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Cambridge, Mass. Moves To Nix Security Cameras

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the buncha-lefties dept.

Privacy 366

An anonymous reader writes "Citing privacy concerns, the Cambridge, Mass. City Council has voted 9-0 to remove security cameras scattered throughout the city. 'Because of the slow erosion of our civil liberties since 9/11, it is important to raise questions regarding these cameras,' said Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge city councilor. Rather than citing privacy, WCBVTV is running the story under the headline 'City's Move To Nix Security Cams May Cost Thousands.'"

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suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (4, Insightful)

A non-mouse Coward (1103675) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830597)

Where's the tag!?

Re:suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (1)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830685)

there it is

Re:suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830943)

I gotta disagree. Replacing the policeman with a mechanical version is no different than replacing operators with self-dialing phones. It's called progress and improving efficiency. ----- I know there are those who argue about "privacy" but there is no such right in a public place. If you drive through a redlight or solicit a prostitute or jaywalk, whether that act is caught by human eyes or machine eyes, matters not. You still committed the crime.

My objection is government using cameras to spy inside private homes, which is far as I know has not happened. But "mechnical police" watching us on the public street? Doesn't bother me at all. No different than if Sargent Joe caught me redhanded.

Re:suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (5, Informative)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831041)

Except cameras don't catch people "redhanded". If they catch people at all it's almost always after the crime has been committed and the criminal has fled. Beyond that statistics show that public surveillance cameras do not reduce crime. Many studies of surveillance cameras have shown this to be the case.

CCTV Cameras
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2008/06/cctv_cameras.html [schneier.com]

Re:suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831485)

>>>f they catch people at all it's almost always after the crime has been committed and the criminal has fled.

And then the human police go-out and drag him back to jail, and the prosecutor uses the camera as evidence in court. Isn't that better than having a bunch of police standing-around going, "We dunna know who did it."???

Re:suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (5, Insightful)

SocratesJedi (986460) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831065)

I agree with you that increasing efficiency would ideally end up being a good thing. My primary objection is that the laws are not written to be enforced 100% of the time. Should every single person who exceeds the speed limit by 1 mph even for a few seconds get a ticket? Should every jaywalker get ticketed every time even when there is no traffic to speak of? I'm not too keen to see either of these happen.

Efficiency in law enforcement is great, but I'm not sure the efficiency of our policy makers in writing reasonable laws has quite caught up with our new technological abilities to enforce the law.

Re:suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (5, Insightful)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831155)

You have got to be shitting me. Guess you don't recall the days when a cop actually walked his beat and knew the neighborhood. Far more effective than these invasive cameras which in practice record the crime as it happens and don't actually prevent anything. Ask our Nanny State British cousins how much they like their cameras.

Re:suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (5, Interesting)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831359)

Ask our Nanny State British cousins how much they like their cameras.

For the most part? We know they are inneffective and almost all are not even watched.
The main reason they irritate people is the cost of keeping them active, not for 'slashdot modpoint gaining outrage' at the erosion of our civil liberties.

Our civil liberties are doing just fine thanks, most of the problems we have no are the result of OMG TERRORISTS!!!111ONE pressure from the US, and that again is losing steam at a rapid rate.

Unlike you, our country once got the shit bombed out of it nightly for YEARS, and we survived, started up a national health service, and began a process of ensuring personal freedoms which we still enjoy today.

You guys seem to be reacting to one single bombing event by imprisoning your population behind survellance and suspicion for years and removing all pretense of freedom.

Go you...

PubliCamz 4 da future? (3, Interesting)

El Jynx (548908) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831219)

I agree. Another point which is of paramount importance: who's in control? Why not take the camera's and make them viewable by all, with a backlog of several days? Let people use them as well. Increase social control. Or would this cause some kind of backlash? One could imagine, for instance, dominant insecure alpha men continually tracking their wives as they go shopping and whatnot, while the wives are oblivious. And everyone tells little white lies about where they've been (some not so white, of course). But would that lead to an increase in domestic violence? Or would it mean more crimes would be solved, since more eyes are tracking the streets? Should you take a halfway stance, that only registered users - and ones with a clean police bill - are allowed to use them? My $ 0.02

Re:suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831057)

suddenoutbreakofcommonsense; Where's the tag!?

It was nixed too.

Costing Thousands? (1)

dmacleod808 (729707) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830617)

How is this costing money? To remove them? That tv station must be hard up for content.

Re:Costing Thousands? (3, Insightful)

Who Is The Drizzle (1470385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830653)

The people who are going to be dismantling them and removing them are probably not doing the job for free.

Re:Costing Thousands? (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830717)

I have a question: Why not sell them at auction with the caveat that the winning bidder has to also remove all of them from service, completing a specified removal procedure? Does that make too much common sense?

Re:Costing Thousands? (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830855)

Because perhaps the cost of removing them according to the proper removal procedure is more expensive than the second-hand cameras on their own.

Also see other messages in this thread about Homeland Security funds return.

Re:Costing Thousands? (3, Insightful)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831067)

Why don't they just deactivate them and leave them in place? That shouldn't cost too much, I wouldn't think...

Re:Costing Thousands? (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831245)

Why don't they just deactivate them and leave them in place? That shouldn't cost too much, I wouldn't think...

Yeah, it's not like some bored MIT students would figure out how to hack into them and have their own little surveillance network...

Re:Costing Thousands? (2, Insightful)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831283)

Why don't they just deactivate them and leave them in place? That shouldn't cost too much, I wouldn't think... Yeah, it's not like some bored MIT students would figure out how to hack into them and have their own little surveillance network...

While I don't care for that idea, either, somehow the idea of a bunch of nerds with no lives watching me isn't all that terrifying.

Re:Costing Thousands? (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831459)

While I don't care for that idea, either, somehow the idea of a bunch of nerds with no lives watching me isn't all that terrifying.

You must be unfamiliar with /b/.

Re:Costing Thousands? (1)

tayhimself (791184) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831037)

This sounds like a great idea with the problem that I think there would be issues of liability. The litigious society, among other things, is killing American competitiveness. See below if you have 45 minutes to waste. http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2008/11/american-competitiveness/ [onpointradio.org]

Re:Costing Thousands? (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830733)

That and what the article mentions is that the city has already spent over a quarter of a million dollars installing the things in the first place. The article is not clear but mentions having to repay some of the money, maybe it was obtained through federal funding?

Re:Costing Thousands? (4, Informative)

lupis42 (1048492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830925)

The cameras were bought with a DHS grant, which my have to be repaid.

Re:Costing Thousands? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26830757)

The people who are going to be dismantling them and removing them are probably not doing the job for free.

I would pay them to let me dismantle redlight cameras but these ones I could only do for free.

Re:Costing Thousands? (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830767)

But isn't that offset from the cost of maintaining and watching the camera network?

Re:Costing Thousands? (5, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830785)

Additionally, often things like city wide security and red light cammeras are not monitored by actual government employees but companies sub-contracted out to do the job. Canceling the contract generally has a penalty involved.

Re:Costing Thousands? (5, Funny)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830817)

Installing camera system: $264,000

Turning them off and leaving in place: $0

Big brother not watching you anymore: priceless

Re:Costing Thousands? (3, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830987)

You forgot:

Tell people we're turning them off: $0

Raise taxes to pay for the cost of operating them in secret: $0 (it ain't *their* money!)

Still using cameras to spy on law abiding americans: priceless

Re:Costing Thousands? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831225)

Fuuuuck... Are you kidding me? I'd pay a few bucks to "remove" them with my M4.

Re:Costing Thousands? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831255)

It's economic stimulus!

Re:Costing Thousands? (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831261)

Craigslist.

Item: Free camera. Used.
Location: On various public utility poles in Cambridge. You uninstall it, it's yours.

Re:Costing Thousands? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26830741)

How is this costing money? To remove them? That tv station must be hard up for content.

Well, if you had read the article, you would know that they did a partial installation using funds from the Department of Homeland Security. They may have to pay back those funds.

Re:Costing Thousands? (1)

myVarNamesAreTooLon (1474005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830789)

There is also the question about paying the government back.
FTFA:

The $264,000 has already been spent on the camera surveillance project in Cambridge, Fire Chief Gerald Reardon said. It is unclear if Cambridge will have to pay back this money.

Re:Costing Thousands? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830825)

They were purchased with a grant specifically for doing this. If they remove them, they may have to pay back the grant money.

"...May Cost Thousands" (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831313)

When they installed them was the headline "will cost millions"? Didn't think so...

Re:Costing Thousands? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831397)

The cameras were at least in part funded by DHS. If they cancel the deployment, DHS may want the money back so they can fund Big Brother somewhere else (and try to make it too expensive to NOT join Big Brother). Since they could only recover part of what they spent by selling off used cameras, the rest is a cost.

Security cameras. (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830619)

Security cameras are just for show - they aren't really useful for anything else than figuring out that somehting had happened and to provide some amusing clips on YouTube.

Re:Security cameras. (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830941)

They are useful for figuring out when something happened.

Re:Security cameras. (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830995)

Disagree. Security cameras may not stop crime, but they can be used as evidence in a trial, rather than let the criminal get-away to kill somebody else.

We just had a case like that in Pennsylvania where some crooks broke-into a bank. Had the cameras Not been there, they would still be running free. But now they are sitting in jail. Cameras are just another method of collecting evidence.

Re:Security cameras. (1)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831091)

A bank is a very small, controlled area. Comparing a bank to surveilling an entire city 24-hours a day are tow entirely different matters.

Re:Security cameras. (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831203)

Considering that most security cameras has a crappy video quality you won't really see much of use except to be able to tell when something happened - if someone has been smart enough to set the clock correctly.

If you are really lucky with your security camera you may get useful pictures, but most of them are just for show.

Re:Security cameras. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831239)

I generally don't do this but -

Is a 486 processor with 12 megabyte enough speed/room to run a Linux OS?

Yes [wikipedia.org]

Re:Security cameras. (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831293)

A bank is private property...you have the right to spy on your own property. This is about constant public surveillance, and paying for the privilege.

Maybe the stimulus can help (1)

JohnnyKrisma (593145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830651)

Perhaps they can put money in the stimulus to pay for removing them and then for re-installing them next time someone gets mugged.

YRO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26830655)

Your rights online? Seriously? This is about the removal of cameras in meatspace. I fail to see how this affects "my rights online".

Re:YRO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26830997)

I fail to see how this affects "my rights online".

You would if you went to http://cctv077.camb.mass.gov/ [mass.gov]

Re:YRO? (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831389)

I fail to see how this affects "my rights online".

That's because you fail to recognize the non-trivial connection between what happens online and offline. You make the assumption that the online interactions have a tenuous relationship to the real world, when in fact they are directly related. The erosion of our rights offline have direct connection to the erosion of our rights 'online' because there is no 'online'. Life is the same throughout, it just happens to be another channel for experiencing it.

When will you get it right? (2, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830679)

There is NO expectation of privacy when you are in public. Security cameras, when placed in common public areas are no problem. Heck, I can video tape you all I want on a street corner, as long as it is for my own private amusement.

Re:When will you get it right? (3, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830783)

Once maybe. If you do it systematically, it becomes stalking and/or grounds for a restraining order.

Re:When will you get it right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831273)

Only if you're taped specifically and/or if you are shown undue focus/attention during the taping.

Re:When will you get it right? (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831281)

Nope. I can record you every day. and in fact I do to some people, without legal issues.

There is a bus stop in front of my home, one of my security cameras cover that area and I record every person that get's on and off the bus. (motion recording is passe' record 24-7 and have event markers)

so wah! and yes I have been asked for video from the cops. I require them to supeona me for my own legal defense.

Re:When will you get it right? (1)

hedronist (233240) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831339)

I'm not sure why someone modded the parent Funny. It's not.

The problem with ubiquitous surveillance (video, credit card, GPS, cellphone, etc.) is that it can be used for things other than simply providing date/time/place evidence of a crime. Aggregating and cross-correlating this information creates a detailed picture of someone's life and habits.

Those who spout the simplistic 'if you haven't done anything wrong ...' not only miss the danger that ubiquitous, government-controlled surveillance represents to all of us, they demonstrate a disturbing lack of understanding of the right to privacy.

Re:When will you get it right? (5, Insightful)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830795)

I'm assuming you're a private citizen, so you most likely don't have the power or the resources to abuse this system in quite the same capacity that the government has the ability to. Government and is priorities constantly change.

Re:When will you get it right? (4, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830839)

Then I think the "right to privacy" route is the wrong track to take. Instead, any removal should be based on protections from abuse. Otherwise you begin to trample on "rights" in the other direction, ie. How long before it is an invasion to take pictures in public if others are captured in your image. It's all about a good balance.

Re:When will you get it right? (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830801)

That's not really the issue, and you've missed the point.

There is a wide gulf between having no expectation of privacy and accepting a surveillance culture.

+1 Insightful (1)

drgould (24404) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830949)

You said it more succinctly than I was going to.

Re:When will you get it right? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830813)

I'd like to think I have the right to pick my nose on an empty street corner without the picture making it online.

Re:When will you get it right? (1)

deraj123 (1225722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831029)

I'd like to think I have the right to pick my nose on an empty street corner without the picture making it online.

I'd like to think that you don't. However, I might be inclined to agree that you have the right to pick your nose on an empty street corner without the government taking a picture and it making it online.

Re:When will you get it right? (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830857)

There is NO expectation of privacy when you are in public. Security cameras, when placed in common public areas are no problem. Heck, I can video tape you all I want on a street corner, as long as it is for my own private amusement.

Yeah, if walk through your camera shot in a public place, that's one thing. But setting up a network of camera's to track everything I do, everywhere I go from the moment I step out my front door until I make it back again... that's a whole other ballgame.

Re:When will you get it right? (1)

Who Is The Drizzle (1470385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830957)

But setting up a network of camera's to track everything I do, everywhere I go from the moment I step out my front door until I make it back again... that's a whole other ballgame.

For us plebes, that would be called "stalking" and we'd be arrested.

Re:When will you get it right? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830891)

There may not be any expectation of privacy, but I'd rather not have my tax dollars go towards the city/state/country watch my every move.

Re:When will you get it right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831189)

...and as long as there is no audio. If you record audio along with video without consent, it's illegal.

Re:When will you get it right? (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831327)

I may not expect anything to be private if I do it in public, but I think I ought to be able to safely expect not to be carefully and actively monitored throughout public spaces. The kind of tech available now with facial recognition/tracking, tying into all kinds of other databases about seemingly every aspect of our lives means that a lot more information can be gotten by "public" means than ever before.

The change is in the ability to store, analyse and cross-reference so much more data... it's certainly beyond the capabilities of any other member of the public to find out as much about a person as state surveillance, despite theoretically having access to the same information, and you have to ask when it crosses the line from keeping an eye out for people, to keeping an eye on people - when exactly does it becomes spying, or stalking?

Great News (3, Insightful)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830683)

It good to hear that at least one city council has worked up enough back-bone to stand up to law enforcement on this issue. I hope the Chicago City Council comes to a similar conclusion and convenience Mayor Daley that this is a waste of money and shut our surveillance system down in lieu of hiring more officers, if necessary. Unfortunately Mayor Daley pushes public surveillance pretty hard.

Re:Great News (2, Informative)

Shihar (153932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831451)

There is more than one sane city council. Somerville, the next town over from Cambridge, just recently passed a similar law. I believe that the Somerville version halted the camera instillation, killed plans to put up more, and put them under review as to if they want to keep few that are already up.

May cost thousands? (5, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830705)

Remove? Um. Simply turn them off.

Re:May cost thousands? (2, Interesting)

Onaga (1369777) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831095)

The cameras were paid for by a grant. Maybe DHS at least wants the cameras back to install in... more understanding neighborhoods. DHS doesn't want to pay for uninstalling something that they wanted installed. DHS won't let them simply turn it off.

Re:May cost thousands? (5, Funny)

loteck (533317) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831097)

Having become so accustomed to hearing the term "millions", "billions" and, more recently "trillions" used to describe public spending, I had to look up this strange word "thousands". Apparently, it represents something akin to like .0001 percent of a trillion dollars. I had no idea such antiquated amounts of money were still spent in the public sector. I thought you couldn't even get a toilet seat for under a million...

Give WCBVTV some credit! (4, Funny)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830713)

They could have said "City's Move To Nix Security Cams May KILL YOUR CHILDREN!"

I mean, remember poor Caylee?

wankers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26830719)

Cambridge MA is full of a bunch of nerds and malnourished artist types.

Re:wankers (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830973)

Cambridge MA is full of a bunch of nerds and malnourished artist types.

And apparently, 9 Al-Qaeda operatives on city council.

"Move To Nix Security Cams May Cost Thousands" (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830771)

What's the price of our civil liberties these days?

Re:"Move To Nix Security Cams May Cost Thousands" (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831159)

What's the price of our civil liberties these days?

I'll give you some magic beans for them.

Re:"Move To Nix Security Cams May Cost Thousands" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831347)

Sweet!! Do you take PayPal?

Turn them off? (1)

securitytech (1267760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830877)

Just turn them off! Tax payer money to install them, tax payer money to remove them.

This will at least make it cheaper when the next mayor/council reverse this decision and want to put them back.

Regardless of the debate about privacy, as soon as a mayor or important rich person in the community is assaulted, in a crash, looses a kid, etc where the cameras would have helped, these will get reinstalled.

Might as well make it easier on the taxpayer!

title? (5, Funny)

quickOnTheUptake (1450889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830883)

Cambridge, Mass. Moves To Nix Security Cameras

Did anyone else think this meant they were installing security cameras running BSD?

Re:title? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26830947)

Sadly...yes.

Re:title? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831051)

Roger that -_-

Re:title? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831227)

Cambridge, Mass. Moves To Nix Security Cameras

Did anyone else think this meant they were installing security cameras running BSD?

Uh, I have. Sadly.

Re:title? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831441)

Hah, I was wondering what flavor, yeah.

Re:title? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831471)

Or as RMS would say: GNU/nix.

This is Cambridge we're talking about, after all.

Re:title? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831477)

Ha, I did. Thought I was worried that the integrated cameras wouldn't work until the damn distributor opened up their drivers.

could someone please explain to me (-1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830905)

exactly how street cameras threaten your liberty?

1. cell phone cameras are already ubiquitous, so a world without cameras is impossible. you're going to be recorded in public one way or another. make peace with that fact

2. if big bad government is taking the pictures, how can the footage represent to you anything but protection of your rights rather an abridgment of them? right: bceause the "gubmint" is in a conspiracy to frame you and has a dark secret desire to remove your rights

i feel like i have to be a paranoid schizophrenic to even begin to care about street cameras

Re:could someone please explain to me (5, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831005)

Because it would be easy for the government to cherry pick a few shots of you at certain times and use them as evidence to convince a stupid jury that you broke a law.

"If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - Cardinal Richelieu

Re:could someone please explain to me (1)

0x15e (961860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831145)

Though I personally am not particularly concerned about traffic cameras, I think I can address one of your points.

The difference between cell cameras and traffic cameras is that traffic camera video is all pooled together and can be used to track someone (by license plate) with relative ease (compared to cell cameras). The issue isn't that the pictures are being taken, it's that there are so many being controlled by one organization.

It's not so much the threat to liberty that's an issue but rather the fact that it can be potentially abused by someone with access to the data.

If I were to litter the street with cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831177)

To follow you wherever you go, I would be arrested for stalking.

Even if I suspected you might be a terrorist.

Call sign... (0, Offtopic)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830921)

In the United States, call signs [wikipedia.org] are three letters plus a prefix letter denoting east(W) or west(K) of the Mississippi river. The type of broadcast on that frequency is denoted after a dash. Therefore the station you are referencing is called WCBV-TV not WCBVTV

Re:Call sign... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831107)

The type of broadcast on that frequency is denoted after a dash. Therefore the station you are referencing is called WCBV-TV not WCBVTV

They nixed the dash a while back. It was bad for privacy as well.

Re:Call sign... (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831181)

So who was the bright spark that thought up the idea of representing "east" with a "W"?

Now what can we use for "west" - dammit "W" is taken!!

Re:Call sign... (2, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831393)

So who was the bright spark that thought up the idea of representing "east" with a "W"? Now what can we use for "west" - dammit "W" is taken!!

The International Telecommunication Union. [wikipedia.org]

Why it could cost thousands (3, Informative)

kcurtis (311610) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830931)

It isn't stated explicitly, but it appears that the city used part of the grant already to install the first few cameras.

It isn't that the physical removal will cost money, but that they may have to reimburse the feds for the grant money now that they have opted out of the program.

Also, this is not certain -- which is why it "may" cost thousands.

Move to nix security cameras? (1)

Iberian (533067) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831023)

Thought they were moving from windows security cameras to *nix security cameras. Looks like just plain nixing cameras altogether is the best move. Further proof that nix is better than Windows.

Now I know (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831045)

a good place to commit crimes in public. Thanks, slashdot!

This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831111)

Grandstanding reaches new heights!
News at 11

Evacuation Cam (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831113)

If you dig around long enough, they argue that the real purpose of the cameras is to "help in the case of a city evacuation". The images from the cams suck [wickedlocal.com] though. I'd expect better if they wanted to secretly spy on us. Perhaps the only things these will catch is the next group who tries to install LightBrite guerrilla advertising in the Porter Square.

Honestly, I'm not too worried if the Department of Homeland Security catches me biking to work in Cambridge. What I don't like is the traffic cameras that send you tickets when you run red lights. Those suck.

Re:Evacuation Cam (1)

zindorsky (710179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831257)

The images from the cams suck though. I'd expect better if they wanted to secretly spy on us.

Don't you watch TV or movies? All they have to do is load the pictures into their computers and say "enhance". That pretty much gives them infinite resolution.

Also their computers have some pretty sweet GUIs

Re:Evacuation Cam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831329)

Yeah, those red light cameras suck. How about you stop blowing red lights and trying to kill people?

Re:Evacuation Cam (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831413)

You think Zombies give a fuck about your cameras?

Call me when DHS puts these [wikipedia.org] in your streets.

Motive? (4, Interesting)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831259)

Just a thought, and maybe my tin-foil hat is too snug, but could the local govt find themselves removing these cams because the _police_ didn't like the notion that _they_ might be filmed in public doing things they shouldn't do, like, I dunno, beating protesters? I'm not saying that's happened, but where's the outrage from the police and the protestations that they need these cameras to "protect teh childrenz"?

*nix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831275)

I read nix and thought, "Oh there installing cameras that run linux..."

All security cameras? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831387)

Now it might be interesting if by some government mandate that all security cameras (homes, businesses, ATMs, etc.) were banned in Cambridge. As any recordings made by any of these cameras can be subject to subpoena, does it really matter if the city itself is sprinkling a few more around?

So unless they want to mandate that all of these cameras have to be removed, it really doesn't mean all that much. In a busy downtown area you are likely to be visible in three or four cameras at the same time from different businesses. Add a street-facing ATM machine or two and we have quite a few cameras. All with recordings able to be seized by law enforcement at any time.

Do I believe the city can successfully pass an ordinance against privately operated cameras? No, I don't think they have a chance of getting that to stick. The material is too important for insurance purposes already.

So what does this really matter? Probably makes less than a 1% difference.

Promoting uncivility? (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831403)

Forgive me if this is unpopular, but exactly _how_ are civil liberties eroded by cameras in public places? One ought to behave there, and blinding cameras would seem to only profit the rowdy and uncivil.

Sure, the tapes should have a very short retention period (month, year max) to avoid muckraking and other character assasination. Accessing by individual rather than event,place&time is clearly stalking and ought to be punished as such. Unfortunately, oversight of police is generally deficient. But correct this problem, not deprive them of tools.

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