Just when you thought there was no way another government-funded group could get in on the surveillance scheme: Enter the garbage man.
The city of Ogden, Utah, recently joined an increasingly popular program developed by trash collection behemoth Waste Management Corporation, the Waste Watch Driver Training Program.
Here’s how Waste Management Corporation’s website describes the program: “Our trucks are on your streets every day. Our drivers are familiar with their routes, so they’re often the first to notice when something is amiss. As your community partner, we assist local police and fire departments by acting as extra eyes and ears on local streets. Through our Waste Watch program, we provide training to our drivers in what to look for and how to report suspicious or criminal activity to local authorities.”
Any city leaders interested in joining the project can e-mail Waste Management Corporation and receive “a customized plan” for carrying out the surveillance scheme.
Waste Management spokesman Brad Kloos praises the Waste Watch program, created in 2004, pointing out potential benefits of teaching garbage collectors to spy on their neighbors.
"Part of our safety culture is awareness,” Kloos said. “We figured since [our truck drivers are] already out there being aware ... [we would] utilize that to help the police department to monitor what’s going on in the community.”
Did you get that? Policemen and garbage men will now be working together to “monitor what’s going on in the community.” If the garbage men see something, they are supposed to report that activity to “local authorities.”
A policeman in the Ogden suburb of Roy told Salt Lake City’s KSL-TV that he’s happy to have the help.
“We can always say the more eyes we have on the street to report any activity to us is the best thing we can ask for,” Officer Stuart Hackworth said.
Ogden isn’t alone among towns in the Beehive State where garbage men are being trained to put their neighbors under surveillance.
According to the KSL report, several cities in Utah started the program the same week as Ogden, joining more than “270 communities nationwide” that are now participating in the Waste Watch Driver Training.
It’s not enough, though, for the supervisors of the surveillance state to train trash collectors to watch their neighbors and report any “suspicious activity.” For a few years now, city waste management companies have been installing automatic license plate readers (ALPR) in their garbage trucks!
How many thousands (maybe millions) of Americans are being secretly subjected to this new level of surveillance? How many Americans realize that the people picking up their trash may also be looking for signs of suspicious activity?
How many Americans understand that their city governments are creating a country where there isn’t an unmonitored place in either the real or the cyber world. From Trapwire to Prism, from XKeyscore to the monitoring of snail mail, the federal government and the law enforcement that is regularly the beneficiary of its legal plunder of citizens are always watching us.
One picture of a car and its passengers, one unwarranted wiretap, one unwarranted seizure of a phone record, one search of records of an individual’s digital communications is too many.
The standard is not whether the newly minted monitors riding around in garbage trucks or their bosses think the deprivations are necessary. The standard is the Constitution — for every issue, on every occasion, with no exceptions. Anything less than that is a step toward tyranny.
Taken together, the surveillance and tracking programs perpetrated by an unholy alliance of government and corporations are putting every American under constant surveillance. This so-called “public-private partnership” is bent on obliterating the Constitution and establishing a country where every citizen is a suspect and is perpetually under the never-blinking eye of someone’s prying eye — eyes being specifically trained to spy on and report on their neighbors.
Remember, one of the benefits of the Waste Watch Driver Training program touted by Ogden and Waste Management Corporation was the fact the trash collectors know their routes very well and are “on the streets every day.”
Another obvious benefit: Most Americans are aware that the NSA and others are watching and listening to their electronic communications, but very few of them are aware that their garbage is now under the watchful eye of agents of the surveillance state and that anything “suspicious” will now be shared with police.
That’s not the last stage in the surveillance process, however, as local police are increasingly dependent on the largesse of the federal government and in return for the funds and materiel, local law enforcement share their data with the bureaucratic bosses of the three-letter agencies.