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NYPD Anti-Terrorism Cameras Used For Much More

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the donut-location-devices dept.

Privacy 400

An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from the NY Times: "The Police Department's growing web of license-plate-reading cameras has been transforming investigative work. Though the imaging technology was conceived primarily as a counterterrorism tool, the cameras' presence — all those sets of watchful eyes that never seem to blink — has aided in all sorts of traditional criminal investigations. ... 'We knew going into it that they would have other obvious benefits,' Mr. Browne said about the use of the readers in the initiative. 'Obviously, conventional crime is far more common than terrorism, so it is not surprising that they would have benefits, more frequently, in conventional crime fighting than in terrorism.'"

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really?! (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35783690)

Also every piece of information any corporation or state has or can collect on you will end up being used for more than you expected.

If you don't like it, stop developing the tech. Because if it exists, it will be used against you.

Re:really?! (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#35783976)

"If a link is found, a small alarm sounds, Mr. Browne said."

I enjoy Mr. Browne's rhetorical use of a diminutive conditional adjective. A "small alarm" really isn't such an obstacle to the path of civil liberty? No?

The whole matter is hardly one over which to raise a concern. In fact, I'm surprised that the topic is newsworthy - really. Why such subtle psyops in the pages of the New York Times?

Re:really?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784068)

Like many a slashdotter keeps claiming, "It's not the size that matters" - and in this case, it's appropriate.

Re:really?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784078)

Since when do you have a right to privacy of your license plate number while driving down a public street?

Re:really?! (4, Insightful)

Cwix (1671282) | about 3 years ago | (#35784224)

Since when does the government have a right to monitor the movements of an entire city's population when 99% have probably done nothing wrong.

Also does this just check a database at one time or does it log it saying license ABC 123 went by bridge a at 8:05 am and passed office B at 8:15 am, etc.

Re:really?! (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#35784352)

I think that not only is this the real central issue, but the one that has been most often overlooked.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

"That it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer, is a Maxim that has been long and generally approved." -- Benjamin Franklin

Re:raise a concern (4, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 3 years ago | (#35784122)

Dang Internets and the lack of voice nuance...
I can't tell if you're doing satire or if you believe your last line.

Meanwhile, this is newsworthy because we've seen part 1 of this charade for a decade now ... "We need a Billion Dollars to fight one Afghani guy and his ten friends!"

This time they're actually admitting "Hey look, our billion dollar toys are fun! And so is power."

Re:really?! (2)

lxs (131946) | about 3 years ago | (#35784048)

On the contrary. The tech is here. All you can do is develop counter tech. Make sure they can't trace you, like that guy in Gattaca.

Re:really?! (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#35784126)

When I got back home I found a message on the door
Sweet Regina's gone to China crosslegged on the floor
Of a burning jet that's smoothly flying:
Burning airlines give you so much more.

How does she intend to live when she's in far Cathay?
I somehow can't imagine her just planting rice all day.
Maybe she will do a bit of spying
With microcameras hidden in her hair.

I guess Regina's on the plane, a Newsweek on her knees
While miles below her the curlews call from strangely stunted trees.
The painted sage sits just as though he's flying;
Regina's jet disturbs his wispy beard.

When you reach Kyoto send a postcard if you can,
And please convey my fond regards to Chih-Hao's girl Yu-Lan.
I heard a rumour they were getting married
But someone left the papers in Japan.

Driving patterns (2, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | about 3 years ago | (#35783692)

Yet the strategy for the use of the license plate readers has raised questions about whether they represent a system for tracking driving patterns, said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. She said it was hard to tell whether interest in “effective and efficient law enforcement” was being balanced with the “values of privacy and freedom.”

It's hard to argue against the impact on crime that the cameras have, but it would be naive to assume they're not being used to gauge general driving patterns. Of course they are. No government organization would turn its back on such a valuable storehouse of data.

Re:Driving patterns (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 3 years ago | (#35783738)

It's hard to argue against the impact on crime that the cameras have

Actually it's very easy to argue that. Many studies suggest that cameras don't do anything to deter crime. They may assist in the subsequent investigation and occasionally even provide the evidence that wins a criminal conviction but there is a bit of a difference between that and deterring/preventing crime.

Re:Driving patterns (3, Interesting)

Jason Earl (1894) | about 3 years ago | (#35783874)

In short, criminals are too stupid to be deterred by an increased threat of actually getting caught.

For the rest of us the idea that cameras make investigations easier (and therefore less expensive), and provide evidence that puts actual criminals in prison can generally be considered a win.

Re:Driving patterns (3, Interesting)

Psmylie (169236) | about 3 years ago | (#35783946)

Nothing really to do with stupidity. People tend to forget that they're being watched. It's a coping mechanism, I think. We can't always be on guard.
Where I work, there are cameras all over the floor. I KNOW that. And I'll still forget every once in a while that those are there. Then I'll see one, and I'll think "Oh, yeah... everything I do is being recorded. Have I done anything embarrassing lately?"

Re:Driving patterns (4, Interesting)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 3 years ago | (#35783992)

Crime isn't prosecuted with 'deterrence/prevention' in mind. That would leave all the prisons very empty, and reduce law enforcement funding. Punishment for crimes committed is much more profitable. If everybody obeys the law, it only means we don't have enough laws.

Re:Driving patterns (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 3 years ago | (#35783862)

Well then, clearly we should use all the info garnered by perverse medical experiments and torture also, seeing as that it's so 'valuable'..

Re:Driving patterns (3, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#35783958)

Well then, clearly we should use all the info garnered by perverse medical experiments and torture also, seeing as that it's so 'valuable'..

Welcome to the 20th century...on wait...

You do realize, there is almost nothing of the 20th century (post WWII) which didn't directly or indirectly benefit from the Nazi's medical and scientific endeavors... As such, living in the 21st century means you benefited from the horrors of the Nazi's experiments conducted during the 20th century.

Was a statement of hypocrisy actually intended to invalidate your own point? Or perhaps your point went over my head? Was your point something other than what you seem to be implying?

Re:Driving patterns (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 3 years ago | (#35784110)

Alot of the scientific breakthroughs the West made had nothing to do with Nazi research.

Much of the Nazi medical research was pure bunk, yes in some fields they were more advanced than the British and Americans, but in many fields they were less advanced.

The German jet engines were much less reliable then British ones and slightly less reliable than the first American engines for example.

Nuclear power, long range jet aircraft, radar, spread spectrum communications, proximity fuzes, computers, antibiotics, genetics and logistics are just some examples that come to mind where the Nazis really added nothing to the modern world's technology.

Re:Driving patterns (4, Insightful)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | about 3 years ago | (#35783956)

Yet the strategy for the use of the license plate readers ... She said it was hard to tell whether interest in âoeeffective and efficient law enforcementâ was being balanced with the âoevalues of privacy and freedom.â

What possible interest of privacy could you have while on the public street? Hint: when you are out on the public streets everyone can see you.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very pro civil liberties in the context of private spaces. I just don't understand how anything I do on the street -- where I have the full expectation that other people can observe what I'm doing -- merits protections on the basis of privacy. That expectation informs me of the boundary between private and public. A citizen cannot reasonably claim to keep private his activities in public anymore than citizens have the right to publicize the private activities of others.

If anything, I see the blurring of this boundary as being quite destructive to privacy because it erodes the logical distinction between activities that take place inside a private space and ones outside. That is, attempts to extend the privacy of the home outside by making false equivalences are just as likely to erode the protections inside as they are to bolster protections outside.

Re:Driving patterns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784020)

For instance, if my car was found near a crime scene at the time of the crime. I have to somehow PROVE i wasn't the one doing it.

Re:Driving patterns (3, Funny)

FictionPimp (712802) | about 3 years ago | (#35784084)

Obviously you need to not park near crime scenes...it's not rocket science. Do you really have any business being near crime scenes?

Re:Driving patterns (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | about 3 years ago | (#35784284)

Obviously you need to not park near crime scenes...it's not rocket science. Do you really have any business being near crime scenes?

Obviously all 100 people parking near there couldn't have all committed the same crime.

Re:Driving patterns (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784320)

Driving is a privilege, so you agreed to the responsibility when you registered the car to drive.

That's how it works (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35783698)

Tell 'em it's to catch terrorists, then use it for everything else.

Re:That's how it works (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#35783748)

Especially when, statistically, terrorists are non-existent.

Re:That's how it works (1)

Tsingi (870990) | about 3 years ago | (#35783998)

Especially when, statistically, terrorists are non-existent.

LOL! True enough, yet trillions are spent fighting them. I'd like a piece of that.

Re:That's how it works (1)

Jake Griffin (1153451) | about 3 years ago | (#35784082)

Have you ever seen a terrorist walking down your street? Then I'd say they're doing a pretty darn good job. Also, did you know that elephants hide in cherry trees? It's true! Have you ever seen an elephant in a cherry tree? I guess it works pretty well then, doesn't it?

Re:That's how it works (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about 3 years ago | (#35784060)

Exactly. Some say it is a slippery slope, but it has been repeated again and again that something used only for "terrorists" ends up being used to chase down or catch low hanging fruit, such as the potheads smoking out behind a 7-11. Same with laws that were meant for would-be invaders from an enemy country who were looking to cause harm on US soil being used to go after some middle high school kids hanging out at a playground.

Me, being the cynical person I am, was wondering how long it will be before the camera system, originally meant to catch terrorists trying to kill thousands of people at once would end up being used to chase down misdemeanors such as loitering and criminal trespass [1].

[1]: The bar for trespass is really low in some places. Walking across a parking lot without buying at a store in a strip mall can get someone charged with this in some areas of the US.

Re:That's how it works (4, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | about 3 years ago | (#35784088)

Tell 'em it's to catch terrorists, then use it for everything else.

I'd be willing to bet if you looked back on when this was set up to begin with, the proponents would have vehemently denied it would be used for anything but what it was "intended for". (catching terrorists) And that testimony was instrumental in getting the green light for it to be set up to begin with.

IMHO, whenever something like this goes on the agenda, when the sales pitch is being made to the officials/voters, that they have to put it in writing that the very minute it gets used beyond those predefined and agreed on bounds, it's IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED.

If nothing else it would prove to make a very entertaining debate when the people swearing it won't go beyond "that" suddenly and most urgently fight to stop that harmless little "public rights safety" from being added to the books. "So tell me again, why is it you're so against that little clause, if you're insisting it'll never come to that???"

Re:look back (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 3 years ago | (#35784310)

See, that's supposed to be what the web is good at - connecting dots to better promote education. (Wasn't that the story we just saw on Internet2?)

However the funny part is the social networking gang is doing a good job of distracting us from actually doing this work.

I agree with you, the loop is starting to close though, initial vehement denials are starting to loop back. I remarked elsewhere this is among the first time *they* (instead of us) are proudly(!) admitting scope-slipperiness. That can't go on forever - the tension is building.

Well, as long as it makes their jobs easier... (2)

Itesh (1901146) | about 3 years ago | (#35783704)

I'm all for it. Here, why don't you take my blood and semen samples along with my fingerprints, you know, just in case...

It's funny (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35783872)

Leaving blood and semen samples along with my fingerprints is what got me in trouble with police in the first place.

Re:It's funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35783884)

Wow, there are so many things that could happen with blood, semen & fingerprints, please do share some specifics!

Re:It's funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784204)

Amanda Waller in Justice League's episode Epilogue regarding cloning Bruce "Batman" Wayne: "Bruce's DNA was easy enough to obtain. He left it all over town. (Terry raises eyebrow) Not remotely what I meant."

Re:Well, as long as it makes their jobs easier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35783910)

At least this story has a happy ending.

Re:Well, as long as it makes their jobs easier... (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 3 years ago | (#35783960)

a guy goes into the doctor's office for an annual physical.

the doctor says "I'll need a blood sample, a semen sample, a urine sample and a stool sample."

guys says "here, doc, that's my underwear. has everything you are asking for."

So they found the plate CMDRTCO (0)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#35783718)

outside that dodgy diner where you get ptomaine and anime of dubious repute, all for a dollar, eh?

Records retention? (4, Insightful)

identity0 (77976) | about 3 years ago | (#35783726)

FTA:
>The license plate readers are different from other security cameras in the city: they are aimed low, designed to focus on a small area, unlike traditional surveillance cameras which look at broader sections like a toll plaza or the entrance of a building, Mr. Browne said. The information collected is immediately checked against databases storing information on stolen cars, stolen license plates, wanted persons and unregistered vehicles.

Well, the cameras themselves doesn't seem so bad, but does anyone know how long data is retained? I don't want to be leaving records of where I've been for years...

Re:Records retention? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about 3 years ago | (#35783848)

FTA: >The license plate readers are different from other security cameras in the city: they are aimed low, designed to focus on a small area,

Well, the cameras themselves doesn't seem so bad, but does anyone know how long data is retained? I don't want to be leaving records of where I've been for years...

Then the single thing I can suggest you: place you license plate higher than the level the cameras are aimed. Because you don't have anything to say (that will still be listened) in regards with how long the recordings are retained.

Re:Records retention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784164)

First, the cameras have a wide field of view. Or so I would imagine. If not, then NY is even more wasteful than I thought. Wide field of view cameras are used for reading license plates for tag-free, no-stop toll road payments. While a lot of older told roads have lanes with pylons and a camera right at plate level for each lane, newer ones just have one or two wide field of view cameras mounted well above the entire freeway. Image processing has come a long way.

Second, it isn't just New York that has access to this kind of thing. There are companies out there right now that patrol the street -- Google Street-view style -- just to build a database that they can sell to law enforcement (on basis of payment for access, not ownership of the data, of course). I'm going to invoke the Anonymous Coward's privilege (and yes, risk looking like a loony conspiracy theorist) when I just say they have had some major, but not well-publicized successes with that data. There are laws on how long the states can retain data on persons not suspected of a crime, but not on how long private companies may, nor on the states' ability to buy access to information that is arbitrarily old from those private databases.

And as long as we're on the subject, be aware that troopers usually run any random plate they feel like, just because it's a plate. Sometimes running four plates at a red light pays off, most of the times not. Some states have mounted cameras on the squad cars running at all times (as opposed to just during a stop, though they usually just record. They haven't made the obvious (but pricey) technological leap of just having someone write some code to let the car's laptop automatically process and run the plate on every car they pass. Probably because it's just not worth the cost of the code+installation+bandwidth+back end+privacy compliance given that most people on the roads are not wanted for any crime.

And finally, in a system designed for both Accords and Tacomas , "lift the plat up higher" is probably not going to thwart any efforts.

Re:Records retention? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 3 years ago | (#35784238)

Then this settles it: nobody has anything to say/control how the license plates are recorded and how long the records are retained.

Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35783880)

Do you carry a cell phone? Cell towers reasonably collect connection logs and your general position can be triangulated. How long are those logs maintained? How easy would it be for you to acquire that information via the police records (corporate vs public)?

Re:Records retention? (3, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#35783886)

I don't want to be leaving records of where I've been for years...

Why? Isn't there a statute of limitations? :-)

Seriously, the right to conduct oneself privately is the foundation of all civil liberties. This is is why the 4th amendment to the US Constitution specifically prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.

"Unreasonable" has become the elastic operative through which the courts and executive have made impotent, the entire function of that amendment.

The role of the ubiquitous camera in conjunction with the compulsory license plate is just an abstraction of "Show me your papers, please" internal checkpointing - beloved of Inspector Jabert and Heinrich Himmler.

So, yes. The cameras themselves are indeed bad - the fact that you fail to perceive them as such? Just a sign of how irredeemable the loss of basic rights has become in your country.

Re:Records retention? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 years ago | (#35783942)

Well, the cameras themselves doesn't seem so bad, but does anyone know how long data is retained? I don't want to be leaving records of where I've been for years...

Already happening, already too late, complete and utter surprise? Not so much.

A surveillance society takes an exceedingly short period of time to decide that the initial justifications for these things has so many other handy uses. Governments are completely interested in monitoring and recording everything so that eventually when they need something against you, they have it on file. Even the governments who pretend to be protecting "freedom" and the like.

There's a reason why all of this stuff has been rich fodder for sci-fi for decades ... because you can see it coming, and pretty much anticipate the results.

Terrorism was the stated reason, but they're not going to miss out on using a treasure trove of such information. Give it time, and there won't be a single free society on the planet ... least of all, the Western democracies who still pretend to be.

I may sound like my tin-foil hat is cutting off the blood supply, but it's hard not to see all of the dystopian stuff unfolding before us. Stuff that has happened in my life time was a work of fiction 50 years ago.

Re:Records retention? (4, Interesting)

Jason Earl (1894) | about 3 years ago | (#35784272)

Personally, I think that the dangers to "freedom" are somewhat overblown. What is legal and what is not has not changed. The difference is that our society has become a great deal better at actually monitoring individuals.

In some ways, however, it is really only a step backward in time. I grew up in a small town, and I became used to the idea that everyone around me knew who I was (and who to contact if I should step out of line). You worry about the government watching you, but from personal experience I think that you would be much better off to worry about your immediate neighbors. They are the ones that actually care about what you are up to, and it is your reputation with them that is actually most likely to effect your behavior. Yes, it is possible that the government might compile evidence of impropriety, but the worst they will realistically be able to do is tell your neighbors.

Unless, of course, you are talking about actual illegal activity, in which case you *should* be arrested. That's why we have laws.

For most of human existence it has been very difficult to hide improper behavior from your neighbors. Historically, we have lived in relatively small, very tight-knit communities, and your business was your neighbors business. The idea that you could go out in public and be anonymous is a relatively new idea. Apparently it is likely to be a short-lived idea as well.

If your definition of "freedom" includes being able to hide improper behavior from your neighbors, then yes, your freedom is in jeopardy. On the other hand, you only have to log on to facebook for a minute to realize that most people are more than happy to share the details of their life with whoever happens to be on the Internet. Most people seem to be willing to share details about their personal lives than even folks like me, that grew up knowing our neighbors' business, find uncomfortable. You can't blame government for that though.

Re:Records retention? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 years ago | (#35784018)

who cares how long its retained for? I don't really mind if someone wants to know where I was on Tuesday the 8th 1986. No, its them knowing where I am today that worries me more.

Re:Records retention? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784064)

If you're so concerned, stop going out into public. Problem solved!
 
In all honesty, do we have to go over the fact again that you have no expectation of privacy in public? Do we really need to beat this dead horse? If I, as a private citizen, want to sit and record the license plate of every car that passes by my home and publish this information for any amount of time I can do this. The police can do it too. That's the way it works in the US.

Re:Records retention? (2)

LockeOnLogic (723968) | about 3 years ago | (#35784280)

Any policy with regards to retention of information is easily changed in the future. No matter what duration they state they will find/create justification to increase it at some point in the future.

Now you understand (-1, Flamebait)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#35783736)

Now you understand why GW Bush fanned terrorism by attacking Iraq.

Re:Now you understand (0)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#35784026)

Now you understand why GW Bush fanned terrorism by attacking Iraq.

Oh, officer. Officer.

Yeeeeessss??

Why did you pull me over?

Because your license plate was on my alert list.

Do I look like a terrorist?

No! You look lie a cocker spaniel with a severe case of mange and an overbite, but why take chances?

Look, I haven't done anything wrong. I need to get whatever is going on with my license plate cleared up. Can you tell me where to go?

OOOooooooh! Can I!

Re:Now you understand (0)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 3 years ago | (#35784250)

Police Officer: Sir, are you classified as human?
Korben Dallas: Negative, I am a meat popsicle.

Choice of denomination (5, Insightful)

ElMiguel (117685) | about 3 years ago | (#35783768)

Obviously, conventional crime is far more common than terrorism, so it is not surprising that they would have benefits, more frequently, in conventional crime fighting than in terrorism.

So obviously, calling them 'anti-terrorism cameras' is a lie.

Re:Choice of denomination (1)

Psmylie (169236) | about 3 years ago | (#35784044)

It's not a lie. It's PR. It's spin. It's a euphemism. It's misdirection. But not a lie!

4th Amendment? (0)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about 3 years ago | (#35783774)

From TFA:

information collected is immediately checked against databases storing information on stolen cars, stolen license plates, wanted persons and unregistered vehicles.

Is anybody aware of their 4th amendment rights or are we just giving it all up to catch The Bad Guys(tm)...

Re:4th Amendment? (3, Insightful)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 3 years ago | (#35783820)

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

I'm confused - are the police using their cameras to search your person, house, papers or effects? Or are they seizing them?

Re:4th Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35783962)

I certainly consider my car to be a part of my "personal effects" when I'm out and about in it.

If you don't feel the same about yours, then you probably won't mind my borrowing it, will you? Which is good, b.t.w., because I'm almost two towns away in it as I write this...

Re:4th Amendment? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 3 years ago | (#35784148)

Uh, these cameras are not searching your car. They are searching public streets FOR your car.

Re:4th Amendment? (3, Informative)

davev2.0 (1873518) | about 3 years ago | (#35784186)

Neither you or your vehicle is being searched. Your vehicle is in plain sight. It is being observed in a specific location, just as if a police car drove past it and the officer noted it.

Roadway Travel is Public Info (2, Informative)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 years ago | (#35784106)

SCOTUS ruled that use of public roadways is public knowledge and legal without a warrant, including the use of GPS tracking units on your "private" vehicle. Their ruling is that when driving on a public roadway, there is absolutely no expectation of privacy as to your travelling. Now, searching inside the vehicle, that's a different question. And what if the camera takes a picture through your windows? That's as allowed as an officer looking in your window. The court seems to say that, police are allowed to use humans to track all public movements, so they see no difference between having 5 million police standing on corners writing down license plates or 5 million cameras doing the same thing.

Re:4th Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35783890)

Here's a hint for you: public streets are neither your house, your person, your papers, nor your effects.

Re:4th Amendment? (2)

davev2.0 (1873518) | about 3 years ago | (#35784274)

You are in public and have no expectation of privacy from what can be casually observed. Neither you or your vehicle is being searched. Your vehicle is in plain sight. It is being observed in a specific location, just as if a police car drove past it and the officer noted it. This is no more a search than if a police officer went by, on foot or in a car, and saw you waving a gun around or passing a pipe with pot in it back and forth with a friend.

Stop trying to claim that being seen on a public road is a violation of your privacy. I will say it again: You do not have an expectation of privacy for anything casually observable while you are in a public location. Quit invading our public with your private.

Safe Slumber (3, Funny)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | about 3 years ago | (#35783784)

I can't wait til this becomes a nationwide practice so that all civilians can feel safe knowing that the terrorists and criminals are being actively monitored and will never ever harm us again.

Life Imitates Slashdot. (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | about 3 years ago | (#35783798)

"'We knew going into it that they would have other obvious benefits,'"

Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're *lying*. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.

- Meringuinoid, on Slashdot, ca. 2005 [slashdot.org].

Re:Life Imitates Slashdot. (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 3 years ago | (#35784076)

A slight quibble here: They (in general, or the guy giving the answer) may or may not *intend* to use the law that way, but it's quite safe to say that the law *will* get used that way if passed.

If an agency director goes to Congress asking for new power XYZ, he may genuinely believe that the intent is to do something totally different from what the civil libertarians are worried about. Now, he may have been misled by his subordinates, or his successor might decide "hey, look at what I can do!" Alternately, of course, he may be the nefarious bastard who knows better but pretends otherwise. Since the basic rule of investigation is that every government official will say exactly what they need to say in order to save themselves, we'll never really know for sure.

Urbanization (4, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 3 years ago | (#35783808)

And people wonder why my desires run counter to the reverse diaspora toward increased urbanization.

Just build the giant, sealed arcologies already, let the social engineering wonks have them, and let the rest of us live in more rural setting in peace.

Re:Urbanization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35783926)

If I had mod points, I'd mod you +1 billion insightful...

Re:Urbanization (4, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | about 3 years ago | (#35784322)

I grew up in a small town. In small communities everyone tends to know your business in a way that people from the cities (or even the suburbs) would find very disconcerting. If you are worried about people watching your every move then a rural setting is not a Utopia.

Foiled (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35783814)

Cameras can easily be foiled, as proven in Toronto. Simply wear a riot helmet and a small piece of black tape over your name - and it's infeasible to identify or investigate crimes depicted.

Re:Foiled (1)

Tsingi (870990) | about 3 years ago | (#35784072)

Cameras can easily be foiled, as proven in Toronto. Simply wear a riot helmet and a small piece of black tape over your name - and it's infeasible to identify or investigate crimes depicted.

Yeah, I love that, a hundred cops in riot gear, no id, beating civilians. Yet, no one knows who they were.

Well, the cops knew, and they knew they were breaking the law. We could try asking them.

Canada, fascism in the north.

NYT = fail (3, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 3 years ago | (#35783844)

please, STOP posting links to this horrible site!

I get a login screen. is that what you wanted me to read? ok, I read it. it said 'login'. I did not play its game. I saw no article.

didn't we all agree to start ignoring NYT? what happened subby? no other source?

poor showing. just poor showing, man.

and no, I will not 'login'. this is NOT what the web was supposed to be about.

PLEASE STOP SUPPORTING NYT.

thanks.

Re:NYT = fail (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 3 years ago | (#35784000)

Son, if you're looking for news, you need to find a new teat to suckle. Slashdot is dead, has been for a very long time.

Re:NYT = fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784092)

Yep just as dead as Yahoo! email.

Re:NYT = fail (4, Insightful)

maxdread (1769548) | about 3 years ago | (#35784128)

So the internet was supposed to be about a slave labor force working for nothing? Because we see the numerous examples of great journalism (not that every article/newspaper/writer is an example of this) coming from the random blogs that pop up around the internet? Free does not always equal better and if there is anything we should support with our money, its probably a free and independent press.

Re:NYT = fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784136)

you wanted me to read?

What is this "read" you speak of?

Remind me, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35783852)

what exactly is the difference between terrorism and crime? If you kill/threaten someone with a gun, it's crime, and if you kill/threaten someone with a bomb, it's terrorism? Or do you have to be a scary Mooslim to be a terrorist these days?

Typical (1)

danbuter (2019760) | about 3 years ago | (#35783896)

Any time you give a government organization power, they will use it and probably bend the rules to extend their reach beyond their original purview.

a.k.a. "Cops No Longer Looking At License Plates" (5, Informative)

Broofa (541944) | about 3 years ago | (#35783898)

The Law of Unintended Consequences [wikipedia.org] will probably come into play here. As camera systems - especially ones mounted on cop cars - get better at reading license plates, law enforcement officers will probably come to rely on them more. I.e. they'll pay less attention to your plates. So one conclusion that might be draw from this is that if you hide/obfuscate your plates, you're more likely to get away with it.

/me grabs a handful of mud and slings it at his plates to hide the expired registration tags.

Re:a.k.a. "Cops No Longer Looking At License Plate (1)

Zcar (756484) | about 3 years ago | (#35783944)

And these cameras won't flag on vehicles where they can't find a registration tag?

Re:a.k.a. "Cops No Longer Looking At License Plate (1)

mr100percent (57156) | about 3 years ago | (#35783984)

Depends on the system. Unless the devices are going to flag when the camera is pointed at ordinary things like mailboxes, they probably won't be able to tell a car bumper from a regular wall. Obscuring license plates could become a simple hack, the same way smiling in a mugshot ruined facial recognition apps.

Re:a.k.a. "Cops No Longer Looking At License Plate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784222)

I have a new idea to decorate the outside walls of your house: expired license plates!

It's going to be funny when automated police cars need to slow down when passing in front of your house to scan the license plates of the "4320 cars parked in your driveway".

Re:a.k.a. "Cops No Longer Looking At License Plate (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 years ago | (#35784130)

The Law of Unintended Consequences will probably come into play here.

Well, except I will cynically say that at the very least, this could be seen coming a mile away and was pointed out by people as having this very likely outcome. At very worst, the people who were planning this very much knew and intended that this would happen. They just either convinced us to the contrary, or picked the most naive spokesperson they could find who loudly said "Oh, they'd never do that".

By the time people clue in, it's too late.

You can't seriously expect that when you give governments access to surveillance and information about the citizenry that they won't turn around and is it for exactly what they claimed they wouldn't.

You can't say "we're going to monitor everybody, but only use it for terrorism" and not be lying, or too naive to think it through. Anybody who didn't think this would happen was fooling themselves.

This is why people go around citing the notion that "Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not
have, nor do they deserve, either one"
.

Great tool for the NY State Deptment of Taxation (1)

CrispyZorro (1809948) | about 3 years ago | (#35783906)

Now they just need to figure out how to link this with weekend shoppers going to Elizabeth.

Another thing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784008)

What irks me is, if the government (which is at least somewhat accountable) has no problems abusing you in this way, do you really think corporations (Facebook, Google, etc.) have any genuine interest in your privacy?

Video Analytics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35784030)

The advancements in video analytics has gotten really impressive. Software can determine the difference between a group of people vs. say a flock of birds and only records when it sees people. Or say you stack some containers or pallets 7ft high, if the height drops below 7ft, the cameras start recording. Pretty interesting stuff!

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