Whats next from law enforcement busybodies? First, the Patriot Act let Johnny Law look through your library records. Then, the SBI twisted and tugged at evidence until it gave them enough to attain unjust convictions. Now, sheriffs in North Carolina want access to state computer records in order to find out who has prescriptions for painkillers and other controlled substances. No matter how many people are abusing prescription painkillers, the sheriffs request is such an outlandish breach of citizen privacy, I wont bother making a detailed argument against it (which is done, in any case, by representatives of sanity in the linked article). Instead, Im wondering whose privacy theyll want to invade next.
Maybe after taking care of the prescription drug abuse problem by peeking in everyones medicine cabinet, theyll start working on the domestic abuse problem by combing through Walmarts sales of mens wifebeater-style undershirts. Or they can solve the speeding driver problem by looking at car dealer records to find out whos buying the fastest cars. Or hey, they could help catch those horrid people who dont recycle properly by installing tiny cameras inside each households bin. The opportunities for law enforcement folks to stick their noses into everyones private business are endless. Seriously, I can understand that theyre always looking for an advantage in dealing with criminals. But its up to the rest of us to make sure they dont go overboard, such as, ohh, looking through everyones medical records.