Evading the government’s gaze

What if it were a crime to walk down city streets taking roundabout paths so as not to be filmed by official surveillance cameras? Compare the state of “structuring” laws that make it an offense in itself to arrange transactions so they’re not subject to the filing of reports [Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic; earlier]

6 Comments

  • Taking certain routes to avoid surveillance cameras is just the gateway crime.

    The doubleplusungood crimethinkers who get away with it soon turn to driving within the speed limit to avoid traffic tickets.

    Then they escalate to filing tax returns correctly to avoid audits.

    After that, the sky’s the limit. Some have even been known to not rob banks to avoid prosecution for bank robbery.

  • That’s right out of “Idiocracy” when Not Sure was captured and bar coded so the cameras could track him.

  • Isn’t it against the law (in most areas) to avoid traffic lights by cutting through businesses like corner gas stations?

    • Yeah, but the point of those laws isn’t to make you go through the light, it’s to protect those businesses from bearing the burden of all that traffic. It’s not illegal to take a side street to avoid the lights.

  • What if it was a crime to have an old empty beer can on the back seat floor of your car, or a burned out light on your rear license plate ? How about possessing simple handyman tools that resembled lock-picking tools? We’re all criminals eventually in common, innocent behavior. Criminal law is loaded with this stuff.

    The government often criminalizes inherently innocent behavior … because it finds it more difficult to catch & prosecute criminals who commit the primary offense that is really being targeted.

    This practice is outrageously corrupt and tyrannical. The government and legal profession do not care, but eagerly endorse and pursue this practice.

    By inventing secondary & tertiary “crimes” for behavior sometimes associated with ‘primary’ crimes — the government is able to cast a very wide net over the population… prosecuting many non-criminals in order to punish a few primary criminals.

    Bank withdrawal “structuring” is a tertiary ‘crime’ that is objectively no crime at all. It exists in hopes of catching those engaged in the secondary crime of money-laundering… that is also objectively a non-crime. It exists in hopes of catching drug-dealers (also a non-crime under the U.S. and state Constitutions.
    Quite a spider web of faulty logic and injustice.

    • In an age of breathalyzers I don’t see the point of the open container law – you can easily determine if the driver has been drinking (the open container would provide probable cause for a breathalyzer, assuming they even need probable cause considering the “implied consent” laws), and who cares if the passengers were drinking? There’s no law against drunk riding.

      The structuring law is similar – in the era of computerized banking, it’s trivial to make a report of everyone who withdrew $10,000 in a particular time period of your choosing, instead of a particular transaction. You’re making people criminals for no reason. It’s not just a secondary crime; it’s a secondary crime which no longer has its purpose.