Snitches In The SC Lowcountry

According to a report in The (Hilton Head) Island Packet – the most ridiculously named newspaper in the state – the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is instructing local internet, cable and utility providers to report back to its deputies on any “suspicious activity” its associates observe during house calls. And…

According to a report in The (Hilton Head) Island Packet – the most ridiculously named newspaper in the state – the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is instructing local internet, cable and utility providers to report back to its deputies on any “suspicious activity” its associates observe during house calls.

And the providers are playing along …

Hargray (the local internet provider) and Time Warner Cable have already signed up to be snitches for the fuzz (or “informants for the police,” if you are not conversant in the parlance of the day).

“When in a customer’s home, our representatives are there to provide excellent customer service and perform the scheduled task at hand,” a Time Warner spokesman told the paper. “We fully respect our customers’ privacy. The neighborhood watch program implemented by the local authorities is designed to aid the authorities with tips related to illegal activity.”

Wait … we’re confused. Time Warner Cable respects its customers privacy yet has agreed to be an informant for local law enforcement?

That’s a pretty tortured statement if you ask us …

Obviously there’s an obligation on every individual to report truly horrific crimes – murders, rapes, kidnappings, etc. – but this isn’t what’s going on here (unless Beaufort County is living a secret double life as the murder, rape and kidnapping capitol of South Carolina).

This is about snooping, pure and simple … not to mention a crass violation of the Fourth Amendment that lacks any compelling justification.

Seriously people … it seems like every day there’s another example of government creeping into our private lives (if you don’t believe us, here’s yesterday’s example).

It needs to stop …

Customers need to fight back against companies which betray their trust by taking their business elsewhere. And voters need to show the door to elected officials who stand for this sort of nonsense.

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euwe max October 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm

privacy – closed compound inaccessible by vehicle and camouflaged from the air. Construction requires secure, guarded connection boxes external to the compound, encrypted routers for phone and internet, with radio and laser jamming externally directed on the walls of the compound.

it’s what the founders intended.

Hawkeye October 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm

The problem here is anyhting that would come out of the information would be illegal. Because the sheriff;s department approached the utility companied first and they agreed, they became an agent. If they merely called the sheriff’s department and told them what they saw then they would be giving them a legal tip as a good citizen. Once they actively approached the utility company and were toldanything they saw it would have been illegal as a person acting as an agent for the department and everything would probably kicked out of court. This is a tactic used and is highly illegal and the sheriff’s department knows this. They are skirting the law.

Lunch Box October 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Umm…the last few Time Warner Cable “service” personnel that responded to my house looked like they were fresh out of prison and could barely speak english. Don’t think we have much to worry about from these clowns.

Frank Pytel October 29, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Early release from parole for “Good Behavior”. 1 snitch, 1 month. They’ll be looking hard. Better make sure your tighty whities are folded per #ObamaCare standards.

Philip Branton October 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Most homes are not shielded very heavily and ANYTHING that is done inside a home is observable. This is just a scare tactic from FITSNEWS. Its not finding a needle in a home haystack….its deciding which needle is worth using at any specific time. If Google earth can be used to see buried foundations in Egypt then what do you think can be used to observe Mr. Folks having a conversation with Graham supporters. Those Time Warner cables can act like an Antennae at any time.

TontoBubbaGoldstein October 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm


Folly Field Fluessie October 29, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Hargray is the worst. We have had a terrible time with their upgrades – not to mention their pricing.

Mike at the Beach October 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Wow, dude…paranoid much? This thing has been around all over the country for YEARS. It’s not designed (and is seldom, if ever used) for the purpose of uncovering your sad OZ of Richland County Ditch Weed on the coffee table. It has, on the other hand, helped in domestic violence situations, elder abuse, shut-ins in need of assistance, and suspicious persons loitering around in neighborhoods. Utility folks are “invisible” to bad guys, and as such see a lot that many folks would miss. Lighten up, baby!

The Colonel October 30, 2013 at 3:23 am

“…The (Hilton Head) Island Packet – the most ridiculously named newspaper in the state….
A “Packet Ship” was a ship that carried “packets of mail”. Packets allowed Great Britain to become “great” by maintaining communications throughout their vast network of colonies and possessions. Packets kept the new colonies in touch with each other and the rest of the world during the early part of the American Experience – in fact, right up until the advent of rail and telegraph, they were a critical part of the communications network for the US.

In context it ain’t so dumb is it? Before McClatchy screwed it up, the masthead of the Island Packet featured a steam powered “packet ship”.

CNSYD October 30, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Your explanation not withstanding, Sic Willie has proclaimed it ridiculous so it must be. I am shocked that the paper did not consult the Sultan of correct names before they named it.

Superior Lawn Care, Inc. October 30, 2013 at 11:56 am

If the phone company repair man goes to Tom Davis’s house and sees Davis’s wife doing the couch canoodle with the boy who cuts their grass, how should he report it? Does each position get a special code number, like 105, or just “couch canoodle”?
PS: We have ***** five stars in Angie’s List.

Maytag Repair Man October 30, 2013 at 10:49 pm

She’s very salty and smelly down there even after a bath. Stick with ramming Mrs. Davis with your Johnsons.


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