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The Boston Globe


opinion | Kade Crockford and Gavi Wolfe

Don’t mine data from license plates

Citizen outrage over government spying revelations this year has justifiably focused on the federal level, where so much of the trouble originates. Even Patriot Act lead author Representative Jim Sensenbrenner has gotten into the act, introducing the new USA Freedom Act to rein in the worst abuses of the notorious law he created.

It would be a mistake, however, to treat surveillance as just a national issue, requiring exclusively national solutions. All politics — and plenty of dangerous surveillance — is local. State and local agencies already collect troves of sensitive data about innocent people, and state lawmakers must take responsibility for protecting privacy.

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