Malaysia Lets Drivers With Camera Phones Turn In Bad Drivers

from the take-that dept

Talk about taking the law into your own hands. Over in Malaysia, apparently the government is encouraging drivers to snap photos of bad drivers and then upload them to a website where traffic officials decide whether or not to assess a fine. The Raw Feed accurately notes that, apparently, traffic officials are much less concerned about drivers snapping photos while they should be paying attention to the road. Apparently the website is a big hit in Malaysia. It’s funny, people seem to get quite upset by automated roadside/traffic cameras — but when it comes to other motorists turning people in, it’s less of a concern.

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Comments on “Malaysia Lets Drivers With Camera Phones Turn In Bad Drivers”

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Tim (user link) says:

I can sort of see why...

One of the reasons I get peeved at the idea of automated cameras is that they simple don’t have the human touch. If I choose to go through an amber/red light here, I can do so for at least 3 reasons off the top of my head – the light was broken (too long a delay), there was someone behind too close, or there was an emergency vehicle coming up behind so I got out of its way. And what’s more, I fail to see why I should have to justify that through some automated can-on-a-stick taking a photo and nasty letters in the post and threats of legal action, when the alternative is for someone there at the scene to weigh-in these factors from the start.

MissingFrame (user link) says:

Re: Re: I can sort of see why...

Exactly! Even the most law-abiding citizen will freely admit to breaking the speed limit “now and then” … personally I would love for them to go towards drakonian measures in the U.S. just so ridiculous speed limits would be fixed.

As far as Malaysian drivers go, while the laws tend to be subtle suggestions at best, at least they look in their mirrors from time to time.

Dunderhead says:

An Exercise in Risk

I’m living in Singapore, just south of Malaysia. Both countries may be poles apart politically, but the temper of the Singaporean driver is as bad (if not worse) than the Malaysian one.

I once snapped a picture of a driver doing over 110kmph on my phone camera (the legal limit was 90kmph on that road). I was pissed because he was weaving in and out of traffic. What happened was that he saw me snapping his picture and tailed me for another 5km or so, even beating a red light to follow me. Goodness knows, but I erased the photo before anything might happen — but he got bored and gave up the chase.

Plus that there were a few road-rage incidents on Malaysian roads that ended up in the demise of an offending motorist, I’d think twice before squaling in this part of the world.

Bob says:


Here in the states, it’s not the citizens job to police the public. That’s why we elect our representatives.. to take care of law enforcement functions for us, so we don’t have to. We pay them with public money.. the concept is called Taxation.

Most people have lives outside of all of that to pursue other interests, like artwork, teaching or perhaps medicine. They don’t have time to be bothered with enforcing the law.. that’s what the police are for!

Citizens should never be encouraged to take law enforcement into their own hands, even by their own government. If that be the case.. then what is the purpose of government after all?

Clif says:

Re: Laws

I agree , its not the citizens job to police the public but how do you get “taking law enforcement” into ones owns hands” out of taking a picture of an asshole driver? Enforcement means “forcing” the offender to obey the law or forcing the offender to pay for their misdeeds by stopping him/her, getting proof of their unlawful deeds, giving them a ticket, having them appear in court, having a judge or jury make a decision and so on. Just taking a picture is a long way from “enforcing” the law in my book.
So you must also believe being a witness at a crime or accident scene is enforcing the law right?

Alex (user link) says:

The Ministry of Love

Having citizens report on one another is also tantamount to having secret informants – and this has long been recognized as a danger to free society. In his Constitutional History of England, written in the mid-19th century, Sir Thomas May observed:

Men may be without restraints upon their liberty; they may pass to and fro at pleasure: but if their steps are tracked by spies and informers, their words noted down for crimination, their associates watched as conspirators — who shall say that they are free? – 1863, p. 275.

MissingFrame (user link) says:

Re: The Ministry of Love

Hate to break it to you, Alex, but citizens report on each other all the time and it’s widely accepted. There are signs on the freeway with phone numbers to report HOV lane abusers and aggressive drivers, there are signs on the bus to report any suspicious behavior, and don’t forget about the Amber Alert laws going up in many states.

The Other Mike says:

No Subject Given

The primary reason US drivers don’t like government monitoring (even if it is automated and for a good reason) is because it (like anything else) always starts small and tends to get bigger because it has already been accepted (someone is always pushing the line).

It also smacks of invasion of ones right to privacy. America has always held that what you do is your business unless you put someone else in danger. Until you actually break the law the government has no right to monitor you though (see wiretap warrants).

The Other Mike says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

The same could be said about your usage of telephone lines, or cell towers, or even the internet. There is an explicit expectation of privacy unless you willingly subjugate that (meaning you give a speech or the like). Courts have held time and again that is the case. Why else would the police have to get a warrant to listen to you on a telephone – I mean you could be plottig a terrorist attack? Besides if you use a phone on the highway does that mean it can’t be private? You just said any expectation of privacy is void on the highway or in public. What about when you talk with your attorney in the park? Now what if you are talking on the way to court – in the car? Those are just a few ways that that kind fo thinking would (not could) be abused.

I may agree with the intent of the idea but the reality of what it would bring and how the precedent will be used is too dangerous of a thing to entrust to any government.

The Infomant is Real says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

I agree with the comment above. Also, for you people concerned with losing freedom, I think that if you keep your nose clean and obey the laws, you have nothing to worry about so stop whining

You know there’s no way that this is going to last. The technology is too insecure and all it really takes is to photoshop up a good fake picture with a government plate and I think they will see the light.

Plus, isn’t law enforcement trying to get the cellphones out of drivers’ hands? This smells like poor planning. I give it a year at the most before they decide that this isn’t going to work.

The Other Mike says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

“Also, for you people concerned with losing freedom, I think that if you keep your nose clean and obey the laws, you have nothing to worry about so stop whining”

… That’s what North Korean/Chinese/Rwandan officials keep saying but you know us crazy US citizens and our “rights” and all.

The Other Mike says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Scott, I wil agree that there are some circumstances that a person gives up the claim to privacy on the road – such as overt commission of a crime – when done in view of others. But simply being in view does not generally equate to having given up the right to privacy (note the fight about being able to listen to different cell phones by the police). If just being able to be seen equates to implicit surrender of the right to privacy then a cop would only have to see someone on their cell phone (and be suspicious of them) in order to listen in – no warrant needed.

Scott says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

But you aren’t looking at this properly, the cell phone conversation if in ear shot, is considered admissable, there is a difference. If I overhear someone on a cell admitting to a crime, I am allowed to testify to that conversation. It has been upheld many times that recordings done in public venues have been used to bring to trial and sometime convict on things they have recorded, so long as it is posted that recording is occurring. The camera should not be able to be used for anything other than moving violations, please don’t get me wrong. What happens inside the car is not generally considered public, but remember that even so, sex in a car in public is a crime, there is no privacy in that instance.

The Other Mike says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Subject Given

I think that we are basically on the same page but looking at different parts. I meant listen in by means of wiretap or something similar in my previous post. That is where the fight is about police monitoring of multiple cell phones.

My original point is that once the cameras are there they will end up being used for more. It is simply a matter of time before some enterprising lawyer/business decides to try it. Look at the data gathering (and thus data availability) techniques used now for an example of things to follow this. To give the government the ability to do something like this is asking for abuse. Just because it is ok in one way they will interpret it to be ok in any way until someone holds them to account for every way that isn’t. You can’t trust a bunch of beaurucrats to protect/respect your rights when they gain by your loss.

carrier lost says:

I Do This!

I am sick to death of people cheating – running red lights – and the government using it as an excuse to spy on everyone.

I’ve started carrying my little digital camera with me when I drive and whenever possible, I shoot pictures of these jerks. (Not while driving personally, but either at lights or as a passenger).

Not sure what I’m going to do with the photos, but for now, just recording their incredibly inconsiderate behavior is satisfying.


Alex (user link) says:

No Subject Given

There’s a difference between private arrest, laws of evidence (which allow evidence to be admitted in court) and this.

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with this legally, although I think the problems with prosecuting make this a waste of time in general.

The problem, instead, lies in the creation of an “informer” mentality; and this actively encourages that.

(and also, the “right to privacy”, if any, is extremely limited.)

Ed says:

As a regular morning commuter I have been an active car-pooler for years in order to take advantage of the car pool or HOV lane. Unfortunately, being on this lane makes you a witness to daily, blatant disregard for the law by other commuters that obviously don’t care about traffic rules. I have passengers with cell phones, and they can put those into good use. We don’t police the public but we are certainly welcome to help the police.

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