I don't see why it couldn't make sense to wear a personal recorder like that dude who wears a camera to record his whole life.

You never know when you will get into a dispute with someone and need to prove what happened.  So many things end up being your word against someone else's.

Photography is not a crime right?
 
2014-06-11 12:42:40 PM  

Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.


However, the First Amendment is clearly on their side.
 
2014-06-11 12:45:36 PM  
I like her facebook page. She shows what kind of a person she really is. The child acted, well, like a kid that doesn't get assaulted on a regular basis if ever. I am so glad she was arrested and charged. But I highly doubt she will learn a lesson out of this.
 
2014-06-11 12:51:19 PM  

OregonVet: I like her facebook page. She shows what kind of a person she really is. The child acted, well, like a kid that doesn't get assaulted on a regular basis if ever. I am so glad she was arrested and charged. But I highly doubt she will learn a lesson out of this.


It's possible. Let's just be thankful children don't have to wear license plates.
 
2014-06-11 12:53:10 PM  
One of the biggest data harvesters in the world, Acxiom, is headquartered in Arkansas.
 
2014-06-11 12:55:42 PM  
"Hey, you can't gather data on innocent people just in case!"

"We don't"

"I just proved you did!"

"Well, we gather it but we don't use it"

"Yes you do, I just proved it"

"Well, we only do it under court supervision."

"I just showed where you use it anytime you want and get it approved later"

"Well, we don't do it any more."

Rinse and repeat.
 
2014-06-11 01:02:03 PM  
Yeah, no one should be compiling the whereabouts of every driver let alone a private entity.
 
2014-06-11 01:03:08 PM  

Geotpf: Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.

However, the First Amendment is clearly on their side.


Data is a religion?
 
2014-06-11 01:03:23 PM  

James!: Welcome to the information age.  Did you think it was just going to be free music and wikileaks?


I was pretty sure porn was also promised.
 
2014-06-11 01:22:21 PM  

vpb: Photography is not a crime right?


Right, and it isn't just photography that is the crime here.
 
2014-06-11 01:26:40 PM  

Oliver Twisted: Geotpf: Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.

However, the First Amendment is clearly on their side.

Data is a religion?


I'm kind of unclear as to how the 1st Amendment applies to observing shiat in public view as well.

But unrelated to the 1st Amendment I have no expectation of privacy once I walk out of my home.  If I choose to show my face in public, people might see me.  Cameras might photograph me.  If I drive someone might notice my license plate.

And when I purchase something at a store, there will be digital footprints because I hardly ever use cash.

I don't really like it that much, but I'd rather not have onerous laws which prevent other people from looking at things which appear in public of their own free will.  And then remembering those things.
 
2014-06-11 01:38:00 PM  

vpb: Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.

In ten years everyone will be a data collector unless they are Amish.

I don't see why it couldn't make sense to wear a personal recorder like that dude who wears a camera to record his whole life.

You never know when you will get into a dispute with someone and need to prove what happened.  So many things end up being your word against someone else's.

Photography is not a crime right?


It's why we fight the machine now!!!
 
2014-06-11 01:38:12 PM  

Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.


I'd be with AK if it weren't for the fact that they allow the police to do the same, which means that the government gets a monopoly on collecting this kind of data.

As a rule, I don't want the government to be able to surveil me any better than I can surveil them.
 
2014-06-11 01:51:47 PM  

Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.


Yeah, it's the storage and tracking shiat that bothers me, not the scanning part.
 
2014-06-11 01:53:00 PM  
And to continue my rant, what if some guy in Arkansas sits in front of his trailer all day watching the highway?

That's cool, right?

What if he observes the license plates that pass by?

Still good, right?

What if he writes the license plate numbers down?

That's a bit weird, but I can't really object to it.

What if he shows the list of license plate numbers to his wife?  Or a friend?

Still sounds legal to me.

What if MegaCorp hears about it and purchases his list for an unspecified sum?

Is that where it crosses the line?  If so, why?

What if the Arkansas trailer dweller's eyes start to fail so he buys a camera to help him record the license plates?

Crossing the line?  I don't see why.

And what if technology advances to the point where the camera can do all the work and record those license plate numbers for him?

Is that technology too scary to allow the public to own?  What if he turns it into a business because MegaCorp keeps asking to buy his lists of license plate numbers?
 
2014-06-11 01:56:01 PM  

gfid: Oliver Twisted: Geotpf: Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.

However, the First Amendment is clearly on their side.

Data is a religion?

I'm kind of unclear as to how the 1st Amendment applies to observing shiat in public view as well.

But unrelated to the 1st Amendment I have no expectation of privacy once I walk out of my home.  If I choose to show my face in public, people might see me.  Cameras might photograph me.  If I drive someone might notice my license plate.

And when I purchase something at a store, there will be digital footprints because I hardly ever use cash.

I don't really like it that much, but I'd rather not have onerous laws which prevent other people from looking at things which appear in public of their own free will.  And then remembering those things.


There's a big difference between what you describe and the systematic recording, retention and indexing/correlating of that data on massive scales.
 
2014-06-11 02:00:12 PM  

gfid: And to continue my rant, what if some guy in Arkansas sits in front of his trailer all day watching the highway?

That's cool, right?

What if he observes the license plates that pass by?

Still good, right?

What if he writes the license plate numbers down?

That's a bit weird, but I can't really object to it.

What if he shows the list of license plate numbers to his wife?  Or a friend?

Still sounds legal to me.

What if MegaCorp hears about it and purchases his list for an unspecified sum?

Is that where it crosses the line?  If so, why?

What if the Arkansas trailer dweller's eyes start to fail so he buys a camera to help him record the license plates?

Crossing the line?  I don't see why.

And what if technology advances to the point where the camera can do all the work and record those license plate numbers for him?

Is that technology too scary to allow the public to own?  What if he turns it into a business because MegaCorp keeps asking to buy his lists of license plate numbers?


I'm not exactly sure where the line is or how to state it.  But when Jimbob's Grits & License Plate Service can expands to the point where they can track and locate a large fraction of a population all the time and retains that data indefinitely, I definitely have a problem with it.
 
F42
2014-06-11 02:02:24 PM  
someone can write down another person's license plate

And by "someone" and "another person" you, of course, mean "a machine" and "thousands upon thousands".
 
2014-06-11 02:06:47 PM  

Oliver Twisted: Geotpf: Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.

However, the First Amendment is clearly on their side.

Data is a religion?


Copying down a series of letters and numbers and transmitting it to other parties is...wait for it...speech.
 
2014-06-11 02:08:17 PM  

Lamberts Ho Man: gfid: And to continue my rant, what if some guy in Arkansas sits in front of his trailer all day watching the highway?

That's cool, right?

What if he observes the license plates that pass by?

Still good, right?

What if he writes the license plate numbers down?

That's a bit weird, but I can't really object to it.

What if he shows the list of license plate numbers to his wife?  Or a friend?

Still sounds legal to me.

What if MegaCorp hears about it and purchases his list for an unspecified sum?

Is that where it crosses the line?  If so, why?

What if the Arkansas trailer dweller's eyes start to fail so he buys a camera to help him record the license plates?

Crossing the line?  I don't see why.

And what if technology advances to the point where the camera can do all the work and record those license plate numbers for him?

Is that technology too scary to allow the public to own?  What if he turns it into a business because MegaCorp keeps asking to buy his lists of license plate numbers?

I'm not exactly sure where the line is or how to state it.  But when Jimbob's Grits & License Plate Service can expands to the point where they can track and locate a large fraction of a population all the time and retains that data indefinitely, I definitely have a problem with it.


You can have a problem with it all you want, but it's still protected under the First Amendment as speech.
 
2014-06-11 02:10:25 PM  

Lamberts Ho Man: gfid: Oliver Twisted: Geotpf: Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.

However, the First Amendment is clearly on their side.

Data is a religion?

I'm kind of unclear as to how the 1st Amendment applies to observing shiat in public view as well.

But unrelated to the 1st Amendment I have no expectation of privacy once I walk out of my home.  If I choose to show my face in public, people might see me.  Cameras might photograph me.  If I drive someone might notice my license plate.

And when I purchase something at a store, there will be digital footprints because I hardly ever use cash.

I don't really like it that much, but I'd rather not have onerous laws which prevent other people from looking at things which appear in public of their own free will.  And then remembering those things.

There's a big difference between what you describe and the systematic recording, retention and indexing/correlating of that data on massive scales.


So where do you draw the line?

You don't think banks and retailers are systematically recording, retaining and indexing/correlating all of the transactions that everyone makes?

You don't think Google has figured out all of my online identities and is watching what websites I visit?

Like I said, I don't particularly like it, but I can't find any valid reason to make a law against it.

Meh - I drove 2 miles to the store today.  I'm sure at least 3 city-owned cameras caught me (and that's probably an underestimate).  When I went into the store, several more cameras filmed me as I grabbed what I wanted and paid for it.  There were undoubtedly even more cameras in the parking lot.   I'm not sure how long they retain that data.  Do I feel violated?  Should I feel violated?

Should I live in fear that 20 years from now when I'm running for President that someone will dig up that footage and say "Look!  gfid was buying beer at noon on a Wednesday!!!!"?  Should I yell "Not fair!" at that point?

If you're in public, you really have no expectation of privacy.

Save your outrage for the NSA tracking the content of your e-mails in which I do think you should have some expectation of privacy.
 
2014-06-11 02:21:03 PM  

Lamberts Ho Man: gfid: And to continue my rant, what if some guy in Arkansas sits in front of his trailer all day watching the highway?

That's cool, right?

What if he observes the license plates that pass by?

Still good, right?

What if he writes the license plate numbers down?

That's a bit weird, but I can't really object to it.

What if he shows the list of license plate numbers to his wife?  Or a friend?

Still sounds legal to me.

What if MegaCorp hears about it and purchases his list for an unspecified sum?

Is that where it crosses the line?  If so, why?

What if the Arkansas trailer dweller's eyes start to fail so he buys a camera to help him record the license plates?

Crossing the line?  I don't see why.

And what if technology advances to the point where the camera can do all the work and record those license plate numbers for him?

Is that technology too scary to allow the public to own?  What if he turns it into a business because MegaCorp keeps asking to buy his lists of license plate numbers?

I'm not exactly sure where the line is or how to state it.  But when Jimbob's Grits & License Plate Service can expands to the point where they can track and locate a large fraction of a population all the time and retains that data indefinitely, I definitely have a problem with it.


How would you prevent people and organizations from observing and/or recording publicly accessible data without running afoul of the 1st Amendment?
 
2014-06-11 02:23:51 PM  

qorkfiend: Lamberts Ho Man: gfid: And to continue my rant, what if some guy in Arkansas sits in front of his trailer all day watching the highway?

That's cool, right?

What if he observes the license plates that pass by?

Still good, right?

What if he writes the license plate numbers down?

That's a bit weird, but I can't really object to it.

What if he shows the list of license plate numbers to his wife?  Or a friend?

Still sounds legal to me.

What if MegaCorp hears about it and purchases his list for an unspecified sum?

Is that where it crosses the line?  If so, why?

What if the Arkansas trailer dweller's eyes start to fail so he buys a camera to help him record the license plates?

Crossing the line?  I don't see why.

And what if technology advances to the point where the camera can do all the work and record those license plate numbers for him?

Is that technology too scary to allow the public to own?  What if he turns it into a business because MegaCorp keeps asking to buy his lists of license plate numbers?

I'm not exactly sure where the line is or how to state it.  But when Jimbob's Grits & License Plate Service can expands to the point where they can track and locate a large fraction of a population all the time and retains that data indefinitely, I definitely have a problem with it.

How would you prevent people and organizations from observing and/or recording publicly accessible data without running afoul of the 1st Amendment?


My Cloak of Invisibility based on DARPA research should be in a store near you soon.
 
2014-06-11 02:39:19 PM  
I don't know why it took me so long to think of this, but in World War II people used to look out their windows and make records of troop movements.

Granted, there was a war on and ze Germans didn't need a law to administer punishment for that but what if such a law existed and we were talking about Russia and Ukraine?

Sorry, you can't take note of how many Russian tanks are within firing distance of Eastern Ukraine.  It's against the law.

Even as I type this, I expect that Fark is recording my IP address.  Maybe they're not, but it would be easy enough for them to do and it would take a trivial amount of storage to save all of our IP addresses.  Should I object to that?

There's all sorts of dangerous things Drew could figure out based on IP addresses.  Maybe Fark is wildly popular in Springfield, but nobody in Shelbyville uses it at all.  Maybe Drew could try to figure out how to get traffic from Shelbyville without alienating his Springfield loyalists.

Or maybe Drew could just expose me as a chronic farker.  Oh, the invasion of my privacy!  I used an anonymous sounding name and now Fark and my ISP have conspired to expose who I really am!

I'd be pissed off, but that would be legal for them to do IMO.
 
2014-06-11 02:39:46 PM  

gfid: Oliver Twisted: Geotpf: Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.

However, the First Amendment is clearly on their side.

Data is a religion?

I'm kind of unclear as to how the 1st Amendment applies to observing shiat in public view as well.

But unrelated to the 1st Amendment I have no expectation of privacy once I walk out of my home.  If I choose to show my face in public, people might see me. Cameras might photograph me.  If I drive someone might notice my license plate.

And when I purchase something at a store, there will be digital footprints because I hardly ever use cash.

I don't really like it that much, but I'd rather not have onerous laws which prevent other people from looking at things which appear in public of their own free will.  And then remembering those things.


That part, in bold, is the logic Courts have used to rule in favor of people who have been sued by police departments, celebrities, etc. for violations of privacy.  Once a person is in the public view, there is no (reasonable) expectation of privacy.


/Upskirt photography is a murky area under that protection
 
2014-06-11 02:42:17 PM  

vpb: Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.

In ten years everyone will be a data collector unless they are Amish.

I don't see why it couldn't make sense to wear a personal recorder like that dude who wears a camera to record his whole life.

You never know when you will get into a dispute with someone and need to prove what happened.  So many things end up being your word against someone else's.

Photography is not a crime right?


The act of recording isn't what is at issue. As you said, its great to go back and hunt down the footage that you need. What people aren't taking kindly to is that this isnt just passive documentation. Its taking that documentation and logging it into a database to be used for any number of uses beyond what the point of having a licence plate was designed for.
 
2014-06-11 02:57:46 PM  

Gary-L: I have no expectation of privacy once I walk out of my home


Just because it doesn't happen doesn't mean I don't expect it.
 
2014-06-11 03:15:13 PM  

Mikey1969: Yeah, it's the storage and tracking shiat that bothers me, not the scanning part.


Same here.  Checking a plate against a list of stolen or repossessable cars is one thing.  Saving the data so you can sell it to the police, my insurance company or my batshiat insane ex-gf is another.


Geotpf: Copying down a series of letters and numbers and transmitting it to other parties is...wait for it...speech.


I'm one of those people who strangely believe that corporations and organizations aren't people, and shouldn't be granted protections against government limits on their speech.
 
2014-06-11 03:18:05 PM  

Geotpf: Oliver Twisted: Geotpf: Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.

However, the First Amendment is clearly on their side.

Data is a religion?

Copying down a series of letters and numbers and transmitting it to other parties is...wait for it...speech.


But selling it is not and first amendment protections end when that occurs.
 
2014-06-11 03:30:27 PM  

Oliver Twisted: Geotpf: Oliver Twisted: Geotpf: Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.

However, the First Amendment is clearly on their side.

Data is a religion?

Copying down a series of letters and numbers and transmitting it to other parties is...wait for it...speech.

But selling it is not and first amendment protections end when that occurs.


Not even remotely accurate.
 
2014-06-11 03:35:20 PM  

Dinjiin: Mikey1969: Yeah, it's the storage and tracking shiat that bothers me, not the scanning part.

Same here.  Checking a plate against a list of stolen or repossessable cars is one thing.  Saving the data so you can sell it to the police, my insurance company or my batshiat insane ex-gf is another.


Geotpf: Copying down a series of letters and numbers and transmitting it to other parties is...wait for it...speech.

I'm one of those people who strangely believe that corporations and organizations aren't people, and shouldn't be granted protections against government limits on their speech.


Exactly, its pretty obvious that certain people want to frame the debate as a binary situation.
 
2014-06-11 03:47:56 PM  

Dinjiin: I'm one of those people who strangely believe that corporations and organizations aren't people, and shouldn't be granted protections against government limits on their speech.


This idea has some...odd consequences.

For instance, if corporations or organizations had no protections against government limits on their speech, the government could, at will, censor or outright ban any or all newspapers or TV broadcasts.

The problem is not that corporations and organizations have free speech rights; it's that their free speech (read: money) is so much louder than everyone else's. However, that can be fixed without removing their free speech rights.
 
2014-06-11 04:01:06 PM  

Gary-L: /Upskirt photography is a murky area under that protection


I know that it is, but legally I don't see why it should be.
 
2014-06-11 04:04:53 PM  

qorkfiend: The problem is not that corporations and organizations have free speech rights; it's that their free speech (read: money) is so much louder than everyone else's. However, that can be fixed without removing their free speech rights.


We should confine the corporate lobbyists to "free speech zones" far from where the target of their bribes speech could be heard.
 
2014-06-11 04:05:36 PM  

qorkfiend: For instance, if corporations or organizations had no protections against government limits on their speech, the government could, at will, censor or outright ban any or all newspapers or TV broadcasts.


True.  Or you could write a specific exception for the media.

<mode::slippery-slope="on">
On the other hand, this country might be better off if the media didn't report every sensationalist shootout that takes place, leading to multiple me-too copycat killings.
<mode::slippery-slope="off">
 
2014-06-11 04:39:58 PM  

Dinjiin: qorkfiend: For instance, if corporations or organizations had no protections against government limits on their speech, the government could, at will, censor or outright ban any or all newspapers or TV broadcasts.

True.  Or you could write a specific exception for the media.

<mode::slippery-slope="on">
On the other hand, this country might be better off if the media didn't report every sensationalist shootout that takes place, leading to multiple me-too copycat killings.
<mode::slippery-slope="off">


That, also, is fraught with complications. There are many corporations or organizations that are not media companies that publish things, and to successfully implement such a policy, the government would be required to be the final arbiter of who is and isn't a "media" company.

Interested state governments - and we all know there are several - could gag organizations that are conducting research into things like fracking, climate change, abortion, guns, anything. NAACP? SPLC? NRA? NOM? No publications for you; the government's decided the 1st Amendment doesn't protect you from the government.
 
2014-06-11 06:37:26 PM  

Dinjiin: Mikey1969: Yeah, it's the storage and tracking shiat that bothers me, not the scanning part.

Same here.  Checking a plate against a list of stolen or repossessable cars is one thing.  Saving the data so you can sell it to the police, my insurance company or my batshiat insane ex-gf is another.


Geotpf: Copying down a series of letters and numbers and transmitting it to other parties is...wait for it...speech.

I'm one of those people who strangely believe that corporations and organizations aren't people, and shouldn't be granted protections against government limits on their speech.


So, the New York Times, CNN, Columbia Pictures, etc. have no first amendment rights and can be freely censored by the government?  They are all corporations.  People rarely print books or print movies or whatever by themselves without help of a corporation.
 
2014-06-11 07:09:33 PM  
Gorgor's facebook page is gonna get in trouble
 
2014-06-11 07:40:13 PM  

Geotpf: So, the New York Times, CNN, Columbia Pictures, etc. have no first amendment rights and can be freely censored by the government? They are all corporations. People rarely print books or print movies or whatever by themselves without help of a corporation.


Percentage wise maybe.  Total number, not true.  Self publishing is fairly big.
 
2014-06-11 08:42:25 PM  

Geotpf: So, the New York Times, CNN, Columbia Pictures, etc. have no first amendment rights and can be freely censored by the government? They are all corporations. People rarely print books or print movies or whatever by themselves without help of a corporation.


It all depends on how you write it.

Besides, Canada excluded corporate speech rights from their charter.  I don't exactly see them as being a huge oppressor of their media.  Well, other than they make radio stations play The Tragically Hip every hour.
 
2014-06-11 09:01:36 PM  

Speaker2Animals: F*ck these data harvesters. I'm with Arkansas.


Miners. Data miners.

I've been in the industry for years and this? This is nothing. You would shiat your pants if you knew who sold your data. Phone companies, power companies, DMV, lots of others.

Having said that, customers are generally screened before they get access to a lot of the data.

Having said that, a PI can get access to a lot of the data and look up whatever you want for a small fee. That shiat is out of our hands.
 
2014-06-11 10:22:20 PM  

qorkfiend: Lamberts Ho Man: gfid: And to continue my rant, what if some guy in Arkansas sits in front of his trailer all day watching the highway?

That's cool, right?

What if he observes the license plates that pass by?

Still good, right?

What if he writes the license plate numbers down?

That's a bit weird, but I can't really object to it.

What if he shows the list of license plate numbers to his wife?  Or a friend?

Still sounds legal to me.

What if MegaCorp hears about it and purchases his list for an unspecified sum?

Is that where it crosses the line?  If so, why?

What if the Arkansas trailer dweller's eyes start to fail so he buys a camera to help him record the license plates?

Crossing the line?  I don't see why.

And what if technology advances to the point where the camera can do all the work and record those license plate numbers for him?

Is that technology too scary to allow the public to own?  What if he turns it into a business because MegaCorp keeps asking to buy his lists of license plate numbers?

I'm not exactly sure where the line is or how to state it.  But when Jimbob's Grits & License Plate Service can expands to the point where they can track and locate a large fraction of a population all the time and retains that data indefinitely, I definitely have a problem with it.

How would you prevent people and organizations from observing and/or recording publicly accessible data without running afoul of the 1st Amendment?


The country would have to undo the damage causes by the courts and make money not an aspect of free speech. Then the sale of that information can be outlawed.

Barring that, the individual states could temporarily transfer copyright of individual tag numbers to the car owners, so the companies would have to get permission to use the numbers for economic gain.
 
2014-06-12 12:18:42 AM  

rebelyell2006: Barring that, the individual states could temporarily transfer copyright of individual tag numbers to the car owners, so the companies would have to get permission to use the numbers for economic gain.


Except license plate numbers are not copyrightable. And we let big business violate copyright all the time.
 
2014-06-12 12:49:36 AM  
"Only works with law enforcement". A blatant lie. My friend is a P.I. And is a customer of theirs.
 
2014-06-12 06:27:44 AM  

gfid: Should I live in fear that 20 years from now when I'm running for President that someone will dig up that footage and say "Look! gfid was buying beer at noon on a Wednesday!!!!"?


You should probably fear that they'd dig up that you have/had a Fark account.....but you'd get a lot of votes for buying beer at noon on a Wednesday.
 
2014-06-12 11:45:38 AM  

qorkfiend: How would you prevent people and organizations from observing and/or recording publicly accessible data without running afoul of the 1st Amendment?


You have not actually read the First Amendment have you?

You do not have a constitutional right to use  technological devices to snoop on other people.  The state can make the certain uses of certain types of recorders illegal.  Of course, if such a recording is made there is a First Amendment right to publish the results though you would still be legally liable for any laws broken in the process of obtaining the information.
 
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