The United States’ Drug Enforcement Agency is spying on millions of Americans and keeping constant tabs on them as they travel around the country.
If this sounds like a repeat of last week’s report, when we found out that the DEA had its own database of metadata and internet spying capabilities, know that it is not. It is, in fact, even worse.
As the Guardian reports, citing the American Civil Liberties Union, the DEA is apparently spying on everyone by constantly tracking car license plates.
Reporting, based on records obtained under the freedom of information act, shows the DEA has a major ongoing initiative under which it automatically collects and tracks license plates with license plates readers from across the country.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that using this system, the DEA managed to create a program that is capable of tracking vehicles in real-time and that the agency is storing hundreds of millions of records about motorists from across the country.
The stated goal of the program was to aid in the fight against drug trafficking. However. it’s easy to see not only how this has pretty much gone out of control, but also how combining this data with cell phone records, NSA information and so on, the federal government can know everything there is to know about someone.
A spokesperson for the justice department said the DEA’s programs complied with federal law.