Databases, Databases, Can They Make Life Safe?

Databases, Databases, Can They Make Life Safe?

In Louisiana, they recently passed a state law that prohibits the use of cash for the purchase of second-hand goods. That seems a bit beyond the pale, but hey, they say it is to keep us safe so it has to be okay. Now, in Missouri and other states, laws are coming into effect that are putting some serious constraints on not just pawn shops, but on second hand goods in general. Here is Missouri’s current law, and this is what they want to enact at the state level to ensure that this database extends beyond the current realm of required participants.

In a town called Mountain View, the City Council passed an ordinance on March 9th that requires pawn shops, second hand merchants and even itinerant merchants and temporary sellers of second-hand or used goods to upload the personal identification information of people selling goods to them into a database and to hold onto to those goods for 5 days before they can resell them. That pretty much bears repeating. If you want to sell some of your used stuff to someone who wants to resell it, you will have to give them your state issued id, possibly your social security number, definitely your address and contact information, and be loaded into a database that is accessible by law enforcement or anyone with “secure” identification information that can search the database.

The question is, if you want to have a big yard sale, do they have the ability to require you to provide all the information of whomever you received goods from for the yard sale? The way it is worded, I would say, “Yes.”

You decide, here is an excerpt:

“Secondhand means property or goods received from or through an intermediary, property or goods acquired after being used by another, or property or goods not considered new.”

Now, if you’re like me and regularly become irritated with keeping paperwork (receipts) around for things you have purchased, could you be found to be in violation of this ordinance if you tried to sell these things? Again, the way this is worded, yes.

So law enforcement will be able to access this database and find out who sold what to which second hand seller. Doesn’t this put any red flags up for any of the deep thinkers on the city council in Mountain View? If law enforcement has access to this database simply to make queries, does it let law enforcement know who has any item in sufficient quantities to want to off load some of it?

The wording of the goods that will be required to be loaded into the database is Orwellian at best. Again, here is an excerpt with that language:

“Every person and/or business licensed by the city that is regularly engaged in or conducting business for the purchase, sale, barter, exchange, recycling, reselling or pawn of property or goods including but not limited to antiques, Jewelry, coins, any metal, including but not limited to aluminum, copper, gold, silver, brass, bronze and platinum.; gems, and semiprecious stones, watches, firearms, power tools, hand tools, computers, electronic equipment, cameras and camera equipment, including but not limited to film, digital and videotape, still and motion pictures cameras and camcorders, and associated recording and viewing equipment, electronic game equipment and game cartridges or discs, compact digital disks (CDs), digital video discs (DVDs), musical instruments and equipment, bicycles, and any self-propelled device not required to be licensed by the state department of revenue, including but not limited to every pawnbroker, flea market merchant, secondhand dealer of the goods described in this section, coin dealer, jeweler, and junk dealer, both wholesale and retail, shall, within ninety (90) days of the adoption of this article, maintain an electronic inventory…”

Another problem with this ordinance is that it looks like it gives room to find a seller of second hand or used goods in violation of the ordinance if they don’t acquire the information of the person who has purchased these used, pawned or second-hand goods. This thing brings up waaaay more questions than answers.

All of this is entirely too close to requiring identification to buy and sell for me. I assure you that if I want to sell a used tool, I am NOT going to give my id to someone to do so.

A basic human right is to be able to transfer goods that one either doesn’t need or that they would like to turn into something else.

Are we really going to be safer if we put everything into a database on who has sold what goods to which person? Heck, they’re saying the Russians hacked Obama’s email. How can any database be considered secure?

 

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