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.