Spy Games: 8,000 Danbury Residents are Under Surveillance, Here’s Why
Every morning I read as many Connecticut-related articles as possible in preparation for the I-95 Morning Show.
I read them and make notes, once all the information is gathered I go through the selection process to see what articles we will discuss on the show.
This activity keeps me informed but it's not always riveting information. Certain themes get revisited again and again by the news outlets in the state so I'm not often surprised. This morning I was shocked by a story I read in State Scoop. I know that government and municipal agencies will go to great lengths to get our money in their pockets, but this story underlines just how far they are willing to go.
According to State Scoop there are Motor Vehicle Compliance Programs in Connecticut that are designed to recoup funds lost when a resident improperly registers their vehicle to get around local taxes. They also go after people who manipulate the system to "overshoot grace periods" after they move from one place to another in the state.
I was not surprised that programs like this exist or that they do their damnedest to get the money, but I was blown away by the methods they use. The news report says these municipalities hire private investigation firms to gather the evidence. They use dash-mounted cameras to scan license plates and geolocation tech. The data they collect is stored and processed with "little to no oversight" according to the report.
The State Scoop article also reports these investigative firms create what are called "patterns of life" on the individual vehicle owners. The investigators reportedly make detailed reports that log the GPS location of vehicles along with the date and time.
What is a pattern of life?
The State Scoop report has a quote from Tom Aldrich, the VP of private clients at 360 privacy who said:
What that firm is doing is they are legitimately developing a pattern of life on you. All of the data points that are collected are essentially telling the government of the state of Connecticut, This is who this person is, this is what they drive and this is where they go over the course of a 90-day period.
State Scoop also referenced information gathered by Connecticut Inside Investigator which says some of the investigator's tactics are straight out of the movies. Last year C.I.I. reported the following:
When cars are parked down long driveways, firm agents use binoculars to collect license plate data and record it along with the time, date and location of the vehicle, Inside Investigator’s report said.
This is not happening in some faraway land, it's happening right here in the Hat City. State Scoop says there are over 8,345 vehicles in Danbury that are currently under investigation by Capital Tax Recovery. The most recent Census information says just over 86,000 people are living in Danbury. This means almost 10% of the city's population is currently under investigation.
Owning and operating a vehicle in the State of Connecticut is nothing short of a nightmare. Every morning when I pull out of the driveway I know I'm lighting money on fire. The cost of gas, the condition of the roads, the taxes, registration, and emissions, all add up to a price I cannot afford and I'm not alone.
Instead of doing something to relieve this financial strain, the state adds to the problem at every turn. I understand people should pay their taxes, but the issue is not as simple as they'd like to make it. Some people can't afford the taxes and that can start a chain reaction. If you are not up-to-date on your taxes, you cannot register your vehicle, and so on.
It's a lot to navigate and now we learn there are privacy concerns to boot. These are some of the reasons why people run screaming from Connecticut.
We talked about this on the Thursday (11/30/23) edition of the I-95 Morning Show
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