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.