May 18, 2010

BIG BROTHER COMES TO AMERICA WISE GOVERNMENT TEACHES PARKING ATTENDANTS TO WATCH FOR SIGNS OF TERRORISM:

Here’s something new:

A new government program aims to train thousands of parking industry employees nationwide to watch for and report anything suspicious — abandoned cars, for example, or people hanging around garages, taking photographs or asking unusual questions.

What’s new isn’t the program, but the perfectly straight coverage from an outlet like MSNBC.  When a similar program, TIPS, was proposed right after the 9/11 attacks, it was the second coming of Stasi, and was opposed by a left-right coalition of civil libertarians.  Here’s how it was covered in 2002:

Attorney General John Ashcroft tried to assure dubious Senate Democrats yesterday that a new citizens watchdog program isn’t a Big Brother snooping operation.The attorney general said TIPS is aimed at reporting suspicious activity in public areas and isn’t targeted at people’s homes – a central complaint of libertarians who say the plan encourages neighbors to spy on one another.

TIPS was unveiled in President Bush’s State of the Union speech but has generated little enthusiasm. One of its primary recruiting targets – the Postal Service – has said it won’t encourage mail carriers to participate.

The plan has united liberals and conservatives in opposition. The American Civil Liberties Union contends TIPS would turn many workers into “government-sanctioned Peeping Toms.”

Of course, that was then, and this is now.  Apparently we only need a left-right coalition that raises privacy objections to government policies under Republican administrations.

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