Traffic Camera Companies Looking To Give Gov't More Ways To Spy On You As You Drive

from the you-have-no-privacy-anywhere dept

There's been plenty of backlash against red light cameras (which often increase the number of accidents) and speed cameras (which seem to have problems with accuracy). However, that's not stopping the manufacturers of those cameras from trying to get governments to buy even more of them for other purposes. A few folks have sent in a story from TheNewspaper (a site that actively fights against the spread of traffic-related cameras), noting that the two big firms in the space are pitching the cameras to governments for surveillance purposes, to keep records and data on motorists. They talk about using it to recognize license plates on stolen cars, but you can imagine it's only a matter of time until it also puts together a nice database on where you traveled when. It's yet another step towards proving the saying that you no longer have any privacy anywhere. At least not from the government. Maybe next up, they'll look to just put cameras directly in your cars, like some taxis have these days. That way they can track what you're saying as well.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Verse, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 12:05am

    Privacy Vs Security

    As the subject title suggests, isn't it always a constant battle about finding a happy medium for privacy Vs security ... on one hand if someone stole my car it would be traceable, OTOH I don't want to have my movements traced, not that I have anything to hide, but none-the-less; it's none of your business.

    Can anybody say 'catch 22?'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Spectere, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 12:16am

    Tracing Your Movements

    The technology for tracing where a person goes is already being implemented, albeit in an opt-in fashion. You guys should look up Nielsen Outdoor one of these days.

    It's basically a little GPS device from Nielsen Media Research (the company that does the national TV ratings, among other things) that follows you wherever you go, metering your exposure to billboards and such. Not only that, but it is apparently advanced enough to follow people though cities.

    Imagine what it would be like if those things ever matured to the point where they became standard equipment on cars. That'd be plenty of incentive for me to start biking more, that's for sure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Bunny, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 12:24am

    Re: Tracing Your Movements

    If you are carrying a cell phone, you are also being tracked that way.

    Time to go to a costume shop and get one of those funny fake noses with glasses and a moustache.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    jFive, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 1:59am

    The only reason every human isn't tracked is because it would blow the lid off so much s#@t that goes on in Washington. The govt would wind up being its own whistleblower.

    Could you imagine if every Congressman was tracked 24/7? The country would crumble.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    UK Sux - I REALLY need to leave, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 2:49am

    @ jFive

    Well m8, if its anything like the UK government they will be EXEMPT !

    We have a Children`s Database, Unless of course you are a politician in which case their children are EXEMPT.

    We are due to have a National ID card that we all be required to carry. This carries DNA, Fingerprints, whatever they can get away with, unless of course you are a politician then you are EXEMPT.

    Starting to see a pattern here ?

    REMEMBER: Nothing to hide, nothing to fear

    Roll on 1984

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Frogpond, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 3:39am

    Does The Good Outweigh The Bad

    Video surveillance and dbase tracking can serve society well if properly used. In upstate NY a college-aged miscreant decided to teach his parents a lesson by chopping them up with an axe. The combination of a parking lot camera and the NY State Thruway EZ-Pass data base helped put the brat behind bars. OTOH you can be sure that this is the exception. Like the patriot act, these surveillance methods will certainly be misused by government agencies, suspicious spouses,etc. to spy on private citizens. Camera speed traps and red-light watching devices were the natural extension of our general acceptance RADAR and LASER speed traps. Video at ATMs and convenience stores will evolve into video everywhere. Toll transponders can be tracked from any point on the highway.

    "They are out there and they are watching."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Nappy Rash Cream, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 4:19am

    The end is nigh

    I work in technology and speeding will be out of the question within 10 years

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 4:46am

    Could be here already

    I have noticed that around the US the states have put in "car counters" on most major roads. I am sure these pads already track the speed of traffic as there are two grids in each lane. I am not sure how much more it would take to use them with rfid tags on license plates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Brad Eleven, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 4:49am

    Re:

    See also drug testing.

    "Reading out the figures in a shrill, rapid voice, he proved to them in detail that they had more oats, more hay, more turnips than they had had in Jones's day, that they worked shorter hours, that their drinking water was of better quality, that they lived longer, that a larger proportion of their young ones survived infancy, and that they had more straw in their stalls and suffered less from fleas."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Merijn Vogel, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 4:54am

    Trajectory speed metering

    In the Netherlands we have several roads where speed is verfied over a long trajectory. Take three miles of road with no exits, put numberplate-readers at the beginning and the end, and the software can easlily and (very) accurately compute your average speed.
    And as a side-effect check those numberplates for other interesting side-information: like the number of traffic-tickets unpaid, whether the numberplate belongs to a vehicle which has been stolen etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    buckminster futt, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:23am

    video cams might be an opportunity for some creative fun

    Ya know the aphorism when someone has a glass of water...

    Is the glass have full? or Is it half empty?

    Who gives a s#@t? Pick the glass up and splash water on everybody and cool off!

    So whenever the Authorities install a video cameras, arrange a flash-crowd and tell people to bring laser pointers, paint ball guns, water balloons with ink, old fashion cans of spray paint to trash the camera, the lens or CCD chip.

    And of course everyone shows up in costume. Or naked.

    When I see situations where our basic civil liberties are being trampled by elected thugs, I ask myself this simple question:

    "What would Wavy Gravy do?!!" LOL

    buck

    When we were kids, we were taught to: "Respect authority"
    As teenagers, we realized we should: "Question authority"
    We were wrong - the correct response: "Fu*k Authority!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:30am

    Re: Trajectory speed metering

    What if you drive real slow ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Dave, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:38am

    Re: Tracing Your Movements

    I'm not sure what your point is.

    You volunteer for this tracking to help Nielsen create ratings for outdoor advertising. Why are you assuming this is some insidious plot to put GPS units in cars to track your movements.

    Don't enough cars come with GPS mapping units installed that you should look at that with paranoia?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Vincent Clement, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:44am

    Re: Does The Good Outweigh The Bad

    It's not a question about the good outweighing the bad. It's about the government 'keeping an eye' on us and then abusing that 'eye'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:50am

    Re: Privacy Vs Security

    It's a false dichotomy. You can be secure without sacrificing your privacy. A dumb example of what I mean is the case of a deadbolt lock -- if you have the key, you have security and privacy, but if the government has the key then you have neither.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Joe, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:52am

    Re: Does the Good Outweigh the Bad

    The 2nd Amendment allows you to carry a gun to shoot at traffic cameras.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re: Does The Good Outweigh The Bad

    Well, abusing us. The eye is probably unmolested.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: Trajectory speed metering

    What, just in general or to lower your average. Either way, aren't you defeating the purpose of speeding if you, uhm, don't speed?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re: Does the Good Outweigh the Bad

    You will then be charged with destruction of federal property. Good luck with that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    MAtt, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 6:02am

    creepy

    I wonder if the sci-fi writers who thought this stuff up decades ago ever wondered if their own prescient works of fiction really would become reality. And I wonder how much of this reality was actually inspired by that very fiction?
    Instead of restricting government we should burn all sci-fi books and make illegal any kind of "futuristic" writing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 6:25am

    Big Brother Is Watching You.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Comboman, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 6:58am

    Re: Privacy Vs Security

    As the subject title suggests, isn't it always a constant battle about finding a happy medium for privacy Vs security ... on one hand if someone stole my car it would be traceable

    I you want your car to be traceable if it's stolen then YOU should do something about (LoJack, OnStar, etc) instead of forcing EVERYONE to be spied on whether they like it or not (and paying for it through their taxes). Your car is not more valuable than my freedom. Besides, a criminal can easily defeat this tracking system by switching plates, law-abiding citizens can't (which makes you wonder who this system is really designed to track).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Benjamin Wright, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    documented lives

    In 1995 Bill Gates predicted we would come to live "documented lives," where our every move and action is digitally recorded. One implication: privacy erodes. Another implication: power shifts away from traditional authority figures. --Ben http://hack-igations.blogspot.com/2007/12/people-in-authority-sometimes-abuse.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    You never know, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 8:16am

    It's just one more step towards living in the "Informational Fishbowl". If you have any drought try goggling a few of your friends names, you'll be amazed at what you find.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    wasnt me!, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 8:19am

    why not just implant RFID chips in every body when they reach a certain age?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Agonizing Fury, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 8:31am

    Re:

    Hell, why not at birth, that way if your child is kidnapped, the various RFID trackers could locate your child as they pass by. Common guys, it's not to track you as an adult "It's for the kids" /sarcasm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Tony, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 8:34am

    Re: video cams might be an opportunity for some creative fun

    How, exactly, does one "arrange" a flash-crowd?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    wasnt me!, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re:

    how could I not think of the children

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    buckminster futt, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: video cams might be an opportunity for some creative fun

    > How, exactly, does one "arrange" a flash-crowd?

    Author Larry Niven originated the term to describe a situation where a bunch of folks teleport to the same place at the same time via a plot device that used quantum entanglement or some other literary magic.

    I used the phrase to describe a political protest. Using SMS, email, drums, etc the activists leaders "arrange" for group members to all meet at a time and place to carry out some form of performance art. The event happens on short notice so as to undermine any attempt at sabotage. The group members also need to dissolve into the crowd of bystanders to hide their ID from the government.


    (The phrase also describes a overwhelming burst of traffic on Internet sites that have some newsworthy event or attraction or when the site's URL is posted on slashdot.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 11:48am

    nothing a nicely placed paint balloon wont fix. Use latex, will have to do it again if it rains, but when you get caught, there will be no actual damages to lower the charges they place on you.
    :|

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    buckminster futt, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 12:21pm

    Re: "Informational Fishbowl" experience

    Check this out:

    In 1975(!) I took a comp. sci. class where the professor actually made everyone write a "term paper" on the topic of privacy. The professor dude was way ahead on this subject.

    In my paper, I wrote how our notion of privacy would become what it was like if/when we lived in a small town or went to a small school. I had some direct experience with this when I attended an 800 student college where everyone knew what everybody else was up to...

    Now that might not sound so bad but if you're a sociopathic scoundrel doing nefarious deeds (such as myself) then this social "fishbowl" situation totally sucks. My solution? Stifle my natural, overt anti-social behavior so no one suspected the evil degenerate that lurked within... ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Spectere, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 3:07am

    Re: Re: Tracing Your Movements

    I'm well aware of how Nielsen works and what their selection methods are; I used to work for them. I also made no such assumptions.

    My point was kind of moot, I suppose. The main reason that Nielsen's system stuck out in my head in comparison to on-car systems is because I've had more exposure to them (I don't really know of any non-GM cars with a bidirectional GPS-type system like OnStar, though I believe Ford has been rolling one out). That, and the very idea that such a tiny device is so frighteningly accurate (we're talking something the size of a cell phone that's generally more accurate than your average consumer-grade GPS) kind of bothers me.

    Sure, you can approximate the position of a given cell phone user any time that the phone is off, but that's only accurate to the cell that the user is in, not to the slab of concrete that's under the person's feet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Lucretious, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 4:25am

    but...but....if you have nothing hide....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Dirty Plate, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 8:32am

    Clean Plate

    I remember reading an article about fake mud in a spray can being outlawed in the UK. Another example of cleaver individuals playing with silly schemes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    uk Car tracker, Jul 10th, 2012 @ 2:46am

    suaccs

    It to recognize license plates on stolen cars, but you can imagine it's only a matter of time until it also puts together a nice database on where you traveled when. It's yet another step towards proving the saying that you no longer have any privacy anywhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This