DIFFICULT POLICY CHOICES AHEAD

Let me interrupt this sequential Super Simple Business Tips with comments about future legal concerns ahead for all of us.

You may want to revisit the 2002 Tom Cruise featured movie, “Minority Report.”  The supposed futuristic movie revealed how department stores utilized retina scan technology to identify every possible shopper that entered.  Upon entrance, a computer voice welcomed the shopper by name and knew everything about them; especially their purchasing history.

In our own lives, we know from purchasing items on line it seems that every business knows our entire on line purchasing history and sells our information and exploits us with their horrific and aggressive marketing at us.

We have heard that many computer programs now have facial and retina scan technology.

Recently, National Public Radio performed a story on how our cell phone providers are coordinating with the national credit reporting bureaus and store retailers to track our movements in stores to help these stores monitor our shopping activities.

Lev Grossman’s article “Rise of the Drones” in the February 11, 2013 issue of Time Magazine (copyright) is a must read.  The article reviews the current and future uses of “unmanned aerial vehicles”.  The article explains uses by police to study crime scenes, farmers to watch fields, builders to survey construction sites, and Hollywood to make movies. Mr. Grossman correctly comments how drones are evolving faster than our ability to legally and ethically use them. The constitutional framers could not have anticipated technological sophisticated aerial smart robots that could hover for days on end spying on exposed backyards, porches, and even utilizing thermal imaging, facial recognition and other surveillance techniques. 

The article even exposes the development of underwater drones!

Mr. Grossman asks important legal questions: “What happens to the obtained information? Who owns it? Who stores it? Who shares it?

While I do not know the answer to these questions, I do know that whoever has the information and wherever such is stored, law enforcement will be able to subpoena it. Please remember that you will hard pressed to find the expression “right of privacy” in the United States Constitution and the Idaho State Constitution (Idaho has one small provision as it relates to crime victims.)