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Crowdsourcing Big Brother In Lancaster, PA

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the nerd-campers-running-amok-at-the-market dept.

Privacy 440

sehlat writes "From the Los Angeles Times comes word that in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 165 public surveillance cameras are being set up to be monitored by a 'non profit coalition' of volunteers. The usual suspects, including 'the innocent have nothing to fear' are being trotted out to justify this, and the following quote at the end of the article deserves mention: 'But Jack Bauer, owner of the city's largest beer and soft drink distributor, calls the network "a great thing." His store hasn't been robbed, he said, since four cameras went up nearby. "There's nothing wrong with instilling fear," he said.'"

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Ahhh, Slashdot (-1, Troll)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426543)

We love the nanny state when it protects us from ourselves, but we don't want them watching.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (3, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426593)

Who is this "we" you talk about?

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426619)

We love the nanny state when it protects us from ourselves, but we don't want them watching.

I don't know about the rest of Slashdot (I haven't really seen that rhetoric but if you do, I won't argue) but I am certainly against all meddling. I hate the fact that the state that I live in has seat belt laws now, Blue Laws, and the fact that some intersections still have cameras on the street lights (red light cameras were declared unconstitutional in Minneapolis).

If a private business wants to have cameras which only view their own private/personal property, that's fine. As soon as it's opened up to a group outside of that private business or they are viewing public property then it's not acceptable. No, I don't believe in the whole "if you can be seen by a private citizen then it's the same thing." Once that citizen can play back an exact copy of the event in his/her head at a later time without any chance of fault, then I'll consider it the same damn thing.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (0, Troll)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426853)

You're against seat belt laws? I can probably spew a little bit of 'anti seat belt rhetoric' -

"I should have the right to risk my own life, it doesn't affect anyone else"

"I would wear a seat belt anyway, so why have a law"

Aside from protecting the driver from himself...
If I hit you with my car, and you fly out of your windshield and splatter somewhere- I'll feel pretty bad. Maybe i'll go into therapy for it. If it was my fault, I'd probably feel worse. I really don't need that on my conscience...
I don't want to sound all 'think of the children' but these laws also motivate ignorant/stupid parents to force their children to 'buckle up' for safety (or fear of getting another ticket). I am glad my parents instilled in me the habit of buckling up...

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (4, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426973)

You're against seat belt laws? I can probably spew a little bit of 'anti seat belt rhetoric' -

Rhetoric aside, you should have a seat belt cutter in your car in case the seat belt suddenly becomes an irremovable hazard. In any case the seat belt may help, it may also become life threatening.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (0, Flamebait)

odourpreventer (898853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427161)

> you should have a seat belt cutter in your car in case the seat belt suddenly becomes an irremovable hazard

Is this another reason to not buy American?

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (2, Insightful)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426987)

You're against seat belt laws? I can probably spew a little bit of 'anti seat belt rhetoric' -

"I should have the right to risk my own life, it doesn't affect anyone else"

"I would wear a seat belt anyway, so why have a law"

Aside from protecting the driver from himself...

If I hit you with my car, and you fly out of your windshield and splatter somewhere- I'll feel pretty bad. Maybe i'll go into therapy for it. If it was my fault, I'd probably feel worse. I really don't need that on my conscience...

I don't want to sound all 'think of the children' but these laws also motivate ignorant/stupid parents to force their children to 'buckle up' for safety (or fear of getting another ticket). I am glad my parents instilled in me the habit of buckling up...

Except for the fact that people continue to not wear seatbelts, no matter what the law says. Laws don't make people do something. If people are dumb enough to drive without a seat belt, then why should the rest of society care? Yeah you might need therapy if you hit someone without a seat belt and they splatter all over the road, but you're going to feel bad anyway even if you hit someone and it wasn't even your fault.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (1)

odourpreventer (898853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427233)

> If people are dumb enough to drive without a seat belt, then why should the rest of society care?

You can probably blame insurance companies for this one. Or whoever has to clean up after an accident.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (2, Interesting)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427251)

Except for the fact that people continue to not wear seatbelts, no matter what the law says. Laws don't make people do something. If people are dumb enough to drive without a seat belt, then why should the rest of society care? Yeah you might need therapy if you hit someone without a seat belt and they splatter all over the road, but you're going to feel bad anyway even if you hit someone and it wasn't even your fault.

Why should I care ? Because I'll have to pay increased insurance rates (auto AND health) because these people will be severely injured and need years of therapy.

It isn't right that I, by wearing my seatbelt minimized my injuries, am forced to pay for someone who 'couldn't be bothered' to obey the law.

If the laws were such that if you are injured because you didn't wear your seatbelt, your insurance (and the other person's insurance) don't have to pay anything, I'd be FINE with that.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (3, Insightful)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427263)

I care because if you become incapacitated in a collision because you were not wearing your seat belt, there is a period of time where you cannot have control over your car (because you're no longer in it) and you put the lives of anyone else around you at a greater risk. Not to mention that a 150-200 lb fleshy projectile is dangerous.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427009)

I wear my seat belt and require them to be used by others when I drive. I'm not against that but I am against the police having the authority to pull someone over for the offense (it hasn't come to that in MN yet but it will eventually). I can't always tell when my wife has her belt on in the car when I'm sitting next to her (it blends in with the color of clothing she wears most frequently), how the fuck is the cop going to do so from afar?

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427097)

I can probably spew a little bit of 'anti seat belt rhetoric' -

"I should have the right to risk my own life, it doesn't affect anyone else" ..
If I hit you with my car, and you fly out of your windshield and splatter somewhere- I'll feel pretty bad. Maybe i'll go into therapy for it. If it was my fault, I'd probably feel worse. I really don't need that on my conscience...

Protecting you from something unpleasant, possibly unpleasant enough to go into therapy, is not a good reason for a law. Hate to sound callous, but those are your issues for you to deal with.

 

I don't want to sound all 'think of the children' but these laws also motivate ignorant/stupid parents to force their children to 'buckle up' for safety (or fear of getting another ticket).

I don't want to sound like I'm saying "You sound like you're saying that because you are" but that would be hypocritical. Overreaching laws cannot make for responsible parenting.

Anyway you missed the most important reason for getting rid of seatbelt laws: there's no reason TO do it. Not wearing a seatbelt is a self-autonomous safety issue. You're not going to kill someone else doing it. We don't (shouldn't rather) pass laws to protect you from yourself. You should be free to harm yourself as much as you want.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (0, Troll)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426995)

Why would anyone be against red light cameras?
All you have to do is not drive like a jackass and you have nothing to worry about.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (5, Insightful)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427239)

corruption.

shortening the length of the yellow light leads to more tickets and increased revenues for the camera company and for the locality.

if the goal is to reduce the number of accidents caused by people driving through red lights, then installing the cameras and lengthening the yellow would be the optimal solution.

however, the stories I've read/heard on the subject all seem to involve these cameras being installed and the yellow duration being shortened. And the camera's end up generating a good amount of money, but the number of accidents stays about the same.

You've bought the rhetoric. (5, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427241)

Because tickets are sent to the wrong people?

Because tickets are assessed to the owner (not the driver) of the car?

Because you have no accuser to confront in court?

Because rear-end collisions increase at intersections with red-light cameras?

Because yellow lights may be shorter in duration to increase revenue?

Because government and for-profit private companies collude and share the income from what is normally law enforcement (government-only) fines?

Re:You've bought the rhetoric. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28427341)

Because law enforcement should be done by people, not by machines?

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (2, Insightful)

DdJ (10790) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427235)

No, I don't believe in the whole "if you can be seen by a private citizen then it's the same thing." Once that citizen can play back an exact copy of the event in his/her head at a later time without any chance of fault, then I'll consider it the same damn thing.

Let me see if I've got this right.

You have a problem with this, as opposed to a private citizen witness, because you want to preserve the right to accuse a private citizen witness who is telling the truth of lying? You want to preserve the option of lying about someone else who's telling the truth?

If I'm getting you correctly, I think I understand your point of view, but do not personally respect it.

About those cameras... (2, Interesting)

autocracy (192714) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427333)

Many areas use cameras sitting on top of the red lights to activate them. They don't record, they simply detect motion. Those of us who ride motorcycles are rather appreciative of that as induction loop sensors (those cuts you sometimes see in the road at intersections) usually don't work for us.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (2, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426637)

We love the nanny state when it protects us from ourselves, but we don't want them watching.

Hmm, don't find that I need protection from myself...

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426819)

I hate it when Slashdot calls itself out for X crime against humanity; for christsake, it's like when the media investigates itself for corruption. If you ask me, 'ol TC is baiting.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426821)

We love the nanny state when it protects us from ourselves, but we don't want them watching.

No, actually, I'm pretty sure I don't love the nanny state no matter what it does.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426939)

I live in the USA, and I make it a point to make lude and inappropriate gestures at gawkers. If people are looking at me "wrong" I will go out of my way to let them know it. That's what any "good" American would do.

Now, this whole "everyone is a government spy so don't you dare even FART" movement that has spread from Europe to here I find despicable. We do not love the nanny state. In fact, I have no problem saying that the US Federal Gov't would most likely face a force it hasn't seen since the American Civil War if something like this spreads too far.

People who state their insane socialist ideals while smirkishly grinning at the non-socialists will eventually rue the day.

To the Minnesotan below that posted about our asinine seat belt and red light laws, or to anyone else who is sick of the Staties/Feds trying to control their lives:
Would it be illegal to setup an actual non-profit organization and install wireless cameras pointed at the Staties and Feds? You know, I can't compete with the Air Force or NASA in terms of technological sophistication... but a trip to even Best Buy with a small budget would get me a long way to setting up an audio/video monitoring system to watch Big Brother.

Somehow I don't think Big Brother would like see me looking back at him in his spyglass.

Re:Ahhh, Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28427105)

In Soviet Russia, Camera watches you?

How Is This Crowdsourcing? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426557)

Crowdsourcing Big Brother in Lancaster, PA

Uh, I read the article and it sounds like 10 self-appointed people running the show with 12 volunteers. How in the hell is that crowdsourcing?

Don't even get me started on a who will watch the watchmen rant. Such a monitoring activity operating at all upsets me ... one operating outside my elected official's jurisdiction would be a true horror show.

Re:How Is This Crowdsourcing? (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426635)

Hm, sounds a lot like Perverted Justice [wikipedia.org] , in the sense of a group of non-law enforcement people who band together. Sort of a form of group vigilantism.

Crowd-sourcing would be putting up live feeds to the web and letting anyone watch who wants to.

Group Vigilanteism? (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426797)

In the old days, you could get tarred and feathered for that!

Re:How Is This Crowdsourcing? (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426999)

Sort of a form of group vigilantism.

It's not vigilantism if it is state sponsored.

Re:How Is This Crowdsourcing? (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427247)

reminds me of the neighborhood watch allowance from Hot Fuzz.

i wonder if Lancaster is going for village of the year...

'the innocent have nothing to fear' (4, Insightful)

JesterUSCG (1371271) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426563)

'the innocent have nothing to fear'.... What the hell is that crap? When did that become the rally flag for the loss of freedoms? Next they will tell us that if they don't get these cameras, the terrorist win.... Oh wait!

Re:'the innocent have nothing to fear' (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427011)

There are no innocents; everyone is guilty of something.

Whoda Thunk It (4, Funny)

2names (531755) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426565)

"Jack Bauer Likes Surveillance Cameras." Well, duh.

Re:Whoda Thunk It (1)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427103)

"Jack Bauer Likes Surveillance Cameras." Well, duh.

Yeah, I don't think the cameras have anything to do with him not being robbed. The criminals just found out the place was run by Jack Bauer and they all collectively pissed their pants and ran away screaming.

Really, Jack Bauer? (3, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426579)

"'But Jack Bauer, owner of the city's largest beer and soft drink distributor, calls the network "a great thing." His store hasn't been robbed, he said, since four cameras went up nearby. "There's nothing wrong with instilling fear," he said.'""

Sheize: Ugly things are happening across the earth.

Re:Really, Jack Bauer? (3, Funny)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426601)

I bet his store is open 24-hours-a-day.

Re:Really, Jack Bauer? (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427229)

Most boring season of 24 EVER.

4 A.M. to 5 A.M.

4:01 Jack walks around the store 3 times, idly touching various merchandise along the way.
4:02 Homeless man wanders in and goes into the bathroom
4:07 Teenager with long hair reeking of patchouli and weed buys entire stock of Twinkies and 3 bags of Cheetos
4:25 Jack idly flips through latest issue of Penthouse
4:28 Jack kicks homeless man out of the bathroom, sprays Lysol and reminds himself to get the new kid to clean up that mess when he gets in.
4:32 Jack dozes off behind the register
4:43 Door chime wakes Jack, man in dirty flannel and backwards baseball cap buys a pack of Marlboro Lights.
4:52 Jack holds lottery tickets up to light looking for a winner
4:59 Jack dozes off again.


Riveting stuff!

Re:Really, Jack Bauer? (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426681)

"Jack Bauer then turned around and resumed torture on a suspected terrorist by electrocuting him with wires from a broken lamp."

Re:Really, Jack Bauer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28427201)

Death caused by an electric shock is referred to as electrocution [wikipedia.org]

Yeah, pretty sure that's the sweet release that follows the torture

Following the UK's lead... (2, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426583)

I'm sure it's not hard to find volunteers for this sort of thing. Anyone who is nosy/power-seeking/voyeuristic would enjoy watching these cams without pay.

How much more freedom do we have to lose before we do something about it?

Re:Following the UK's lead... (2, Informative)

2names (531755) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426663)

"How much more freedom do we have to lose before we do something about it?"

As long as people have enough to eat and are sufficiently entertained they will willingly relinquish freedom. Fast food restaurants and television are killing this country.

Ends and means (3, Funny)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426597)

'But Jack Bauer, owner of the city's largest beer and soft drink distributor, calls the network "a great thing." His store hasn't been robbed, he said, since four cameras went up nearby. "There's nothing wrong with instilling fear," he said.'"

The ends don't always justify the means, Jack. How many people have to be tortured to death during an interrogation before you realise that.

Re:Ends and means (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426613)

All that is necessary to get the ratings, will be done!

Its one of the many downsides of the mediocratic mindset so many, right and left, are so keen on.

Re:Ends and means (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426807)

Also, if this is anything like "24" there will be about 3 moles inside this 10 person organization. Apparently one prerequisite for working at CTU is that you don't go through any sort of background check.

Neighborhood watch? (2, Insightful)

snarfies (115214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426605)

So, what's the difference between this and a neighborhood watch? No, seriously, I'm asking.

Re:Neighborhood watch? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28426811)

Cameras.

Re:Neighborhood watch? (2, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427131)

Neighborhood Watch is actually the neighborhood. Cameras being recorded by who knows, for who knows...

Re:Neighborhood watch? (2, Insightful)

wurp (51446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427155)

The fact that you can't see who, if anyone, is watching. You glance back & forth, then pick your nose, and you never know 10 people were watching & recording.

That said, this stuff is inevitable. Cameras and high speed networking become ubiquitous and cheap, and privacy anywhere that can be seen by a public space is gone.

Get used to it or it'll drive you nuts.

instilling responsibility (1)

eagee (1308589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426615)

There's a lot wrong with instilling fear, when you could be instilling responsibility. It all depends on how these are used - if you ask me it's too easy to abuse.

Queue snide remarks below.

Instilling fear? (1)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426623)

Are you kidding? How about hope; love; tolerance - the greatest attribute of any civilization; freedom.

Re:Instilling fear? (2, Insightful)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426747)

Greatest attribute by what measure? I'd say most people judge a civilizations merit by how powerful and enduring it is, not how free the citizens are.

Re:Instilling fear? (4, Insightful)

imgod2u (812837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427035)

Historically, the two have had high correlation. See Persians, Romans, British, American, etc.

While they weren't perfectly free nations, they each had quite progressive legal systems that provided relatively good degrees of equality and freedom to its citizens compared to other major powers of the world at the time.

No different (1)

suman28 (558822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426627)

How is this different from being watched inside the store anyhow? We are always being watched no matter where we are and sometimes we don't even know it. Sooner than later, this will become the new norm, where scaremongers will run the state/country/world in the name of protection and the few people that object will be dealt with in the manner appropriate to the "law" of the land. We can fight it, and hopefully will keep it away for a couple of years.

Re:No different (4, Insightful)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426725)

How does being watched in public spaces restrict your freedom?

Re:No different (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28427067)

How does being watched in public spaces restrict your freedom?

Because you are not free to do things that are not illegal, but may be frowned upon by your community.

Meeting your mistress. Attending AA. Organizing a protest rally. Attending a meeting of an unpopular political group. Going to a fertility clinic. Going to an abortion clinic. Not resting on the sabbath. Going to the wrong church. Going on a date with a woman of a different race. Going to a gay bar. Going to a strip club. Purchasing alcohol. Looking at a child or married woman for too long or in the wrong way. Checking the wrong book out of the library. Stopping to offer condolences to the last victim of wholesale surveillance.

See "chilling effect."

Re:No different (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427249)

the biggest loss of freedom with these cameras comes from your pocket. The camers and associated infrastructure costs a lot of money.

The benefits gained from these cameras is essentially minimal or non-existent. Cameras do not prevent crime nor do they do a good job at catching people after the act. London's crime rate hasn't gone down with the many cameras they have.

It is a complete waste of the publics money. If Jack Bauer is so worried about his private property then he should pay for his own cameras and security system.

Dangerous Amish Gangs? (2, Funny)

El Torico (732160) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426641)

You've got to keep an eye on those Amish. You don't want all your quilts and "As Seen on TV" fireplaces to go missing now, do you?

Re:Dangerous Amish Gangs? (1)

dburkland (1526971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426817)

Haha those fireplaces are made with the greatest quality...One thing that strikes me everytime I watch those stupid commercials is the fact that Amish don't believe in anything electrical (or newage) yet they help construct these pieces of crap haha

Re:Dangerous Amish Gangs? (1)

bcolflesh (710514) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427087)

The innards are Chinese - the wooden mantles are made at a couple different Amish and /or Mennonite places (in Ohio, not PA, I believe) - different Amish sects have varying views on the uses of technology - some are especially lenient with tool use.

Re:Dangerous Amish Gangs? (1)

qwertphobia (825473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427091)

Yeah those are the Ohio Amish. You have to be careful these days!

Transparency (5, Interesting)

StarEmperor (209983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426659)

Why is the surveillance done only by "a private nonprofit group?" In a truly transparent society [wikipedia.org] such an array of cameras would be accessible by anyone, not just a select few.

Re:Transparency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28426741)

If you're not with the private nonprofit group, then you're against it.

Re:Transparency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28426903)

You don't want any old pervert being able to watch this stuff. Much better a self-selecting coalition of perverts.

Re:Transparency (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28426985)

Why is the surveillance done only by "a private nonprofit group?" In a truly transparent society [wikipedia.org] such an array of cameras would be accessible by anyone, not just a select few.

This has been the point I always bring up at city meetings when they talk of cameras. I don't particularly like the idea of cameras everywhere, or I'd move to Britian, but it wouldn't bother me nearly as much if the data was freely available to everyone, all the time, anonymously.

I brought that up at a recent council meeting, and the response was "What? We can't just have normal people watching the general public!!". I responded with the usual argument- If the people already watching the cameras aren't up to no good, then they shouldn't mind if we watch them too.. especially since they are cameras viewing public activities in public places. The usual response? Laughter, or simply being ignored.

The fact of the matter, is that these cameras are not being put in for anyone's safety, they are being put in so that those in power can have yet another source of information (and thus, control) over the public... but they are not willing to share this information.

No need to watch the watchers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28427253)

...when you can just go smash 168 expensive security cameras. Maybe even send some volts down the wires to fry the gear on the other end. Maybe just destroy and vandalize the hell out of the private businesses who support this and allow the cameras on their property.

Money beats Moralizing every day and twice on Sunday. Make snooping expensive for the snoopers.

on local cable (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426679)

just put the camera feeds on local cable TV so that everyone can contribute..

Re:on local cable (1)

JesterUSCG (1371271) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426713)

Yeah, I'd watch that.

Re:on local cable (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426835)

Hell yeah. I would watch that. Bound to be more entertaining than "American Idol."

big effing deal (3, Insightful)

cornercuttin (1199799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426687)

it's a public place where anyone can see what is going on at any point in time. there is no infringement of privacy if this is a public area, and with cameras being visible, there is no deception in the intent.

it's great, because parents can let their kids go to the park without the need to be supervised (assuming the kids live in a nearby neighborhood). i often rode my bike down the street to a neighborhood park when i was a kid, and i'm sure my parents would have appreciated the cameras at the time.

they ought to make the feeds publicly available, so parents could watch what is going on, as well as allow for residents to watch parades, public gatherings and other things from home.

people who get all pissy about this stuff make no sense to me.

Re:big effing deal (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426909)

it's a public place where anyone can see what is going on at any point in time. there is no infringement of privacy if this is a public area, and with cameras being visible, there is no deception in the intent.

Actually, I have to agree, but I also think that the camera feeds should be made public. Absolutely public. Publish them on the Web, local cable, anywhere people can get to them. The more people watching, the better.

In keeping with diversity and equal opportunity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28426691)

...they should hire Amish sketch artists to monitor those of Pennsylvania Dutch persuasion.

What's up with Amish people and Cameras... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426733)

If you ride through Lancaster, you are far more likely to run into a horse and buggy than you are a security camera.

Re:What's up with Amish people and Cameras... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426911)

Lancaster County maybe, not Lancaster CITY, which is where the cameras are being installed. I'm from Lancaster, and while I am opposed to the slippery slope of Big Brother type constant surveillance, it may be worth pointing out the unsolved murders from last year. There is apparently a serial killer still on the loose, so some people are concerned enough for the security of themselves and their loved ones that they will put up with people watching them in a public space (GASP, SHOCK!).

Interesting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28426777)

So no free as in freedom OR free as in beer?

Lived here for years... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28426795)

So strange to see my hometown on the front page of Slashdot...

The Los Angeles Times article states:

"Perhaps most surprising, the near-saturation surveillance of a community that saw four murders last year has sparked little public debate about whether the benefits for law enforcement outweigh the loss of privacy."

I've lived in Lancaster for years and haven't heard a thing about this. I just searched our local newspaper with no results.

There's no public debate because as far as I know this is the first time it's even been mentioned. I saw the cameras go up, now I know the story behind them... thanks to a random mention on a tech news site linking an article from a newspaper on the other side of the country.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28426813)

welcome our new community based, volunteer overlords.

I LIVE in Lancaster and I didn't know! (5, Informative)

Kaitiff (167826) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426815)

I LIVE in Lancaster, and I had no idea! They said 'the people didn't object' hell I didn't even KNOW! This is such a horribly bad idea... I thought Britain was Orwellian with their surveillance camera system, but to have put this in place and for most ppl to not even KNOW about it.. that by definition is a police state! Outsourcing it to some agency is monumentally wrong. I think I need a pocket jammer system just to go to the public library...

Re:I LIVE in Lancaster and I didn't know! (1)

qwertphobia (825473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427173)

You missed it then... this project has been in the works for years, with newspaper articles and news spots every so often.

A town gone "funny' (5, Insightful)

sherpajohn (113531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426847)

A chilling quote:

"Years ago, there's no way we could do this," said Keith Sadler, Lancaster's police chief. "It brings to mind Big Brother, George Orwell and '1984.' It's just funny how Americans have softened on these issues."

I am not sure "funny" is the term I would use to describe the change.

But then again, I for one welcome our new...actually I don't, screw them and the fear they rode in on!

Re:A town gone "funny' (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427051)

Please explain why it's such a problem to be watched in public spaces. You do realize you can be watched by anyone even when there's NOT a camera, right? This isn't about phone tapping, or going through your records, or peering into your windows. You're in public!

Re:A town gone "funny' (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28427289)

But when there's not a camera, you can look around and get an idea about who's watching and when, and you can be pretty sure about whether they're recording it or not.

It's the difference between your creepy stalker parking down the street and watching you through binoculars, which someone is likely to notice, or your creepy stalker covertly watching you from a nondescript building on the other side of town without any oversight.

From TFA: "Morales said he tries to weed out voyeurs and anyone who might use the tapes for blackmail or other illegal activity." Note that word "tries." Clearly nobody's doing any sort of serious vetting of these people.

Misleading Headline/Summary (0)

JonBuck (112195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426849)

When I first saw this I thought: "Great! A bunch of people are getting together to put the kibosh on this insane Big Brother scheme."

How wrong I was.

Instead we have a group of volunteers with dubious accountability and no public access to the video feeds.

Re:Misleading Headline/Summary (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427043)

When I first saw this I thought: "Great! A bunch of people are getting together to put the kibosh on this insane Big Brother scheme."

How wrong I was.

Instead we have a group of volunteers with dubious accountability and no public access to the video feeds.

I thought exactly the same thing, the wording was weird at first read.

Is it a crime? (2, Insightful)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426871)

If no one is around to see me running around naked, is it a crime? Because the camera is there watching, it could be. What if I pee on a bush? If no one is looking it wouldn't be a crime, but with camera's watching everywhere... And what about the children? What about those toddlers running around or getting their diapers changed in public, would those now be child porn? If it is child porn, who is responsible?

Living in an open society with 0 privacy would be ok IF the only things the camera's would be used for were theft and assault. But since our society seems to think it has the right to decide what is morally ok and put people in jail for things like having sex and doing drugs, it is not and never will be ok. When society gets to the point where I can shoot crack on the courthouse steps while having sex on the steps screaming racially degrading remarks and preaching the truths of the noodle god and nobody care, then and only then will camera's watching our every move be a good idea. Until then some prude with their panties in the wad is going arrest innocent people for child abuse, lewd conduct, or a number of other crimes that really aren't crimes just moral impositions on society.

Nobody expects . . . "The Lancaster Inquisition!" (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426895)

"There's nothing wrong with instilling fear," he said.'"

"Fear . . . and surprise!"

Re:Nobody expects . . . "The Lancaster Inquisition (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427039)

... are your three main weapons?

Amish are people too.... (1)

reidiq (1434945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426917)

We need cameras in Lancaster. (I live here) Amish people are criminals too. Some Amish deal drugs. Drunk drive and stuff.

Re:Amish are people too.... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426991)

I live here too. The Amish are hardly the biggest threat in Lancaster. They're hard-working pacifists. And even if they are a threat, putting up cameras downtown isn't really going to give up information on the Amish. Plus, I personally have never heard of Amish drunk driving. I mean, as long as the horse doesn't drink, how bad could it be? Does the law even cover being drunk the tail?

Re:Amish are people too.... (1)

reidiq (1434945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427129)

I forgot to put a /sarcasm at the end of my post.

Re:Amish are people too.... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427301)

Ah. Should've known, I guess. Although sometimes I think people's wacky comments are sarcastic, when they're actually heartfelt.

Oblig. Ben Franklin quote (0, Redundant)

carambola5 (456983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426935)

"Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither"
-Benjamin Franklin

Re:Oblig. Ben Franklin quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28427015)

Fuck that. Bullshit quote, always comes up in such topics. It doesn't help either sides.

Re:Oblig. Ben Franklin quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28427193)

"Fuck that. Bullshit quote, always comes up in such topics. It doesn't help either sides."

Agreed. It ends the debate altogether.

"There's nothing wrong with instilling fear" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28426937)

And thus, the free republic was ended soon after.

could be good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28426965)

I think massive anonymous recording might actually be good thing. We're already in public and people are looking at us and potentially filming us anyway. Google street view seems like a good thing. Consider when a crime actually happens--say a group of renegade cops clubbing some innocent mentally ill person for jollies or a person shot or killed in a robbery. That video could be useful in court. Some years ago I picked up some trash off a sidewalk and tossed it in the nearest dumpster--it was behind an open gate on the private property of SCE. A guard spoke on a speaker and said "Thank You". Almost soiled myself...that was 1996...

CTU Lancaster (1)

C4st13v4n14 (1001121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426971)

Just the name Jack Bauer instils fear in broke Pennsylvanian caffeine junkies looking for their next fix.

--------------------
I spell differently.

Privacy, Yes. Anonymity, NO. (2, Insightful)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | more than 5 years ago | (#28426983)

That seems to be the situation we are faced with. You visit the liquor store three times in one week and the cams note it. But who cares? If you didn't do anything bad. But wait until some lawyer obtains the camera footage to destroy your reputation in court over a totally unrelated matter. You'll think differently then. This whole thing is creepy. In the UK you can't wear a hat or hoody in a pub because the mandatory spy cams can't make out your face and the watchers don't like this. Very creepy.

I'm all for this if... (2, Interesting)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427027)

I all for public surveillance only if we, the private citizen also get to have cameras on those who are doing the surveillance. Only then is it completely fair. Public surveillance is inevitable, just like we see in the UK...we might as well get used to it and make sure that the playing field is equal, that the government doesn't have a leg up over its citizens.

"There's nothing wrong with instilling fear" (1)

rwalker429 (1452827) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427069)

But....Jack Bauer...my other fictional moral compass says that "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." I'm so confused!

This isn't so bad (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427159)

The problem is not monitoring itself, it is selective monitoring. If these cameras make the video available over the 'net for anyone to see and record, than it cannot be used to persecute some people while protecting others. I also firmly believe that whenever a politician advocates the installation of monitoring cameras, the first camera installed should be aimed at their bedroom window and the video made freely available to everyone. If they don't have a problem with being treated that way themselves, then nobody else should either.

If it really works, people hate it. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427223)

The story of Adam's Block [justin.tv] is instructive. Someone set up two good high-resolution cameras looking out at a high-crime area in San Francisco's Tenderloin, and put them on the Web. Viewers could comment in real time, and log interesting events for later interest.

The drug dealers were angry. There were death threats. The camera owner finally had to take the cameras down and move. [sfgate.com]

Smile, You're on Amish Camera! (1)

bcolflesh (710514) | more than 5 years ago | (#28427227)

I work in Lancaster (off New Holland Ave) - I believe one of the cameras is mounted on my building - the lot it overlooks has random car window smash & grabs every couple months, due to the close proximity of a high school. There has been no discussion about the monitoring system at all as far as I can tell.

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