How To Make CCTV Cameras Even More Awesome: Put 'Em On Wheels

from the we're-watching-you dept

The UK has taken great strides towards being one of the most surveilled societies on Earth, and cops in Manchester are doing their part by attaching CCTV cameras to Smart cars (via Boing Boing). They deploy the vehicles at intersections to catch distracted drivers, they claim, filming cars as they pass by, then reviewing the footage later to determine if drivers are talking on mobile phones, putting on makeup, or performing other distracting activities. Offending drivers then get a letter in the mail, usually with a fine. Police say the measures “are reasonable, proportionate and fair in light of the fact that we are trying to save lives.” Is it that likely the cameras will actually save lives? The safety argument when applied to traffic cameras generally seems suspect, and so if that goal’s out of reach, how reasonable is the surveillance?

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Comments on “How To Make CCTV Cameras Even More Awesome: Put 'Em On Wheels”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Why is it such a bad thing? People really shouldn’t be putting on makeup while driving. It’s not recording you in your own home, if your not breaking the rules/laws your not going to be hurt by it. I know the whole CCTV thing is a slippery slope but at the same time we have people out there increasingly breaking small rules and not caring, even thinking it’s a good thing, which is itself a slippery slope. I’m not sure where I stand on the issue, but I’m not sure why everyone freaks out about it either.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re:

No people shouldn’t be doing those things BUT….

The government shouldn’t be doing what it is doing even more so.

The people being distracted is a slippery slope to an accident.

The government putting total surveillance on its people is a slippery slope to tyranny.

Which would you prefer? Think carefully.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Around here, at least, we have this idea of “unreasonable search and seisure.” Yeah, if cops are allowed to stop anyone and strip search they we could stop lots of crime, but we’d also be invading the rights and privacy of innocent people. The “it’s OK because we’re trying to save lives” argument makes me uncomfortable because it tastes like an “ends justify the means” sort of thing. Anything is allowed as long as we (claim to) have good intentions, right?

Yeah, people shouldn’t be putting on make-up in the car. Arguably they shouldn’t be talking on their cellphone. But I don’t think that makes it right for the government to spray-and-pray videotape it’s citizens…

Anonymous Coward says:

I do have a problem with them attaching a camera and GPS on me as soon as I leave my house and only taking it off when I get home as I may go many places that are no longer public. That’s a hugely exagerated postion of the of one I took. however like I said I do realize that it’s a slippery slope, I’m just not sure that this is one of the bigger issue’s we are facing today. I do think we need to keep an eye on where the gov’t does things like this and how it’s regulated but there are situations like the US wiretapping that are actually more pressing and dangerous(seeing as the current gov’t apparently is not opposed to it). I just think maybe we pick our battles.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

US Wiretapping has no bearing on British suveillance culture. Well, not to the point that we should find ourselves in a “this or that” situation.

Anyways, pick our battles? What’s that supposed to mean? “OK, ok, we’ll let you monitor our daily routines as long as you don’t listen to our phone calls.” How about no, you can’t monitor me and, no, you can’t listen to my phone calls.

Jason says:

The REAL trouble

This kind of nit-picky BS is an administrative nightmare. As you continue to spit out more and more nit-picky fines, your administrative costs of justice will increase exponentially. Imagine what will happen if all of these people decided to contest this in court. The paperwork, the admin personnel, the clerks, the justices, the filing, the scheduling.

There’s a reason we strive for what’s reasonable in the courts. Reasonable monitoring of possible infractions is always acceptable. Hound-dogging infractions is a pitiful waste of the resources of any justice system.

When you waste justice system resources, you waste justice.

Anonymous Coward says:

What I don’t get is why people aren’t arguing this on a basis of privacy. If they could invent a device that could hover outside your window so that anytime you were in a car someone was watching you to make sure you weren’t doing anything illegal you all seem to be in favor of allowing such.

Laws are put in place so when people do something illegal they are punished for it. The punishment in itself should be enough to deter anyone from committing the act in the first place. The job of law enforcement is to arrest offenders, not to spy on every single person waiting until they make that offense.

Surveillance doesn’t make anything safe, it just lets you know immediately if you’re fucked or not. Quit allowing the government to rape your civil liberties and take over your personal life just because you think they’re taking your best interests into consideration, I can guarantee you they don’t give a flying fuck one way or another; just pay your taxes and be on your marry way.

Rod Night says:

Smart car CCTV

I’m in Sydney Australia, and whilst I’m glad to see that it’s not just us with this problem, I’m sad that it’s a world wide trend. Revenue raising through the Police is not fair, that is the job of the Tax Dept. If they are really trying to save lives, get out on the street rather than sit in McDonalds and be seen. Look at the annual statistics and see how many lives they save. The problem is that they can’t. Lives will be lost because that is just human nature, we have drugs, alcohol, makeup and mobile phones. Whatever you want to blame it on, we are human, and we have accidents !

Barney Fife says:

Dang it!, I got sprinkles on my uniform

Why dont they arrest some real criminals?
Because there is no money in it.
Why exert energy running down a perp when you can relax in your smartcar eating donuts?
Arrest a white collar criminal? – No way! You might lose your job because there are political connections.
No, its much easier getting the low hanging fruit, and this police state mentality is cutting down the trees.

JustWearAMask says:

statute of limitations

Any idea what the statute of limitations is on something like this? Is there such a thing in the UK?

How long do they have to review this stuff before they send you a nose picking ticket and are they retroactive? What if next week they decide that wearing a hat whilst driving is an actionable offense, can they look back through the old files and send out a butt load?

hegemon13 says:

Minority report

The problem is not the “distracting” activity, but the possible traffic violations that result from it. Whether an activity is distracting is quite subjective. Whether and to what degree a distraction affects driving ability varies by individual. If a driver can take perform some task without violating any traffic laws, driving recklessly, or causing any accidents, then why ticket them?

I do see how this argument could also be applied to DUIs, though I think it is a stretch. Alcohol causes an actual, measurable, physical impairment in all people. The degree varies, but delayed responses and coordination are always present. And, unlike other distractions, the effect of alcohol can’t be adjusted down by the multi-tasking/prioritization abilities of the brain. It also can’t be “turned off,” like a phone, radio, razor, make-up, conversation with a passenger, etc.

In any case, with moves like these “smart cars,” it seems the UK is moving ever closer to a Minority Report-like situation, where drivers are being fined for the probability/possibility of committing a crime rather than the commission itself. Why don’t they just start fining everyone driving, since there’s a chance they could cause an accident? (user link) says:

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Steve (user link) says:

home cctv security

Yeah, after my mum’s house got broken into I decided to setup a security system with cctv. She feel a lot safer now and then system I got links to the net so if there is any trouble I can view her house from my place. I got some useful information from … after reading some information here I decided the ip cams were my best option.



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