By on December 2, 2015

Two weeks ago, the B&B took the time to educate me about license plate readers and their various extra-legal uses. As someone who has worked at least part-time in the tech industry since the mid-90s, I started thinking about what the cost would be of a distributed plate-tracking business. Eventually the readers will be smaller and less obvious, at which point you throw a couple of bucks to Uber drivers and the like to toss them on all four corners and send you the data.

Given enough sources, eventually you’d be able to have a pretty good database of personal movement in your chosen area. That data is certainly worth money to someone, whether that “someone” is a real-estate developer, a fast-food franchisor or a private detective. Short of writing legislation specifically to stop such activity, I don’t see how anybody’s going to stop that business model from eventually becoming a reality.

In the meantime, however, there’s already one entity that has access to a nontrivial database of ANPR information. Good news! At least one government official has proposed that this information be used to save you from yourself.


Los Angeles councilwoman Nury Martinez has inspired a some odd devotion from her constituents. I can’t tell if she’s really as good looking as she seems to be in some of her publicity photos or not, but this is 2015; what a woman looks like is of no consequence to anyone but me and my huddled band of cisgender ortho-straight white non-otherkin men huddled in the caves of Altamira waiting for Anita Sarkeesian’s hunter-killer drones to deliver the napalm-enhanced “final solution” to the pathetically miniscule group of those of us XY-chromos who still like driving a Corvette to a girl’s house and making out with her sans fur suits or notarized documentation for each removed article of clothing.

Ms. Martinez states that she is “the product of (Los Angeles) public schools and the first in her family to graduate from college.” As a consequence, I doubt she ever was troubled too much by excessive adherence on the part of her educators to the classical standard. It seems unlikely that she was ever lectured on the Constitution or American history or even the English common law to any tremendous extent. For that reason, I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt about her great new idea, which is:

… to access a database of license plates captured in certain places around the city, translate these license plates to obtain the name and address of each owner, and send to that owner a letter explaining that the vehicle was seen in, “an area known for prostitution.” Councilwoman Martinez feels that prostitution is not a “victimless” crime, and that by discouraging johns, the incidence of the crime can be reduced. Martinez told CBS Los Angeles, “If you aren’t soliciting, you have no reason to worry about finding one of these letters in your mailbox. But if you are, these letters will discourage you from returning. Soliciting for sex in our neighborhoods is not OK.”

What Ms. Martinez is proposing is actually a rather old-school solution to an even older-school problem. The anonymity afforded by the modern city and the modern automobile allow women to be victimized and exploited in a manner that could not happen in Small Town, USA. These letters would de-anonymize the process, as it were, and would function as a sort of “shaming” similar to what your humble author once felt when he went to his university pharmacy to buy condoms and saw his architecture professor in line ahead of him. (NB, younger readers: This was before Tinder, back when people actually used condoms with people whom they did not know well.)

At the same time, this is social-justice “doxxing” at its best. Would any of us like to have our co-workers informed of the fact that we’ve been kerb-crawling? Whose business is that? Is it the kind of thing you want to explain to your grandchildren 30 years after the fact, when “Alphabet” acquires the city database and puts it online for everybody to read?

Furthermore, won’t this serve to further ghetto-ize the district? If driving into the area to perform acts of charity, coach a kids’ sports team — or even to shop — results in the City of Los Angeles identifying you publicly as a pay-for-play superstar, wouldn’t it be a better idea to stay home in Simi Valley? What will Ms. Martinez say then, when it’s apparent that nobody will come to her town? At the very least, it would certainly hamper any Romeo-and-Juliet-style romances between two districts to have Romeo’s parents get a notice in the mail, wouldn’t it?

In the short term, it’s hard to imagine this proposed legislation surviving either the legislative or the judicial branches of government. It’s worth noting, however, that the very doctrine of “progressive” political thinking involves moving concepts from the extreme left to the center over time. When I was a kid, after all, I was taught that “courage” meant charging a machine-gun nest or swimming the English Channel or climbing Everest. Today, we reserve that word for Caitlyn Jenner and 23-year-old male Syrian “refugees.” If public opinion about the use of ANPR and related data changes over time, we’ll hear the usual claptrap about the Constitution being a “living” document and the protections offered by said living document will be swept away by judicial fiat.

Imagine living in a world where the ANPR enforced a very particular set of moral values. Would we make adultery just as shame-able as soliciting prostitution? Would all marriages be safe if there was always the possibility of a letter in this afternoon’s mailbox, exposing one’s perfidy? Maybe not. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that your humble author squired a variety of married ladies around in a lime-green Audi that was literally unique in the entire world. Perhaps I could catch Ms. Martinez’s eye. Truly, I’m the perfect candidate for her. I have the morals of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’s adversaries. I adore Latina women; at one point in 2012 I realized that six of the last seven women I’d dated had a name like “Martinez.” Best of all, however, I have a Porsche 911, and it has an out-of-state license plate.

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92 Comments on “Hey, Here’s A Great New Use For License Plate Readers...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Because you couldn’t possibly be in a bad area of town at night visiting a friend, or purchasing fuel, or having a drink at a dive bar.

    What an absurd idea. They’ll just pursue a hooker in a part of town they know -isn’t- on the hooker list, further driving other parts of town to hooker repute.

    Just go online and find someone you won’t have to pay. It’s not that hard.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    This is why I’m always against the “surveillance state”, it will ALWAYS be abused by the government.

    An example, they now use the Patriot Act to go after movie pirating.

    I’d rather take my chances with the terrorists than bureaucrats like Ms. Martinez.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’m much more concerned about the private sector than I am “the government”.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Generally I agree with that statement but in this case the government is overstepping. I find such data mining – with few exceptions – to be an incredible invasion of privacy. You can argue that your plate is there for all to see, but the repetitive reading constitutes an attempt to track your behavior for uses that you did not consent to. And the Patriot Act is anything but patriotic. It guts the very documents that framed what our country was founded on. Benjamin Franklin was correct. Anybody who willing trades liberty for temporary safety deserves neither.

        • 0 avatar
          Chets Jalopy

          Being in public is “public domain,” which gives the government or private citizens the right to observe you as you go by. Kind of like photojournalists can snap your picture in public for the paper without your consent. The people won’t stand for this sort of government busybody shaming. I’d look toward the Ashley Madison leak to see what would likely happen if license plate data fell into the hands of an agenda driven group.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I see Hookers at the Point and I say to myself, only JB makes such a reference but where is he going with it? Then I see, and am no longer blind.

    Well written piece.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Leftist? Remember who had the mailmen peeking in our windows until the postal workers *union* stopped that BS in it’s tracks? Neocons. I’m not pro surveillance state, but get a little tired of JB’s hard lean posturing.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Furthermore, won’t this serve to further ghetto-ize the district?”

    Presumably, the merchants and property owners want this because they don’t like having hookers who scare away everyone else and reduce their property values. Not sure where you got the idea that property investors and small business owners are “social justice warriors.”

    It also appeals to budgetary sensibilities because sending out letters is cheaper than hiring more cops.

    The obvious answer is to legalize and regulate prostitution, confining it to particular areas that are designated for it while making it as safe as possible. But our puritans won’t hear of it.

    In any case, the ACLU has spent years warning us about plate readers, but to no avail. The you-have-nothing-to-worry-about-if-you-aren’t-breaking-the-law crowd, who inhabit both sides of the political spectrum, has never figured out why civil liberties are such a big deal.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I very much doubt any merchants and property owners want this.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Some business owners praised the proposal in Los Angeles.

        “Let’s say that letter comes in and your wife, your girlfriend or mother gets it,” said Cindy Sower, a Sun Valley business owner who applauded the proposal. “Maybe it’s a wake-up call.”

        http://www.ocregister.com/articles/angeles-693966-letters-proposal.html

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I would bet $20 her business is not in one of the affected areas.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Another question, who determines which areas are “affected”? When said areas are determined, whats to stop hookers to moving to another unaffected area? Not logical to stay in an area which has been blacklisted.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Thanks for the money. Contact the editors here for my email address so that you know where to send it.
            __________________

            Business owners on an industrial strip in the northeast San Fernando Valley have been noticing more of them over the last year and a half – a parade of scantily-clad women offering up their services to men in cars.

            Prostitution along Lankershim Boulevard in Sun Valley, long a known hub, has picked up, mirroring a national trend that experts say was sparked by the nation’s slumping economy.

            “They’re dropped off in carloads – six to seven at a time,” said Cindy Sower, owner of Sun Valley Equipment Rentals. “You see them walking – they’re practically naked.

            http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Prostitution-Arrests-Sun-Valley-LAPD-San-Fernando-Valley-142952525.html

            You can find her business address via Google: 8903 Lankershim Blvd in Sun Valley.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            That doesn’t actually prove they support what ms. Martinez has come up with. Much of today’s lazy journalism takes quotes like these out of context. I agree with your other points. It’s the only logical way forward.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Cat houses should be legal. Get those girls off the street. Give them a paycheck, let them pay taxes, some protection from the Crack and pimps lifestyle. Crack down on streetwalking.

      There would be some happy incels in the world, for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I find it LITERALLY (not figuratively) amazing Pch101 would go and even remotely lend even tepid support to such a non-narrowly tailored (i.e. OVERLY BROAD) violation of privacy rights, especially when the lead proponent (antagonist) of the incredibly silly suggested policy admits that such sneak & peeking by the GOVERNMENT is collecting metadata & then specifically culling/trimming it down and cataloguing specific information about specific people (tracked by license plates) without not only no probable cause, but not even without any reasonable suspicion of wrong-doing.

      ASININE.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        You must have more context to help you understand Pch101 than I do. I’m not reading what you are into his comment.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I just read another response by Pch and now honestly don’t know/can’t discern his viewpoint.

          He seemingly thinks it’s illegal/unconstitutional but that private property owners in Mrs. Martinez’s district would support such a program?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        DeadWeight might have an easier time with reading comprehension if he would wipe the drool out of his eyes.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          That would be the ad hominem fallacy, ever alive and well in pch101’s corner.

          All you have to do is search through TTAC for some of his “finest” moments, where he takes a position, someone refutes it, using logic and standard debating tactics, and then he drops his rhetoric into ad hominem overdrive.

          Typical type of response would be: X is so stupid that I don’t even have to refute his argument.

          Now that I think about it, he tosses in the true Scotsman when he is on a roll also.

          You have to be a regular reader, though, as he only comes out a few times a year, based on 2015.

          DeadWeight has seen him in action before and been on the receiving end, so he does have context with which to recognize the game while it is still on the distant horizon.

          As do more than a couple of others of the B&B.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        @Deadweight You nailed it with your analysis of our self-important pompousness himself. I wonder if he would take the same position on principle if the objective was to catch gay men soliciting and performing sex in public, for example, given that (a) the act itself may not be illegal but its performance in public is; and (b) he strongly advocated in the past that it was not enough to permit homosexual weddings, business owners were compelled to participate in them.

        I think he would have been caught between a rock and a hard place, had it been that instead of hookers.

        If my assumption is wrong, I look forward to his telling us what his attitude would have been, had the target been the one I just described.

        But of course, logical consistency has never been his forte.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      If only we had a state that had proven how this works, acting as a labratory for democracy, with legalized sex workers operating in defined areas…
      At this point, I’m far more likely to donate to the ACLU than any political party. Why would I want to grass-wash some billionairs spending with my inaudible voice?

  • avatar
    cwallace

    If the city doesn’t care whether the people they accuse by mail are actually guilty or not, then they should just send the letter to everyone. It’ll have the same (non)result, and be easier to execute.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    Some high school students had fun with this a few years back with red light cameras. Step 1, color scan a license plate. Step 2, photoshop the plate number of a disliked teacher or principal. Step 3, attach fake plate and blow through a red light. Because the cameras catch the car as well as the plate, this gets worked out at some inconvenience to the victim. Do plate readers catch the car as well as the plate? If not, change disliked principal/teacher to disliked city official or spouse of same – and no need to blow a red light either.
    The morality and practicality of legalization should be addressed directly, not obliquely.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Not advocating any of this, but its as funny as red light camera paintball sniping or doing the same plate fake with a mobile radar van from one municipality to another and back. The very thought of two cities ticketing each others road tax collection vans makes me giggle.

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    Back in my youth I once had to make a trip to the all-night grocery store for condoms.

    I was the only customer in the store, buying just a pack of condoms, with the gf sitting in the car right out front, and the cashier was this grandmotherly old lady. I’m feeling mortified as I hand her the condoms, but she smiles at me and says “Don’t be embarrassed sweetie, everybody does it.”

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This letter idea is just stupid and has been recognized as such by pretty much everyone. Sometimes politicians say dumb things. Like “China is in Syria” or that we should create a national database of adherents of one disfavored religion.

    But I have no problem with the proliferation of license-plate readers. You’re in a public place. You have no expectation of privacy. Anyone can, perfectly legally, follow you anywhere or set up their own reader to monitor you. If you don’t want anyone to track your movements, don’t use a form of transportation that requires a prominently displayed unique ID.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      And that, of course, includes walking now that face recognition is so good.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      So if you don’t want the government to track you and everyone else, just walk instead ?(but then what about the coming facial scanners?)

      As you can see, this technology has only been deployed for a short amount of time, and already elected leaders are proposing it be used for something as absurd as accusing people of looking for hookers if they are in a bad part of town.

      I’d rather let the chips fall where they may and take my chances without this new “protection” from license plate readers.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Uber, bus, bike, taxi, etc., etc. It’s also legal to wear a mask, but not to obscure your license plate.

        How would you propose to write a law banning license plate readers? They are just automating something that’s essential for a lot of reasons.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          When did license plate readers become “essential?” I must have missed that.

          If we can pass laws against prostitution (i.e. charging money for something that is free to give away), then we can criminalize the ability to profit from activities that benefit from the use of plate readers and restrict their usage to limited circumstances, i.e. the search for those who have felony warrants.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Reading comprehension. License plate readers “are automating something that’s essential.” That is, reading license plates.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            License plate readers don’t operate in a vacuum, they facilitate high-volume data mining. That is certainly not essential.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            So how many license plates are you allowed to read in public?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The point isn’t just the picture, its the GPS coordinates which get logged with it. You both know I am not an attorney but I would argue against the recording of GPS coordinates as a civil rights violation. Putting pictures together with a location can lead to discrimination whereas the pictures by themselves say little. Think about it… your car is seen in the parking lot of a gay bar, a certain kind of church/temple, or something obvious to race such as the Black Panther Party. Your right of protection from discrimination of sexual orientation, religion, and race are all violated.

            “Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations and private individuals, and which ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and state without discrimination or repression.

            Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples’ physical and mental integrity, life and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as race, gender, national origin, colour, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or disability;[1][2][3] and individual rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, assembly and movement.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_and_political_rights

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You have no right not to be seen outside the gay bar or the church.

            You do have a right not to be subjected to either governmental sanction or a crime by a private citizen for being there, but the recording of publicly available information by itself is not that sanction or crime.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You have the legal mind and experience I do not. So say I’m out in po dunk where ever and collected GPS data on me is used to determine I hang out at the gay bay. This information is then used by a group of hateful locals to beat me to death. How is the company who collected the information, the agency who owned it, or whomever sold the information to the general public not liable?

        • 0 avatar
          jacob_coulter

          “How would you propose to write a law banning license plate readers?”

          Easy, strip funding for it. You know who’s mainly pushing this technology? The firms that want to make big bucks off of it building it for governments.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            As Jack points out, the private sector will happily fund the technology if the government can’t.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            “As Jack points out, the private sector will happily fund the technology if the government can’t.”

            The government using it for their ends is far more troubling to me.

            But banning the practice outright is as easy as flipping a switch, if a city can regulate the size of a soda you can sell , you can sure as hell regulate license plate scanners with various privacy laws.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Actually, there is a huge private market for it. Its call the Parking Industry. In my early years I was part of that industry and plate recognition was the Holy Grail for tracking cars in garages for payment. At that time the technology was in its infancy and the read was too unreliable for revenue tracking purposes. SUVs were becoming popular and they allowed people to slip out over curbs, etc. Keep in mind that daily costs to park in big city airports is over $25 a day. So the advent of this technology was a paradigm shift in the industry. Today you will find plate readers at pretty much any airport or large parking operation.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Well, you can pass a law saying they can’t do that.

        And we’ve seen how well that will actually *stop* them.

        The problem with “stopping it” is that *anyone* can trivially set up a camera with software to do that, on their car or on a street corner or on their house, for pocket change.

        Eventually I suspect people will be crowdsourcing this kind of thing in larger cities *independently*.

        And how can you stop them?

        (I mean, anyone wanting illicit ends will ignore a ban, and how do you even detect that it’s happening?

        And of course there’s the First Amendment problem; what’s the basis for saying “people can’t record public stuff, but only if it’s LICENSE PLATES”?

        I can stream 24/7 video of the street right now, and the law is *prohibited* from stopping me, in America.

        Adding OCR and publishing the results doesn’t change the Freedom of Speech issue or make public spaces private.

        *This genie is out of the bottle*.

        Welcome back to the small town, where everyone can find out where you go.)

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The Commonwealth of Virginia outlawed the use of radar detectors decades ago. States can outlaw the use of these as well.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Which is in direct violation of the 1934 Communications Act.

            The use of these readers for purposes such as this can be done if there is the political will. Sure there will be those who set up networks of them as they get cheaper and the data mined goes up in value. The answer for activity that is extremely hard to track is simple. Make the penalty so staggeringly high that the incentive to take the chance is diminished. Start with mandatory decades-long jail time.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Also, don’t use electronic devices or credit. Otherwise, having the government track you is your own damned fault.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Or get a driver’s license, register a vehicle, bank, use an ATM, use a debit card, be assigned an IP number by an internet provider, have a domicile with a street address, have a birth certificate, register for selective service, register to vote, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “You’re in a public place. You have no expectation of privacy. Anyone can, perfectly legally, follow you anywhere”

      Stalking laws?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        OK, fair enough, there are exceptions at the edges. But the general principle that you have no expectation of privacy when in a public place stands.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          No reasonable expectation of privacy in the search and seizure context is a different question than government tracking and recordkeeping of your movements. Police do not need probable cause or reasonable suspicion to run your plate or look at you when you are in public. That does not mean people should not have concerns over other government uses of that information.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The absence of Fourth Amendment protection from plate readers does not preclude federal, state or local governments from restricting their use.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            No, but the First Amendment might.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            There’s no First Amendment right to access vehicle registration databases.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The question is not fully settled but it appears increasingly that there is a First Amendment right to record in a public place. And a plate reader is just recording in a public place and focusing on specific information collected. There is no reason you’d need to access vehicle registration databases to make valuable use of the data from plate readers.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It would be difficult to send a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle if you don’t know who it is.

            Many police agencies already have rules that restrict their use of DMV records.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            A quick look on lexisnexis or similar should find a bunch of pertinent case law using the keyword Paparazzi.

    • 0 avatar
      King of Eldorado

      This isn’t about “anyone” tracking my movements; it’s about “government” tracking my movements.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        To be honest I’m more scared of some private actors than I am of the government. Doesn’t mean there’s a workable or sensible way to ban either from reading license plates in public places.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/389/347

          Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967)

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The enclosed private vehicle is even more “non-public space” than the telephone booth in Katz, it could argued by a reasonably prudent person.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment is well-established. There are very few privacy rights in a car.

            There are no constitutional grounds for banning plate readers. But there could be other legislative means to restrict the use and effectiveness of plate readers. Laws against their usage will have to come from the legislature, not from the courts, although they will have to account for the First Amendment right to take photographs.

  • avatar
    MBella

    Although I’m not for plate readers and any kind of tracking by the government, that’s not even the issue here. The issue is being accused of a crime just because your car ends up driving through a part of town.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    “Los Angeles councilwoman Nury Martinez has inspired a some odd devotion from her constituents. I can’t tell if she’s really as good looking as she seems to be in some of her publicity photos or not, but this is 2015; what a woman looks like is of no consequence to anyone but me and my huddled band of cisgender ortho-straight white non-otherkin men huddled in the caves of Altamira waiting for Anita Sarkeesian’s hunter-killer drones to deliver the napalm-enhanced “final solution” to the pathetically miniscule group of those of us XY-chromos who still like driving a Corvette to a girl’s house and making out with her sans fur suits or notarized documentation for each removed article of clothing.”

    Guess who’s back?

    No….NOT slim shady…

    Jack!

    Jack’s back & that’s whack (the good kind)!

    Welcome back, Jack!

  • avatar
    Chan

    This is silly in a hilarious way.

    How would you even define an “area of concern”?

    This one here? That one there? It looks funny, right?

    Business owners would love Ms Martinez when everyone starts to avoid their area.

  • avatar
    John

    What we dinosaurs don’t realize is the youth of today JUST DON’T CARE about metadata. They have all ALL their data posted on social media from their first ultrasound in the womb – and will have their in-coffin photos posted too. Every thing they eat at every meal, they update their “friends” via social media. For heaven’s sake, I got a new program that asks me if I want to post the boot time for my computer to facebook EVERY TIME I TURN IT ON! Soon every heart beat, every sound, and second by second location of every young person in the country will be posted to social media. By 2017, they will be paying ladies of the evening with apple pay, while simultaneously “liking” them on facebook, and following them on Twitter. They will WANT all their friends to know. License plate readers will be as cutting edge and Tamagotchi Pets.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      ….What we dinosaurs don’t realize is the youth of today JUST DON’T CARE about metadata…

      Sadly this is very true. Of course, life has a way of changing one’s perspective. Just picture Mr. Millennial on his/her interview for their first real job. The interviewer put the interviewee in front of a computer with Facebook open. “Type in your password, I want to see your private photos and postings”. Sadly, this is not illegal, though it should be. Now the poor sap either says no and kisses the job goodbye or agrees and shares his photos of bong hits, beer parties, and political leanings with the interviewer. Again, say goodbye to the job.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        “If you wouldn’t say it in public, don’t say it online.” If they’re not convinced by the uninteresting nature of what’s publicly visible on my Facebook, any potential employers would be disappointed to find that my private postings are just as boring. I lead a thoroughly uninteresting life to the outside observer.

        Not that asking for a Facebook password as a condition of employment shouldn’t be illegal, though.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Other than automating the process, this doesn’t sound much different from what many churches have been doing for some time. Having members lurk outside adult businesses, photograph every license plate there, and then send a postcard to the home.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jan/25/nation/na-pornsouls25

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      The important difference is she’s proposing the government do it. Many things are legal for individuals to do that the government isn’t supposed to under the constitution. On the fun side, if she thinks sex workers are victimized (as I do) I wonder how she’ll feel about how the ACLU and others will deal with this silly a$$ proposal.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    wow my first job out of collage I was in all the wrong areas of brooklyn and queens and I had a company car so i guess if this was in place my office would have gotten about 25 letters a week, well the leasing company would, perhaps this is just her way to increase the use of public transportation??

  • avatar
    VoGo

    It started as an interesting investigation into privacy, but then devolved into the usual anti-progressive diatribe and typical humblebrag (“I’m banging Latinas!”)

  • avatar
    stuki

    If you’re honesty proud of being the product of Californias publicly funded progressive indoctrination camps (of being a prog-youth, I suppose), there’s probably not much anyone can do for you, but wait for you to perish and be replaced by your betters. Spending the money taken by force from people who bust their ass, to hire backmarkers to sit around and spy on people….. Where are the Jihadis when we need them..

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Could an “innocent” receiver of a letter win a defamation lawsuit if the letter happened to be opened by a spouse?

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Why does no one think of the Johns? Does she have a better solution for the physically/emotionally/socially handicapped men who use these services? Abstain?

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    Jack, I agree with a lot of the things you say, but you are dead wrong to give her the benefit of the doubt, based on her probable lack of a solid education.

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse, a point she and other like-minded public officials have no trouble pointing out to private citizens who haven’t been able to keep up with the massive amounts of legislation passed in this country.

    And she is in a position of public trust, to boot.

    If she lacks the ability to fathom the deeper issues of such proposals, she should be held responsible for failing to have a staff that can vet such proposals before they are let out into the wild.

    And to those of the rest of you who say that the idea might have widespread public support, that is a totally irrelevant argument. We live in a constitutional democracy, one that guarantees that the popularity of a position cannot be used as a basis for infringing on the rights of a minority (whether a recognized group or just a numerical minority).

    And there is a vast quantitative difference between someone who happens to have been observed, and someone who is observed as the result of either indiscriminate massive data collection, or worse, selectively enforced mass data collection.

    When government or big business is allowed to collect data at every techically feasible opportunity, the groundwork is being laid for either 1984 or Rollerball, neither of which most people would consider to be utopian views of the future.

  • avatar

    Unlike many of you, I live in NYC. Because of the economy, I’m seeing more “hookin” in the last few years than in all my life.

    And NO, I do not solicit.

    It’s easier to get good clean upstanding ladies.

    I think Baruth likes one of these women in the video.

    Brandi was my fav.


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