I am not prone to waiting in line for the latest gee-whiz gadget, but I know that technology is often pretty cool. I can appreciate that medical technology, advanced infrastructure, GPS, and so much more have all made our lives better and even safer. But I have my limits.

Sometimes, I feel like an old curmudgeon as I cling to my Android phone. It’s the electronic version of yelling at the neighbor kids to get off my grass and take your silly Apple phone thingy with you!

Don’t even get me started on those Alexa talking boxes. Not doing it. I do not want a disembodied voice telling me how to bake a cake, or listening to my private conversations. It's creepy. It’s always listening like a sneaky neighbor, eavesdropping and posting all of your private stuff on the neighborhood social media page. Nope! Not doing it!

But putting that creeper-peeper-never-sleeper smart tech in your life is a choice. Any time you want to unplug that unsavory little electronic smart aleck and take it out back to use it for target practice you can do so. If you want that little machine to watch you change clothes that’s totally on you.

BUT ... what if the government mandated it? What if the government decided that it wanted to monitor your activities for a “compelling government reason”? Invasive technology sounds really cool until some bureaucrat realizes that they can use it for their agenda.

Climate change activists embrace new tech like nobody else. Every bit of invasive technology coming down the pike suddenly has green energy advocates jumping on it like a spider monkey on a banana. They couch it as “necessary,” “reasonable,” for the “greater good.” After all, saving the planet means sacrifice. What’s a little bit of our personal privacy compared to saving the planet? The sneakiest versions of big-tech-green voyeurism always come at the expense of the general public.

In August 2022 a major heatwave swept across the Rocky Mountains. With temps in the 90s, thousands of Colorado residents were suddenly locked out of their “smart thermostats.” Around 22,000 people had signed up for discounts in a voluntary program that gave them wonderful wi-fi-based thermostats. Sounds cool, right? No, it was hot — very hot.

The fine print said that when the system was at peak load capacity, the utility company could lock people out of their thermostats. Reports came in of homes reaching nearly 90 degrees. I’ll bet several of those thermostats were forcibly removed from the walls. But hey, it was for the planet.

More recently, the California Transportation Department started asking folks to sign up for a shiny new program to monitor driving habits. It appears the vast majority of funds for roads in the Golden State come from gas taxes, and with fewer people buying nasty fossil fuel, California may be facing a deficit. Caltrans will pay $400 for volunteers to test a system designed to charge 3 cents per mile. It's simple! Just put a device in their car that sends all of your driving information directly to the government so that they can send you a bill! What could go wrong? After all, it’s for the planet.

But nothing beats London. If you want to drive in Mayor Sadiq Khan’s London you had better get on board with saving the planet. Khan took a bad idea and imposed it on the entire capital city. Officially known as the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, or ULEZ, this government scheme purports to lower air pollution in the city by taking pictures of cars using traffic cameras. If you have a vehicle that does not fit the list of government-approved, low-emission, green-energy, save-the-world transports, then you are fined roughly $15 per day. The overreach is worse when you consider that approved vehicles are generally newer and more expensive. Good little commuters “voluntarily” give up their non-compliant vehicles in the government-sponsored “scrappage” plan. Grants help defray the costs of becoming an approved driver. You can also donate your non-compliant vehicle to Ukraine because there’s nothing better than exporting your problems to someone else.

London’s commuters in older vehicles get fined. Every. Single. Day.

The whole plan? Well, it’s not going too well. ULEZ cameras run 24/7, and so far, they’ve installed around 3,700 of them … and the resistance has begun. Websites now show people how to avoid them, which ironically burns more gas taking a circuitous route to avoid the planet-saving fines from the ULEZ police. Lately, a group calling itself “the Blade Runners” is targeting these techno-spies with power saws, filming themselves cutting down the cameras, and then posting their blade running on the internet. They’ve generated quite a following.

The transportation office in London issued a statement saying that vandalism is never acceptable. Agreed. But then they refused to read the room and doubled down, saying, “Anyone driving a non-compliant vehicle within the expanded zone will be detected and we advise everyone to check whether their vehicle is compliant and to consider the various support that is available to help transition to greener modes of transport.”

They love their invasive tech in London ... but hey, it’s for the planet.

Somehow, the idea of “voluntarily” giving up a measure of privacy so that the government can monitor your behavior and “help” you meet the needs of the next progressive agenda never seems to be a problem for liberals.

You might want to whisper ... that Alexa-thingamabob may be listening ... but hey, it’s for the planet.

To contact Phil or request him for a speaking engagement, go to www.rightsideradio.org. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.

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