Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tracking People, Cover Stories, Registries, and Ankle Bracelets

I've noticed and sometimes blogged about a modern trend towards tracking people.  Lots of states, maybe all states, have registries for sex offenders.  There was an article the other day on a proposal to extend such registries to other types of offenders.  Facebook and other Internet sites are making it impossible to create good cover stories for our undercover agents; Valerie Plame is one of the last native-born agents we'll have, or so it seems.  Dominique Straus-Kahn was released only after posting bail and agreeing to wear an ankle bracelet. Now Conan Friedersdorf proposes that, if any convicts are released early in California as a result of the Supreme Court's decision yesterday they would have to wear an ankle bracelet that doesn't expire until the end of their original sentence.

Perhaps more benignly, in the past there's been legislation to track parents who are in arrears on child-support.  I've seen discussion on cross-state tracking of doctors and nurses whose licenses were revoked in one state. Given today's headline that contractors who received stimulus funds from the government, or from state and local governments, are in arrears on $750 million worth of taxes, I'd expect a tracking proposal to arise there. 

The list goes on and on.  As a general proposition I tend to agree with the proposals; I view transparency as good and it's certainly less onerous to wear a bracelet than to be in an overcrowded jail.  I wonder, though, where's the discussion of this and what are the limits and guidelines we should use.

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