Privacy rights (for some) restored in Arizona

PRIVACY RIGHTS (FOR SOME) RESTORED IN ARIZONA…. Thank goodness Arizona is once again taking due process and privacy rights seriously.

At the first tick of the clock Friday, an array of automated cameras on Arizona freeways aimed at catching speeders were to stop clicking.

There is no glitch. The state, the first to adopt such cameras on its highways in October 2008, has become the first to pull the plug, bowing to the wishes of a vocal band of conservative activists who complained that photo enforcement intruded on privacy and was mainly designed to raise money.

Arizona has been using 76 cameras, which in turned improved public safety, produced a significant drop in fatal collisions, and brought $78 million into the paltry state coffers.

But according to her spokesperson, Gov. Jan Brewer (R) was, among other things, “uncomfortable with the intrusive nature of the system.” It’s a sentiment that widely endorsed by conservatives in the state legislature.

Of course, if there’s one thing conservative Arizonans know all about, it’s intrusive state laws.

I’m reminded of this recent exchange between state Rep. Carl Seel (R), a leading critic of the remote speed cameras and a co-sponsor of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, and The Daily Show‘s Olivia Munn:

MUNN: So, is it a conflicting message to support immigration law 1070 and also be against the camera system?

SEEL: No, the photo radar [is] unconstitutional, definitely an invasion of privacy. As to 1070, the enforcement law, the police officers must have probable cause.

MUNN: Such as.

SEEL: If a vehicle is going down the road at an excessive rate of speed, that’s probable cause.

MUNN: What the [bleep]? So, speeding is probable cause to check immigration status, but speeding is not probable cause to give you a ticket for speeding.