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Police Cars To Transmit Real-Time Video

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the aka-donut-shop-webcam dept.

Communications 149

Hugh Pickens writes "In the first such system deployed in the country, police vehicles in Ponca City, Oklahoma will have wireless video cameras installed so precinct dispatchers and supervisors can monitor activities during traffic stops in real time, and quickly deploy additional officers and resources if necessary. The system to provide an added level of monitoring and protection for its force is part of a broadband mesh network comprised of more than 490 wireless nodes and gateways connected to 120 miles of fiber backbone that will provide coverage for approximately 30 square miles of the city. The network will provide field communications for city services including police, fire and emergency, parks and recreation, public works and energy, but will also be used to provide free wireless internet access for all residents of the city. 'The testing of this network showed that it was robust enough to handle not only municipal traffic, but also citizens' traffic.' said Mayor Homer Nicholson. 'So the Ponca City Board of Commissioners voted to allow the extra internet access to be given to the citizens of Ponca City for free.' The second phase of the project will expand the network and wireless coverage to more than 430 square miles surrounding the city with an estimated annual cost savings of over $1 million for city residents, who can discontinue their existing internet service. 'Our goal is to be one of the most mobile communities in America, and this is a significant step in that direction,' said Nicholson."

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149 comments

Fine, Just Fine... (5, Interesting)

slifox (605302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858065)

I say this is a good thing, but we shouldn't stop there. I'd say everyone's car should have [hidden] video cameras...

Anything that happens on public ground, especially involving public servants (i.e. police), should be considered to be recorded by the public. Privacy in public is an outdated concept, and has never truly existed anyways (so give it up). Someone will be watching -- the question is, is everyone watching, or is it a one-sided situation (like the CCTV system in the UK)?

Events taking place on public ground should never come down to "his word vs. mine." In cases where this involves police, then the police officers' word is always given more credit than the citizens'. Now while this is probably a reasonable bias to have, it neglects the fact that police officers are just humans too, and are themselves just as influenced by biases as anyone else. Video recordings have no bias...

This is essentially becoming a reality, especially considering that most everyone's phone has a camera. Let's see what happens the next time there is an instance of abuse of authority, say during a traffic stop or what-have-you...

As Marge Simpson said...

You know, the courts may not be working any more, but as long as everyone is videotaping everyone else, justice will be done.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858195)

Good idea! And since the wifi network will be open for public use, you may get exactly that.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (3, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858995)

Funny...I was just thinking now, that in addition to a radar detector, I'd need to rig up and install a wireless 'detector'...and have it trigger a wireless jammer so they couldn't watch me as I went by.....

Staying invisible to the cops these days is getting more and more high tech.

:)

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (3, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859257)

i don't know about being monitored all the time (just because i'm in public doesn't mean i want people whom i can't see watching me over an internet video stream), but i think the wireless mesh network could definitely be expanded to non-city-vehicles.

perhaps with the integration of vehicle GPS systems such networks can provide real-time traffic reports/analysis to drivers. i'd be interested in seeing whether this kind of smart p2p "traffic network" could optimize traffic flow by directing drivers to the most efficient route with regards to traffic conditions.

if a freeway gets too backed up, it can slow down or cause traffic jams in other connected freeways. but if people can look up real-time traffic information then they might avoid congested routes, preventing severe traffic jams from forming. this would also help distribute traffic flow more evenly rather than having a few overcrowded routes and a bunch of underutilized routes.

this would also lower the cost of rolling out wireless access in a lot of areas.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (0, Redundant)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858363)

We could take it one step further. There'd be different types of military units, grunts on foot, Humvees with door guns and M1A1 tanks. When the next war happens we'd vote on the internet which types to produce and where to send them. Bingo, collaborative Tower Defense for the whole nation.

On average the US has a war every couple of years. Plus there are riots to be put down back home, so you could always join in a war somewhere.

I favour a water cannon full of napalm followed by slow moving flamethrower tanks for urban conflict.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (1)

callmetheraven (711291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858389)

Agreed, this could be a Good Thing. The police already have their videotapes for proof when they're in the right, streaming police video to a remote station could help to alleviate the all-too-commen "the tape got damaged/lost" when the police are in the wrong.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859013)

I wonder, will the general public get to watch these streaming cameras in 'real time' too?

Sure would beat the hell out of watching "Cops" on tv. This way...no editing.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (3, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858451)

I can see one good thing coming out of this (and a lot of not so good things), which is that there will be no more 'lost tapes'.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (4, Insightful)

sticky.pirate (1114263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858821)

There will still be lost tapes, only the excuses will change; "our servers were offline during that period", "the hard drive got corrupted", "viruses", "microwave radiation interference", et cetera. I'm sure most supervisors can be trusted (and most officers, as well), but some are going to be tempted to erase evidence of wrong-doing, just as some officers in the field will be tempted to turn off the camera. As long as we rely on the police to police themselves, there will always be possible ways to get around these kinds of things. What we would really need is for those real-time video feeds to be open to the public

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859339)

exactly. If they wanted to limit police beatings they would make it impossible to turn the cameras off, with the specter of being kicked off if they do.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859659)

As long as we rely on the police to police themselves, there will always be possible ways to get around these kinds of things. What we would really need is for those real-time video feeds to be open to the public.

Exactly. Both the video and the information that video is not being transmitted need to be made available to the public in realtime so that both be recorded by people who do not have a vested interest in covering up events that might occur on video.

Even then, the result will be that illegal behavior by the police will just move off-camera - like into the backseat of the police car.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (1)

human_err (934003) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859545)

True. With free city-wide wireless, consumers can buy mobile DVRs, record locally (in the car), and stream home for backup. There will be no lost tapes except the ones the police confiscate from you.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858489)

No thanks.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (3, Insightful)

bwalling (195998) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858559)

I disagree WRT to everyone being recorded. Sorry, but there's a difference between some people I don't know seeing me pick my nose and it being recorded for future ridicule. However, I do believe that the police should be recorded at all times. They are given considerable power, and recording is a reasonable means of providing oversight.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (1, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858653)

"However, I do believe that the police should be recorded at all times. They are given considerable power, and recording is a reasonable means of providing oversight."

Exactly.

Wonder what the job market is like in Ponca City because this is enough for me to move there. This is the best news I've ever heard to prevent police corruption and increase productivity. City leaders in Ponca City really know how to support their constituents.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859199)

this is enough for me to move there

That is a RIDICULOUS statement. You want to move to PONCA CITY, OKLAHOMA for the SOLE reason that their police cars will be equipped with real-time video cameras? SERIOUSLY? Do you OFTEN have run-ins with the cops that end up with you being falsely convicted of crimes due to the lack of oversight? Are you fucking BLACK?

Oh no, that last sentence will get me a -1, Flamebait. But I am serious.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859803)

But I am serious.

You're also a jackass.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (2, Insightful)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859415)

I've been there and if you like being a farm hand, ruff neck, or gas station attendant then you'd fit right in.

While I think this is a good thing it would have been better to deploy this in Tulsa or Oklahoma City.

While we're at it stick cameras in the Oklahoma County Jail. So when people are being abused there it's all recorded. It's sad when the feds have to come in and audit the jail, because of all the officer abuse.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (4, Insightful)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859647)

this is the best news I've ever heard to prevent police corruption and increase productivity

Huh? Is my sarcasm meter blinking out? You are joking, right? Is someone going to review all this video? If it's not open to the public (who would watch it- distributed computing through voyeurism) who watches the video to make sure the cops really are doing their job,"increasing productivity", etc? I won't use a car analogy here since we're actually talking about something car related. But $1M isn't cost savings when you pay in taxes rather than in ISP fees, and hiring more and more levels of security to watch people is not real security, nor efficient. If society has really reached the point where everyone has to be watched and no one can be trusted, then is that society worth saving, or is it just another failed experiment to be tossed into history's dust bin?

Many departments have been doing this for a decade (2, Informative)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859649)

Newport Beach, California has had video recorders on its police units since at least 1997, and it's great. It helps cops prove their cases, and has a huge effect on keeping officers out of abuse complaints, both real and false accusations.

The reality is, most police are actually in favor of this once they realize how it helps them do their job and keeps them out of trouble.

I've actually seen a case made by one of these tapes. I've sat in a DA's conference room watching as a DUI investigation a defense attorney claimed that his client was not drunk - until she fell over, ha ha. Boy did he change his tune quick.

But this does have a positive effect on officer behavior. Obviously, if you know you are being taped, you are going to be more careful doing your job.

One downside of live streaming: Not all of the people police encounter are criminals. There are crying victims, accident scenes, etc. I know if I were laying bleeding on the street and a cop was the first responder to my accident, I wouldn't want it broadcast as I cried like a baby. And what about rape victims? Yes, not likely to be encountered in a traffic stop, but surely there will be cases where victims of crime are broadcast for the world to see.

BTW, even for those departments that don't have video, many cops these days carry mobile audio recorders and they push "record" when they talk to suspects.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858959)

No doubt that the police should be recorded visually and audibly at all times while in the field.

Trust but verify.
Extraordinary authority requires extrordinary vigilence.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859413)

Don't take care of private business in public, then :) Problem solved.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (2, Insightful)

bwalling (195998) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859583)

As a private citizen, I am not endowed with any extraordinary powers. As such, there is no compelling reason to record my public activities. With police officers, they are public employees who are given extraordinary powers. As such, there is a compelling reason to record their activities while in the act of their public duties involving these powers.

On the other side, there is a compelling and important reason to not record the activities of the general public. It would provide the government with a substantial database with a large potential for abuse. Were we to suffer another act similar to 9/11, calls would be rampant to develop technology to mine this video archive for patterns of activity. We could potentially have the government indexing and analyzing everything you do outside of your own home and forming opinions about what type of citizen you are. Were we ever to need to rise up against the government, we'd be at a terrible disadvantage. The fact that we have not needed to do so in over 200 years should not affect our diligence in maintaining restrictions on our government.

I'm sorry, but it is a very substantial and important difference between recording the activity of police and recording activity of the citizenry.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858589)

Someone will be watching -- the question is, is everyone watching, or is it a one-sided situation (like the CCTV system in the UK)?

Please don't swallow and repeat the Slashdot propaganda. The reality of the CCTV situation in the UK is that, yes, everyone is watching. Those "a bajillion cameras per citizen" statistics that get thrown around... well nobody using them to bash the UK likes to mention that the majority of them are owned by private citizens. It's not the giant government surveillance that people imply.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (2, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859169)

In the UK everyone has access to any footage anyone records of them on CCTV, whether the person recording is a private company, or the government. It's not exactly one-sided.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859293)

What will happen is that only the parts of the video that favor the police will end up in court.

Re:Fine, Just Fine... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859905)

I say this is a good thing, but we shouldn't stop there. I'd say everyone's car should have [hidden] video cameras...

We are slowly, but surely, building a time machine. These cop cams, combined with the various company, govt, and cellphone cams, will eventually create a video log of just about evrything.

Soon, you'll be able to pull up a searchable website, input a date/time and address, and see what was happening. Or follow a car around for a while.
A crime was committed? No problem. Follow the car backwards from the scene until he leaves home. Or follow your spouse around. Or stalk the hottie down the street.
The 'abuse of authority' will come not only from the authorities, but also that nosy lady who lives around the corner. Combine this with Google's FaceLocator(beta), and you could upload a pic of a face, and locate where they were 1 minute ago.

The integration of all this hasn't arrived yet, or hasn't been built yet. But it will.
Everything you do, everywhere you go, everyone you meet. Archived and searchable on someone elses server. Forever.

Linux user's party anthem: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858075)

Drink, puke, pass out
I fucking do it everynite,
I wake up in a pool of piss
Can't control my bladder or my alcohol appetite

Sleeping in my piss,
Waking up all wet
And when it's time to take a shit,
It's bloody fucking red

Let the lawsuits begin ... (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858119)

... how soon before the ISPs currently serving the community sue?

Re:Let the lawsuits begin ... (4, Insightful)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858289)

They'll just have to offer upload and/or download speed that is faster than the free service and some people will be willing to pay the price for the higher speed... if the company actually delivers the speed they paid for...

Re:Let the lawsuits begin ... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858469)

"They'll just have to offer upload and/or download speed that is faster than the free service and some people will be willing to pay the price for the higher speed... if the company actually delivers the speed they paid for..."

Or offer more services, such as email, good usenet access, etc.

Re:Let the lawsuits begin ... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858539)

Not really. think about it. how many people just need wifi speeds for most of their browsing? this isn't to replace a slashdotters fiber connection, This is to give you wifi while getting sun in the park.

Re:Let the lawsuits begin ... (1)

Plaid Phantom (818438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858603)

That's basically what the GP was saying, that ISPs will just have to market to the /.ers wanting a fiber connection.

Re:Let the lawsuits begin ... (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858703)

How many millions of people play WoW and other MMOs? Then there are the FPSs and RTSs. Seriously, there are enough gamers out there that need something better than WiFi that the ISPs aren't going anywhere. Even HALO would suck on a WiFi simply due to lag congestion if you had too many people around you.

Re:Let the lawsuits begin ... (1)

sirkha (1015441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860159)

The real problem with this, though, is cost sharing. Currently, all of the people who do not need anything better than wifi are helping to pay for the infrustructure needed to support all levels of internet service. If the people who, because of their numbers, provide more of the financial support needed by the ISPs to make it worthwile to maintain their infrustructure, decide to give up their service then the higher end service will have to increase in price. It depends on how many people leave, and how many people want the faster service, but I would venture to guess that the rate for this type of internet service would double or triple.

Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues and (3, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858165)

Free wifi + real time video + VOIP = bandwidth issues and maybe even AP over load.

also mesh network may make things even slower and traffic may have to use a few links to get a hard wired network link.

What if you have 80% to 100% homes on a block useing this?

What if 4-5 cops cars are in the same area?

Re:Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues (2, Interesting)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858241)

Qos addresses most of those issues, The problem IMO is that most wireless technologies are easy to jam. WPA for example is easy as hell to jam, a felon with a laptop with a laptop and aircrack can just kick all local users (including the cops) off the router. OTOH as long as this is in addition to their standard communication methods i don't see this as a problem.

Re:Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858465)

I would strongly suspect(though I've been guilty of optimism before) that the cop-cams, whatever the precise implementation details are, have at least a few minutes of local buffer. Even aside from the risk of deliberate jamming, getting wifi to work 100% of the time is nontrivial.

Re:Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858717)

Net Neutrality may eliminate QoS implementations (wouldn't that be ironic).

But as to jaming, you're being overly optimistic. Any WiFi can be jammed, regardless of the encryption used. All one needs is to put out enough RF noise in the WiFi band and it's toast. Some basic electronics knowledge is all it would take to build an RF jammer.

Re:Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues (1)

GodKingAmit (1192629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858777)

You don't even need electronics knowledge. Just use an old microwave and fake the door-closed sensor. Voilla, 1kW 2.4 Ghz jammer.

Just remember not to point it at anyone ...

Net Neutrality vs. QoS (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859839)

Net Neutrality may eliminate QoS implementations (wouldn't that be ironic).

Well there's a huge difference between Net Neutrality and QoS :
- QoS make sure that during usage spikes the critical real-time protocols get enough bandwidth and not too much delay to be still usable in real time. HTTP will be deprioritized behind interactive SSH and VoIP. Outside spike you get everything for your Bittorrent and HTTP, during a spike the access point may from time to time put delays between your BT or HTTP packets so that your phone is still near enough to realtime to be usable instead of being buried deep in the queue.

Most of it has already been implemented and used for year on current and past Internet structure and equipement : relay points (routers, etc..) don't use a simple First-In First-Out rule in their queue, but have an additional clause "make sure that real-time protocols XX and YY have one packet sent at lest each SSS msec"

The "makes real-time service not wait too much in queue during an usage spike " is the key point.

- a non-Neutral net divides the whole network in different tiers, with privilege to be in first class being paid-for, the separation not being actually based on service types (HTTP connection to a paying netizens being prioritized over HTTP/BT connections to second class netizens even if none of the two are real-time critical) and the limits being permanent, independent of current usage. It is about putting priority to some destination even for some activities (like the famous "sending e-mails down the inter-tubes")
which aren't time critical at all.

The key point is that if you are a paying customer, access to your service are prioritized no matter how time sensitive they are, and if you are not paying, your service will have a bandwidth cap, no matter if currently there are no usage spikes.

Both approach try solve the same problem :
- Sometimes there's a fuckton of things flowing in the intertubes.
But each take a different approach :
- QoS is about dividing between time sensitive-service (miss a packet and your VoIP-call stutters) and globally bandwidth ("volume") sensitive service (downloading : you want your stuff to arrive as fast as possible but if from time to time a packet for VoIP is let first, it won't pose a problem that much).
QoS makes sure that the first have their necessary bare minimum of packets per seconds, even if usually the second generate more packets in the queue and would monopolize the link.
The system is *neutral* regardless of who the peers in a link are. Only the real-time characteristic of the protocol count.

- non-Neutral nets attempts to put arbitrary bandwidth caps everywhere and on everyone. And then have paid option to increase the cap to a higher level.
Suddenly, Net isn't free for everyone.
The whole model where everyone can freely communicate with everyone else is suddenly broken into a provider/consumer relationship with some provider given more importance depending on how much they pay.

Some basic electronics knowledge is all it would take to build an RF jammer.

Or a cheap not very-well shielded Micro-oven~

Re:Net Neutrality vs. QoS (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860199)

On the net neutrality half, the way the law is written and the way you would perceive the law to be written are generally two very different things. It is conceivable that a net neutrality law would be written in such a way that it prevents QoS by using something like the phrase "no prioritization of packets is allowed". QoS involves the prioritization of some packets over another. Sorry, but screwy things happen when laws get written.

In physical implementation, there is no difference between QoS and non-Net Neutrality. It is all a matter of how the packets are prioritized.

The key point is that if you are a paying customer, access to your service are prioritized no matter how time sensitive they are, and if you are not paying, your service will have a bandwidth cap, no matter if currently there are no usage spikes.

I have never heard this second (bolded) portion before. The closest I have heard is that non-paying customers will have a lower prioritization, not that there would be an actual cap. Could you provide some source for a hard cap? And yes, I am being serious. I have never heard this specific portion before.

As to the Microwave Oven, well, the problem is that microwaves transmit on one specific frequency, not the entire band. With 802.11, you have three non-overlaping frequencies (1,6,11) and so there is no way the microwave can take out them all. This is presuming that the microwave is even in the ch 1-11 frequency block and not outside of it by 100khz or so. All of 802.11 only uses up 83khz.

Re:Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858769)

You assume they'll be using the same frequencies and/or channels. Many/most public service wifi setups use the 700MHz band, not the 2.4/5Ghz bands civilians use; Though some backhauls use this range as well. They may just be putting wifi as a bag on the side of these installations.

As far as jamming, etc.; Certainly possible with any wireless technology, but how many people have an incentive to do so? Police depend on wireless technologies and wireless technologies can be jammed, this is true. Rapid frequency hopping and spread-spectrum techniques used by the military can make jamming very difficult -- but I'm going to focus on civilian tech, since that is what is being used here. If an attacker has enough resources to setup and effectively utilize jammers, wouldn't it follow that the target would be worth the investment? It's a one-shot, short duration deal; If police resources are jammed for any length of time, that would attract instant military and FCC involvement. The risk profile doesn't make that a likely course of action for an attacker.

So in short, possible but not probable. There are not many mobile targets that are high value and also depend substantially on a rapid police response for protection. Any target of reasonable value will have alarms tied to hard lines, and there's always police coming and going from their offices that would be used to respond to any call. As an example, however, of a scenario in which this would be beneficial for an attacker -- a shipment of fuel rods for a nuclear reactor. It's a high value mobile target that would have it's protection significantly reduced if wireless resources were cut off. Obviously, this scenario is far beyond the reach of Joe Average Felon with a Laptop.

Re:Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858779)

"WPA for example is easy as hell to jam, a felon with a laptop with a laptop and aircrack can just kick all local users (including the cops) off the router."

And that would accomplish what, exactly? Cops can't check your record for a few minutes and a nice long jail sentence for "hacking" when they discover what 15 yr old script kiddie did it? Computer hackers don't fair so well in federal prison.

Re:Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858417)

I would expect the public wifi to be restricted to public areas like parks and malls. Residential areas probably wont have coverage.

Re:Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues (1)

acidrainx (806006) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858519)

I would expect the public wifi to be restricted to public areas like parks and malls. Residential areas probably wont have coverage.

Did you even read the summary let alone the article?

The second phase of the project will expand the network and wireless coverage to more than 430 square miles surrounding the city with an estimated annual cost savings of over $1 million for city residents, who can discontinue their existing internet service.

Re:Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues (1)

Ghubi (1102775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858557)

I would expect the coverage to be 'anywhere a traffic stop might be made' since that is the primary purpose of the network.

Re:Free wifi + real time video = bandwidth issues (1)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858781)

As a touring musician I've seen a few cities with free wifi, Saskatoon for example. I've never encountered one that had any reasonable bandwidth except very late at night (early morning). Can't even load Gmail much less send something or even save a draft.

What it does do is persuade businesses to not provide wifi hotspots, which is really silly. A lot of people get wifi devices because of the free wifi coverage, then get frustrated by the poor bandwidth. The number of wifi devices in the streets should be greater incentive to provide hotspots.

Security thinking (3, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858191)

Ok, security-thinking time...

Hmmm. If this were done someplace that was worth the effort (no idea what that city is like) it could potentially be a great way to keep track of where the cops were and maybe even what they were up to.

--MarkusQ

Re:Security thinking (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858249)

Compromising your local router would provide an easy way to give you those extra seconds to flush your stash, but then again having somebody looking out of the window probably has the same effect.

Re:Security thinking (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858257)

Not very difficult. Keep an eye on the station and when you see a lot of patrol cars parked you know its near a shift change.

Re:Security thinking (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858313)

I think the problem with this system is the same problem with the non-live video cameras installed in police cars. The police have complete control of the video. So they can just delete it if it shows something they don't want, but the suspect doesn't get to do that.

I remember seeing a news story recently of a police brutality case. As usual, the cop who did it had erased his own car's tape. Unfortunately, another cop was on the scene and failed to erase his car's video. So the offending cop got fired.

Re:Security thinking (1)

Sanat (702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859175)

To augment your position... not only do the police have jurisdiction over the video feeds from the police cars, but they may have total jurisdiction over the entire town thus could snoop for that which they might disagree... whether child porn or something of a lesser notion.

I would be very wary of having my browsing habits monitored by the police. I like the idea of separation between my ISP and the police even though I am a law abiding citizen. It is just too easy to copy a log file from one place to another to set someone up for a fall.

Giving this power to the city of Ponca City seems way out of balance to me.

Re:Security thinking (4, Insightful)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858379)

Dude, you can have a real-time police radar like in GTA4.

Each car is constantly transmitting ... a proximity detector should be rather easy to implement just based on signal strength alone.

Depending what frequency they're using, you can possibly use two antennas to triangulate a guess as to where the police car is relative to you.

The pain in the ass comes in when you start dealing with reflected signals in urban areas.

Re:Security thinking (1)

trinity93 (215227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859083)

Wouldn't it be easier to use GPS in the cars? You just get a reading and update a db with lat and long.

Re:Security thinking (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859311)

Grandparent was referring to tracking police cars for nefarious purposes. Of course, for offical purposes, GPS would be used, with the location transmitted back wirelessly (google "gpsd").

Re:Security thinking (1)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858741)

Don't worry, they'll change the WEP password at least once a month.

But seriously, how big a leap would that be compared to monitoring police radio? IMO not enough to outweigh the potential benefits.

Another question is will the recordings be public domain, or semi-public? For example I wanted a recording of a call I placed to the police switchboard (not 911) when an ex-landlord was trying to force his way into my apartment illegally. They charge $35 to search for the call, and another $80 to make a copy. That's what I call semi-public.

Worst Idea Ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858197)

Um... allowing citizens on the same network where the city does all its business and even police cars transmit video? The security implications are staggering.

And by "free" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858223)

They mean paid for by their own tax dollars.

Re:And by "free" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858567)

Yes, like the streets. Streets are paid for by tax money because even someone who never leaves the basement profits from them (pizza delivery). Don't you think data connectivity is also basic infrastructure that should just be available to everyone?

Re:And by "free" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859869)

Yes, like the streets. Streets are paid for by tax money because even someone who never leaves the basement profits from them (pizza delivery). Don't you think data connectivity is also basic infrastructure that should just be available to everyone?

It's just not free is all.

I live south of ponca city (5, Informative)

trinity93 (215227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858231)

I live south of Ponca City in Stillwater, OK. I can tell you that what ever mom and pop isp is in the area is probably gonna run the whole thing for them. There isn't a strong presence in the area by any large isps. It should also be noted that Ponca City is mostly Oil Refineries (Connaco / Philips ) and the area around there is sparsely populated. Were talking farmland and grazing grassland prairie. Most of the people around here do not have Internet access other than dial up. I pay a hefty fee to get 1 mb point to point 802.11 from a tower 3 miles away.

Re:I live south of ponca city (2, Interesting)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858505)

I worked for Conoco / DuPont / CSC / QSR back when we did the Y2K.

You aren't kidding, there is NOTHING there.

Conoco has the fastest link, a microwave link, that goes all the way to corporate headquarters in Houston.

Funny thing, Conoco used to proxy EVERYTHING corporate-wide VIA A T1. I mean, where talking THOUSANDS of desktops using a single T for internet usage.

tnproxy.dupont.com (telnet, used for IRC lol)
webproxy.dupont.com
ftproxy.dupont.com

Of course, those are / where internal addies, so they don't work outside, but man, I remember typing SO many of those into machines as we updated them, it was sickening.

Fond memories, Ponca, Baby Does (that place still open), nothingness.... Wal Mart, the ONLY store in town.

--Toll_Free

Re:I live south of ponca city (2, Informative)

sar (398) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860329)

I'm from Ponca, and tried several different areas to pick up the wifi. I got decent (3 bars) in most of the places, but at one house on the same corner as an AP I couldn't even pick up signal that one was there. When I did get a decent signal, I had pretty terrible bandwidth.

Municipal-run Internet... yeah right (1)

Radi-0-head (261712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858367)

My city can't even fix a fucking pothole in less than a month, and somehow this place expects a bureaucratically-heavy municipal government to be able to provide reliable Internet service?

I bet all the traffic runs through the police station for "analysis" anyway. Scary.

TOS? (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858371)

I'd be a little nervous using WiFi on a municipal network essentially built for the police. Is it encrypted? Anonymous? What are the privacy guarantees? If you surf to alqaedabarelylegalshootthepresidentfreecrackz.com ("I was just curious") will the po po (as the kids say) make a courtesy call?

More Muni Wifi Hype (1)

FrankDrebin (238464) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858413)

TFA describes video for traffic *stops*. Real-time video for traffic stops hardly seems to be a benefit beyond the recoded video we have seen for 20 years.

While driving, the Wifi client spends so much time and effort perform hand-off to the next of 500 access points, the packet loss is tremendous.

Most regions with Wifi mesh networks are turning them down or vastly scaling back expectations. Because Wifi was *never designed for active mobility*.

The sad part is when these Wifi abominations displace simple, effective dispatch radio for voice communications. The claimed savings will evaporate as legal costs mount when the first trooper dies because he could not call for backup while Cletus was streaming American Idol on the same AP.

Re:More Muni Wifi Hype (1, Insightful)

1729 (581437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858799)

TFA describes video for traffic *stops*. Real-time video for traffic stops hardly seems to be a benefit beyond the recoded video we have seen for 20 years.

It allows the dispatcher to see trouble in real-time and to send backup. An officer involved in a sudden struggle may not have a chance to radio in for backup, so this could be a lifesaver.

OMFG (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858459)

I lived in Ponca City for a short time.

Worked at the Conoco Refinery in IT, during the Y2K upgrade when it was owned by DuPont.

All I can say is: Where the and what the FUCK are they doing to get the money for this? Ponca is a city of (literally) a couple bars, a refinery (that was built around 3 seperate refineries), and that's about it.

Kicker, of speaker fame, is located about 45 minutes away, and they have a college nearby.

Baby Does (strip club / whorehouse) was about the biggest industry outside of the refinery.

No major freeways going in and out of town, the freeway bypasses Ponca by about 20 minutes.

So, again.. WHY is this system being rolled out? Where is the $$$ coming from? IS there enough of a problem of police brutality or ??? going on that this is actually NEEDED?

I'm all for technology, but really now. This is a HUGE waste of money for a town that doesn't need it.

Ponca City, a washed up, has been town on the forefront of a technology... A town that had it's fastest link via microwave to Houston, Tx just a few years ago.

--Toll_Free

Re:OMFG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858667)

"Where the and what the FUCK are they doing to get the money for this?"

> Ponca is a city of (literally) a couple bars, a refinery (that was built around 3 seperate refineries), and that's about it.

> a couple bars, a refinery (that was built around 3 seperate refineries)

> a refinery (that was built around 3 seperate refineries)

> A REFINERY

Stop answering yourself, it looks silly!

Re:OMFG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858675)

Good questions. Just guessing, the money is coming from DHS grants and/or some company is using the city for a proving ground for their technology with the plans of selling their systems to larger cities. The local oil money is a possibility as well. Could prove interesting if some reporters followed the money.

Re:OMFG (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858923)

"Baby Does (strip club / whorehouse) was about the biggest industry outside of the refinery."

Here's a picture of Baby Does [mistydreamz.com]

Re:OMFG (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859337)

Couple nice pieces of tail there.

Government-run communications (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858531)

The second phase of the project will expand the network and wireless coverage to more than 430 square miles surrounding the city with an estimated annual cost savings of over $1 million for city residents, who can discontinue their existing internet service.

I'm sorry, but the idea of putting the government in charge of my communications channels is truly frightening. Once your government becomes your ISP, it becomes that much easier to sneak in all sorts of nasty acceptable use, content filtering, and traffic monitoring policies, both official and unofficial. The last thing I want is for government-run broadband to displace commercial alternatives.

I'm also concerned about wireless oversaturation: radio frequencies can only sustain so many users and providers, and I'm not sure I want the government to be the one that takes up most of the available space.

Re:Government-run communications (1)

GodKingAmit (1192629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858805)

I'm sorry, but the idea of putting the government in charge of my communications channels is truly frightening.

Have you heard of ICANN? the FCC?

Hint: the government is in charge of your communication channels.

Re:Government-run communications (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858857)

Have you heard of ICANN? the FCC?

Hint: the government is in charge of your communication channels.

That's hardly the degree of involvement I'm concerned about.

Can anyone say speed trap killer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858535)

Now I can use my laptop to find the location of every police car via their own camera. Speed limits be damned! I can't imagine as an officer that I would welcome this, now the boss will know every time they make a pilgrimage to the local doughnut shop.

BREAKING NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858601)

In other news the Police of Mobile Alabama are trying their new "wired video cameras", sadly local residents report an increase of crime outside the 100 foot police station tether radius, and a large spike in beheading within... details at 11:00.

ev

Orwell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858611)

How many steps is this away from the Thought Police zooming around peering into your window or something?

Sorry, I just read 1984 for school again.

In an unrelated story.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25858679)

...many consumers are reporting extremely poor performance of the municipal WiFi near area donut shops.

Great! (1)

PhetusPolice (934823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858687)

Now cops can watch other cops have the case of 'fuckitz' when it comes to waiting for red lights.
I got this habit a while ago. It helps me with my delivery job ^_^
But now they might be able to watch me with my severe 'fuckitz'? They better bust each others balls as much as mine, or this won't be fair.

So this is how the Republic dies... (1)

mrraven (129238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858713)

So our gilded cages with literal police microphones in the bushes now include free wi-fi? Can I get cappuccino with that? I mean who cares none of us were using our freedom, any ways? Right?

Dumbasses! A cage isn't better just because it's gilded...

"To be like âoea bird in a gilded cageâ is to live in luxury but without freedom.."

http://www.bartleby.com/59/4/gildedcage.html [bartleby.com]

Every time another cop camera goes up you make a founding father rotate at high velocity in their grave.

Re:So this is how the Republic dies... (1)

GodKingAmit (1192629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858819)

What's wrong with police car cameras?

To me they seem essential in preserving liberty by providing some accountability to those in positions of power.

Re:So this is how the Republic dies... (1)

mrraven (129238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858973)

Let's put it this way Amit if the British had, had ubiquitous surveillance with wireless linked video cameras in 1776 do you think the American Revolution would have succeeded? In order to be a free people and to be able to propagate ideas that run counter to state ideology you need some privacy. Without privacy and with continual police monitoring a rebellion against state tyranny will never reach critical mass to get off the ground. That for example is how the Chinese maintain their iron fist on their people. IMO that's why the founding fathers put the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights because they had, had recent experience with ongoing harassment by British spies. IMO we need a hard left paleo-con/Libertarian alliance to resist the continuing placement of police surveillance cameras everywhere. It is quite literally turning us (U.S. citizen here) into Airstrip 1 (do a google search).

I never thought I'd say this but Gins and Roses are pretty damn prescient calling their cd "Chinese Democracy."

Watching the Detectives (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858789)

All of these videos should be stored for at least several years, and probably archived for the remaining career of each of the cops in the car. Cops should switch from filling out forms and testifying "on their word", to just voice annotating the video once the get back to their base. Then submit the video as evidence, rather than take the day off from patrolling to testify in court.

Fewer cop testimonies will be challenged. Fewer cops will do wrong on duty. The judicial process will be streamlined, whether just routine cop "paperwork", or time in court. Identifying barely glimpsed suspects will catch more people (and release bystanders picked up because cops guessed wrong) more efficiently, by circulating images among cops, rather than verbal descriptions, sketch artists, and inaccurate guesses that someone "suspicious" matches the merson first seen.

Money for the city coffers (1)

FreshKarma (1333201) | more than 5 years ago | (#25858823)

Five words: Live Police Pursuit On Demand. Screw the helicopter shot. That's for plebes. Our exclusive streaming video will get you so close, you can see the suspect's wild, hunted eyes in his rear-view mirror!

good, though I'm skeptical (5, Insightful)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859239)

I still think the cops will have the ability to turn off the camera. One of my first jobs out of high school ('89) was in a company that made, among other things, circuit boards for cop-car cameras. If the lights were on, the camera was rolling. I'd been there a week when we had to change the product, because all of the police departments requested a kill switch for the camera. The first thing that popped out of my mouth was "why would they want to turn off the camera?" That little question was the cornerstone from which my entire political worldview was built, and I've yet to see a reason to change it. Cops want the power and freedom to be able to deal with suspects without leaving any evidence. It's not that I don't trust cops, but that I don't trust people with power. When those people take active steps to keep their exercise of power, their methods, secret, that sends up a whole bucket of red flags.

Re:good, though I'm skeptical (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859987)

I hope you made it so the power switch turned off the LED but left the camera on :)

Hope they can't turn it off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859301)

In my town, the video will show the one cop who always parks at the comic store for 4 hours, another whose car sits in his driveway for most of the day, and the other one who goes from bar to bar pulling over anyone he sees leave the bar.

Maybe it's a good thing for us, as well as another method of catching lazy cops.

hrm (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859313)

As soon as I leave they get all kinds of neat things. Real time streaming video in cop cars and ambulances that vibrate things.

panopticon tv (1)

wrastler (996175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860017)

Make the police feeds available to the public and sell ads to be overlayed, and interspersed. Allow the public to upload edited versions for people who don't want to slog through the boring bits, and sell ads with those as well. Based on the popularity of reality cop shows, the revenue could be enough to finance the whole project, the police department, and maybe the rest of the city's services as well.
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