Civil libertarians are worried about an increasingly common form of domestic surveillance that has nothing to do with listening to your phone calls or reading your emails; it has to do with looking through your garbage.
Municipalities across the United States are implementing intrusive methods of monitoring the stuff people throw away as part of a push to increase efficiency and conformity to recycling rules. But the end result is that some garbage trucks now have the ability to record the contents of your trash cans on video to inspect each object.
“This kind of automated garbage monitoring raises very serious privacy concerns,” the American Civil Liberties Union warned in a press release on Friday. “While encouraging residents to recycle is commendable, any program involving the government’s systematic monitoring of citizens crosses a line. The contents of your trash can be surprisingly revealing.”
Residents in several Wisconsin cities are already subject to the new video monitoring practice. In Seattle, where garbage men can visually inspect garbage and levy fines on bad recyclers, residents are suing the city for violating their privacy.