I’m No Walter White
I may have just committed a crime.
I scored some Sudafed last night, and I’m kind of expecting a visit from a DEA agent.
I’ve had a cold and I believe my cold remedy purchases have exceeded the legal limit.
In the past ten days, I have purchased two boxes of Sudafed that contains phenylpropanolamine. I have exceeded my 30 day limit of this dangerous drug and now my identifying information has probably been flagged by the DEA and my local law enforcement officials.
I am not kidding. I may need a lawyer.
I walked out of CVS feeling like a criminal and, I think, that’s awful.
When did it become okay for law enforcement to cast a net over the entire country to find, a relatively small number of, criminals? To make everybody a “person of interest?” To make everyone feel like a criminal?
The simple answer is when the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 was incorporated into the Patriot Act signed by President Bush on March 9, 2006.
Thanks for nothing Big Brother.
So, every time we buy a box of Sudafed, Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Relief, Contac Jr. Children’s Cold Medicine, Triaminic, Dimetapp, Coricidin Cough, and scores of other cold and sinus medicines, our identifying information is stored in some immense database.
* Do I have access to that information?
* Can anyone, under the freedom of information act, gain access to that information?
* Can the media find out how much phenylpropanolamine I have legally purchased?
Some enterprising reporter is going to cross reference the DEA methamphetamine database with the Massachusetts teaching license database and come up with some breaking news “Chemistry teacher on watch list for buying meth-making chemicals. Breaking Bad for real”
I can see it happening…
Have you bought a can of spray paint or some glue lately? Yup, we have to show our ID’s for those as well. Is all that information entered into another government database? Is someone actually tracking my spray paint and glue purchases? Do they really think a 55-year-old man is running around tagging things or sniffing glue?
The Patriot Act also requires lists of all the material you may have borrowed from your local library be turned over to the government upon request. They want everything you may have checked out – books, CD’s, DVDs, magazines etc. My local library does not store this data, so if requested, they have nothing to turn over.
And it gets worse. Big Brother is literally watching us.
Ever notice the police cars with a pair of units mounted on the trunk of the cruiser? Those are license plate readers. As the cruiser moves through traffic, it is continually scanning the license plates of the cars around it – up to 1,800 plates a minute. It’s like a huge net cast over the driving public.
It cross references the plate data with the DMV looking for expired registrations, parking tickets, uninsured vehicles, and stolen cars. In addition, and here’s the really creepy part, the police store all that data for some period of time – it varies by community. so the police have the location of your car at various times and locations stored in a database. The police are tracking and recording your location.
Here’s what the ACLU has to say on the subject:
“Automatic license plate readers have the potential to create permanent records of virtually everywhere any of us has driven, radically transforming the consequences of leaving home to pursue private life, and opening up many opportunities for abuse. The tracking of people’s location constitutes a significant invasion of privacy, which can reveal many things about their lives, such as what friends, doctors, protests, political events, or churches a person may visit.”
We all know that if you send an email or make a call overseas, the NSA is monitoring those communications. We joke around about it, but it’s a serious invasion of privacy.
Are they monitoring my texts, emails, Facebook posts, phone calls here within the United States? Do they have access to my banking records, internet browsing history, Google searches? Do they know what books I buy from Amazon? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
All I know is I had a cold and wanted to feel better. Now, the Government has a record of my drug purchase, and, quite possibly, location scans of me driving to and from CVS.
I think George Orwell was wrong – he grossly underestimated the power of the state.
Big Brother is watching and recording and trust me, ultimately, nothing good will come of it.
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Tags: Breaking Bad, cold remedy, license plate readers, meth, Patriot Act, privacy, Sudafed, Walter White