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City Council Ordered To Stop CCTV In Taxi Cabs

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the don't-look dept.

Government 101

judgecorp writes "Southampton Council in the UK has been ordered to stop snooping on every taxi cab in the city. Privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office has said it is "disproportionate" to demand that every Southampton taxi has CCTV that constantly monitors driver and passengers, including recording all conversations."

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What about OnStar? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774041)

I know authorities listen in to your cell phone conversations for keywords to start listening in. Do you think they do this for idle conversation you have in your car that has OnStar installed? In today's authority trumps privacy world, I'd just assume so.

And yet in Australia (3, Informative)

DavidRawling (864446) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774045)

Or at least in Sydney, pretty much every cab has recording devices "for the safety of driver and passenger". Most appeared after the well publicised bashing of taxi drivers. Thanks numpties for ruining privacy for the rest of us.

Still not as bad as the UK (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774191)

I've helped installed a few of the "Captured by Askari Taxi Security Camera Systems" (used by cabcharge in Queensland in response to the given bashing) a few years ago and the data recorded is nowhere near as bad as the OP suggests.

The system only records infra-red JPEG images (with GPS and timestamp) of the inside and outside doors upon the following conditions:
  - The brakes are applied hard
  - The door opens
  - The meter is payed
  - 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the panic button is pressed (in 5 second intervals)

These might have changed in the last few years but I doubt it.

Re:Still not as bad as the UK (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774507)

I've helped installed a few of the "Captured by Askari Taxi Security Camera Systems" (used by cabcharge in Queensland in response to the given bashing) a few years ago and the data recorded is nowhere near as bad as the OP suggests.

The system only records infra-red JPEG images (with GPS and timestamp) of the inside and outside doors upon the following conditions:

  - The brakes are applied hard

  - The door opens

  - The meter is payed

  - 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the panic button is pressed (in 5 second intervals)

These might have changed in the last few years but I doubt it.

I don't think that matters. People object to the very presence of these cameras to begin with. The irony in all of this is that the people responsible for the explosion of CCTV cameras in quantities that repressive communist security services could only dream of back in the day are the same ones who agitated against communism based on the fact that it was a police state that restricted your freedom and invaded your privacy. The reality is that when I am in the UK for example I feel just as spied upon as back in the days when I visited the East Germany where having certain types of conversations near a telephone or inside public buildings or hotels could trigger a visit from the police.

Re:Still not as bad as the UK (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774641)

- 5 minutes before ... the panic button is pressed (in 5 second intervals)

I'm more impressed that Australia has time travel devices.

Re:Still not as bad as the UK (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774999)

How do you trigger a recording before the panic button is pressed?

Re:Still not as bad as the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775097)

I'm assuming they are recording into a loop buffer and only if the panic button is pressed is the data from 5 minutes prior dumped to long term store.

Re:Still not as bad as the UK (2)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775139)

How do you trigger a recording before the panic button is pressed?

It'd be like a black box they put in newer cars. It's always recording, but "discards" all but the 5 minutes before and the 5 minutes after an event.
Probably has a scratch area in memory and moves designated content to a retention area for later review when an event happens.

The thing is, it is ALWAYS recording, obviously, because the device doesn't know WHEN an event will happen.

Sorta like the naked body scanners at TSA checkpoints. Always recording, but "discards" the images after the operator checks you for "weapons". They don't necessarily "discard" anything, wink wink. The naked body scans of the hot chicks get "discarded" alright, "discarded" for further "analysis" or "training purposes."

Re:Still not as bad as the UK (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775579)

"They don't necessarily "discard" anything, wink wink."

Of course the images are stored, what good is collecting them if you do not have them available for investigations when an event occurs.

If you believe they are being discarded in the interest of privacy you probably also believe the unemployment number is 8%, Obama likes free enterprise and can't wait to get your free government colonoscopy. Good luck with that.

Re:Still not as bad as the UK (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40776727)

Constantly record to a certain section of memory, overwriting results from five minutes ago if needed (and it will be needed - the buffer will be sized to only have enough storage for five minute's recording). That memory doesn't even need to be persistent - RAM works fine.

If the panic button is pressed, copy that buffer into "recorded" memory (ie. disk or flash), and begin writing new frames to there as well for the next five minutes.

Think of it as a database write-ahead log, almost, except here the purpose is to allow you to discard unneeded information instead of to protect against failure.

Re:Still not as bad as the UK (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775343)

What about access control? People get off on the ghost porn produced by airport nude scanners so IR images are definitely of interest. I bet many newspapers would love to have images of celebs in short skirts getting in and out of taxis.

Re:And yet in Australia (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#40776319)

I've been to Sydney a couple times and I find the cab drivers there to be top notch!
Having a camera in the car will certainly cramp their style.

Re:And yet in Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40778577)

Couple OF.
You wouldn't say "a glass water" would you?

Re:And yet in Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40786939)

Maybe English isn't your first language and you missed the fact that the posters were speaking in the past tense. It's been happening for a while and you were probably being filmed while you were here. What your post shows, though, is how quickly people forget they are being filmed and stop censoring their behaviour. This is one of the insidious things about such devices.

Believe it or not... (5, Informative)

Landak (798221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774065)

The organisation doing the "telling off" here, the Information Commissioner's Office, is actually surprisingly good at these sorts of cases, on these sorts of scales. I know someone who was being followed by his landlord (by PIs -- looking for any breach of his tenancy agreement), and the ICO prosecuted all involved; a solicitor was disbarred and the landlord might face criminal prosecutions. In this case, the relatively small bit of government -- a city council, the smallest 'unit of democracy' in the UK -- being told off here has no choice but to take the ruling and stop taping everyone's conversation (and/or sexy fun time) in the back of a cab.

Quite why it is that the ICO can tell off Southampton Council for recording people routinely, and yet can do nothing about the fact that everyone's movements across and through London are routinely tracked, however, escapes me. There are more CCTV cameras in london per capita than anywhere else in the world; one need only walk around outside and be followed, tracked and dated whenever you're going anywhere. Automatic CCTV numberplate recognition algorithm will automatically fine you for stopping on a (double) yellow line for more than a minute, or for straying into a bus (or, now, unfortunately, "Games") lane, irrespective of whether or not you had any choice in the matter. I find it depressing that the specific extra-governmental regulatory body designed to stop these sorts of things is so powerless when it comes down to telling off people who actually are important.

Re:Believe it or not... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774127)

It's probably to do with an expectation of privacy.

Outside you expect that you may be on camera. You probably still don't expect your conversations to be recorded.

In an enclosed space (taxi) you expect a much greater degree of privacy. The cabbie might overhear a few things, but I'd be shocked to find out my conversations were being routinely recorded and stored.

Re:Believe it or not... (2)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774541)

The cabbie might overhear a few things, but I'd be shocked to find out my conversations were being routinely recorded and stored.

The notices on every side of the taxi stating such didn't tip you off?

Re:Believe it or not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774565)

I'm illiterate, you insensitive clod.

Re:Believe it or not... (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775301)

Good thing /. is finally compatible with screen readers. Oh wait...

Re:Believe it or not... (3, Informative)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774149)

Southampton Council is a Unitary Authority; they sit at district level, which is one up from the lowest level, which is Parish Councils.

Parish Councils generally end up being responsible for things that no-one else higher up wants to run, like allotments and public lavatories. They're frequently appointed by unopposed elections too, because very few people want to be on them - they end co-opt people to them to fill in the gaps.

Re:Believe it or not... (1)

Landak (798221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774187)

Ahh, my apologies -- I'd assumed that Southampton was small enough that they were a town council (which is analogous to a parish one, but with a harder job of cleaning the toilets!). Do'h!

Re:Believe it or not... (2)

value_added (719364) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774253)

Southampton Council is a Unitary Authority; they sit at district level, which is one up from the lowest level, which is Parish Councils.

Ah, but you've neglected to include what's most pertinent. District level councils report directly to the Ministry of Information, yes? That means if you're a cabbie, or a passenger, you'll end up dealing with the folks at Information Retrieval.

Re:Believe it or not... (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774391)

Central Services are looking for you, Mr Tuttle. I mean Buttle. Tuttle.

Re:Believe it or not... (3, Informative)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774439)

Unitary Authorities members are generally elected largely unopposed as well, since in most cases no one is interested, or they vote on party lines to "send a message" to central government ....

The general public largely don't vote in these elections, either due to lack of interest, because they don't know what they do, or they vote on things the body has no responsibility for ...

Re:Believe it or not... (3, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774357)

and yet can do nothing about the fact that everyone's movements across and through London are routinely tracked

It is generally accepted even my the most liberal democracies that people - even visitors - lose some freedoms when in prison.

Re:Believe it or not... (3, Interesting)

BenJury (977929) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774847)

Automatic CCTV numberplate recognition algorithm will automatically fine you for stopping on a (double) yellow line for more than a minute...

As a Londoner who has to use those roads, good. People selfishly stopping on main roads to pop in and buy some fags and a paper continually snarls up the traffic in this city. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen roads backed up because one asshat has parked up forcing the traffic from 2 lanes to one, causing huge congestion and waisted time for everyone. All because they cant be arsed to drive an extra 10meters and pull into one of the side roads to park. Gah.

When I'm mayor (you never know! I mean who'd have though Boris would have got in!) all main roads will be red routes and at least the first few spaces in all side roads will be limited time free parking to accommodate the local businesses. /rant

Re:Believe it or not... (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774981)

All because they cant be arsed to drive an extra 10meters and pull into one of the side roads to park

I was going to say that those side roads probably can't be parked in either but then

and at least the first few spaces in all side roads will be limited time free parking

You've got my vote

Re:Believe it or not... (3, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775327)

Perhaps because people are not "routinely tracked" across London. Most of those CCTV cameras are private, and as was demonstrated by the riots, often capture footage far too low quality to be used for tracking even if they were somehow linked into a kind of super-skynet.

Part of the reason... (4, Interesting)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774081)

I live and work in the UK and I cycle everywhere. Part of the reason is precisely because it's difficult for the government to interfere with your business. The way I see it, the fewer interactions I have with the government the better.

If you take public transport, you're on CCTV everywhere. Naturally, you can be subject to searches when leaving train stations or even in bus stations.

If you drive a car, at some point you're going to get pulled over. You're going to get a ticket of some sort with high probability.

With cycling, there's no tax to pay. No fuel to pay for. There's no real way to be stopped and searched on a bicycle.

Often, it is faster than a car journey anyway.

Cycling is probably one of the only remaining modes of transport that is truly free in both senses of the word.

Re:Part of the reason... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774099)

Driving for 15 years in the uk and never pulled over, stopped or searched. As for no way to be stopped and searched ona bike, id imagine its exactly the same as in a car...do something wrong and you can be stopped...give them suspicions and they can search you.....being ona bike has nothing to do with it.

Re:Part of the reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774129)

Been pulled over once, and that was my fault and the police officer gave me a thorough telling off (from alongside in his unmarked car) and then we went our separate ways.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774367)

If you want to be pulled over cycling in Cambridge, go through a red light by Parker's Piece. There's a police station right next to it and there's often someone just leaving or arriving who is very happy to have a little chat with dangerous cyclists.

Re:Part of the reason... (2)

oPless (63249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774833)

Though they don't appear to be too bothered further down on Mill Road, where cyclists ride at night without lights with impunity, run red lights, and travel at high speed along the inside of cars ready to smack into the side of cars turning out of junctions and turning left. Jumping off pavements without looking etc...

Recently I've noticed a increase of high speed cyclists coming out of junction joining Mill road WITHOUT LOOKING. Luckily I am a seasoned driver and well aware of the less competent Cambridge cyclists, but there have been some cases where the anti-lock breaking has kicked in, and strong words exchanged with the cyclist in question.

It's a shame there's a large number of good responsible cyclists in Cambridge, as I would be tempted to tar them all with the same brush.

It's surprising that there aren't more accidents really.Out of the handful I've personally seen over the past 3-4 years only **one** was the result of a car driver not noticing a well lit and visible cyclist and rear ending them. The other times have been cyclists not paying due care and attention. /rant

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775383)

Though they don't appear to be too bothered further down on Mill Road, where cyclists ride at night without lights with impunity, run red lights, and travel at high speed along the inside of cars ready to smack into the side of cars turning out of junctions and turning left. Jumping off pavements without looking etc...

For what little it's worth, it's not with impunity. Mill Road has one of the worst accident records of any road in Cambridge, and many of the people who get hurt or worse were on bikes.

The idiots who overtake cyclists over the blind summit on the bridge do occasionally run into (very literally) someone similarly idiotic coming the other way, too.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775787)

If you want to be pulled over cycling in Cambridge, go through a red light by Parker's Piece.

Really? I've never seen anyone stopped for running a red light on a bike by the police. I go through that junction quite a lot on a bike. Fortunately it's quite busy and even the most suidial of cyclists won't usually shoot straight out in front of a lorry or bus.

It annoys me when cyclists run red lights, they give us all a bad name.

And what the heck is it with people who will get on a bike with no brakes, no lights and headphones cranked up?

On the other hand, the drivers around Cambridge (busses and taxis, especially Panther seem a bit better in this regard) seem to be allergic to indicators. Given the number of places where they are cycle lanes next to the main lanes, that is really annoying.

Also what is it with cars feeling the need to overtake. Even if you're bobbling along in traffic at the same speed as the traffic, some lunatic will often try to overtake.

Anyway, if you want some really heated debates about traffic in Cambridge, come and join us on cam.transport.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40779963)

If you want to be pulled over cycling in Cambridge, go through a red light by Parker's Piece.

Really? I've never seen anyone stopped for running a red light on a bike by the police.

I was once pulled over for this and given an on-the-spot fine. Well away from a police station, though the copper in question was on a cycle himself.

Entirely justified: while I knew I was safe (I know which lights were on green, and there was no traffic coming those ways) and I could have tried to claim "by the time it was Red it wasn't safe to slam on the breaks" (it changed as I passed, I'm that argument sometimes holds water though it really shouldn't as the lights are on amber more than long enough before they hit red) I had broken the letter of the law very clearly.

As a cyclist who likes to think he is generally safe and conscientious, I think more should be pulled over and slapped for what they get up to on the roads and pavements. I've seen many cyclists ride like complete 'king loonies then yell and scream blaming someone else for the near misses that result.

Back to the original topic: I'm not anti-CCTV-in-public-places (and I count taxis as a form of public transport so while on a fair-paying trip I consider myself to not be in a private place) for its stated purposes. A cycling related case in point is the recent case when a bus driver literally used the bus to knock over a cyclist: the case may not have been so conclusive without the CCTV evidence. My problem is the lack of due diligence and other controls with respect to who has access to the recorded results: there are things I might say that I might not want certain other people to find out about (so I'd not want it made public) because it could cause unnecessary hassle/confusion/hurt.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40780191)

Also what is it with cars feeling the need to overtake. Even if you're bobbling along in traffic at the same speed as the traffic, some lunatic will often try to overtake.

They feel they are losing time if they are behind or otherwise at the same speed as a cyclist. Some people perpetually in a rush, some others are just small-dicked wonders who use speed as a compensating device. In either case I'd actually prefer they get past me than stay behind: in front of me I can see what they are doing better, behind me they are a less well seen danger.

What annoys me sometimes is people slamming their foot down to overtake when I indicate that I intend to turn right (which will involve crossing the main body of the traffic lane) even when there is initially enough space between us and the opposing lane is empty so that they'd not even have to slow down at all as I safely cross their path with them at their original speed. Once one dick does that everyone behind keeps as close as they can so I end up sat by the side of the road for ages waiting for a clear spot in the flow to cross through (or, if I'm feeling petty and I know I can catch them up at the next lights, I'll get in front of the dick and set off very very very slowly when the lights change...).

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774575)

id imagine its exactly the same as in a car...do something wrong and you can be stopped...give them suspicions and they can search you.....being ona bike has nothing to do with it.

A friend of mine used to live in Munich, and police routinely attempted to stop him for riding a bike without a light after dark, or similar silliness.

Eventually, he moved to Dortmund, and police managed to stop him while he was riding his bike, and send him to prison in Munich...

So, even on a bike you may be bothered if you annoy the authorities enough.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774615)

Silliness? Fuck you. You're on the road, turn your damn light on and warn people you're there. Pedestrians don't need to be run into by and cars don't need to be running into your asshole friend. Can't bike properly? Get off the fucking road idiot.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

oPless (63249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774835)

Absolutely. See my earlier comments about cyclists on Mill Road, Cambridge, Uk.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774979)

Silliness? Are you soft in the head?

You need a light at night because humans aren't bats or dolphins and don't navigate by sonar.

Bikes don't make very much noise (hence the little tinkly bell) and so pedestrians mightn't hear or see you coming at night and motorists mightn't notice you until it's too late. How can you not know or realize this?

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775297)

Silliness? Are you soft in the head?

You need a light at night because humans aren't bats or dolphins and don't navigate by sonar.

Bikes don't make very much noise (hence the little tinkly bell) and so pedestrians mightn't hear or see you coming at night and motorists mightn't notice you until it's too late. How can you not know or realize this?

I entirely agree with you when it comes to lights but the little tinkly bell is where I draw the line. If some moron pedestrian steps into the road in front of me they get an earful of abuse at the very least.

I generally cycle everywhere at a pretty fast pace since the UK speed limit on most roads is 30mph and I am unlikely to exceed that. I have hit one pedestrian because he saw a row of traffic and stepped down off the curb without noticing the green marked cycle lane at the side of the road. I hit another guy as he was in between two stationary cars in a row of traffic then stepped out as he could not see a car coming from the opposite direction, unfortunately I was overtaking the row of traffic and did not see him until he stepped in front of me.

Pedestrians do moronic crap like that all the time. It is not our fault our chosen method of transport makes less noise than a motorbike or car, it is their fault for not using their eyes before jumping into the road.

Re:Part of the reason... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775597)

I generally cycle everywhere at a pretty fast pace since I'm a twat. Fortunately, my tight lycra and the pressure from my saddle, combined with my naturally small testicles and low sperm count, has made me infertile. I'm trying to make up for it by being aggressive.

Re:Part of the reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40776335)

An important part of the driving test is 'reading the road' i.e. being aware of other road users, including pedestrians. Overtaking a queue of stationery traffic will always be a potentially hazardous situation and it's your responsibility to be aware of and check for all possible hazards. That's not to mention the common problem of cyclists, motorcyclists and other motorists who seem oblivious to the meaning of the white-striped ghost islands in the centre of the road. They indicate parts of the road which must not be used, for safety reasons. If you ride or drive on them, you are automatically a danger to everyone, including yourself.

Re: lights. You have to realise that there are many situations where you are dead meat without a front light. The classic is when overtaking up the inside of a queue of traffic when a motorist is turning left. That motorist has to concentrate primarily on the front of his vehicle, to ensure no-one is stepping off a pavement or stopping in front of him. He has only a very brief opportunity to safely check his nearside rear view mirror for anyone in your position. If it's a poorly lit section of the street, night time and you have no front light, you may as well be invisible. Crushing in this way is on of the commonest causes of cyclist injuries in cities.

It has to be said that many London cyclists are now far and away the worst and most bad mannered of road users, and I say that as someone who often cycles himself.

Re:Part of the reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40778009)

Glad he is riding without mandated safety equipment. That means that if I were to hit him with my car, he would be at fault, and his estate would be paying to fix my car.

Now, of course, I don't plant to hit any cyclist, but if it does happen, I'd much prefer it be with a cyclist that flagrantly disobeys even the most obviously important of safety laws, that way no matter how stupid my actions, I am not at fault.

Maybe he should think about that next time he does something so stupid. Does he have the several thousand euros it costs to do bodywork on a car when one hits him?

Re:Part of the reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775665)

You can definitely be pulled over on a bicycle in the UK - some years ago I was pulled over for speeding by a speed trap at the bottom of a steep hill. They did not issue me with a ticket, but did tell me to keep my speed down on that stretch in future...

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40777265)

Driving for 20 years in the UK and I've lost count to the amount of times I've been pulled over.

"Just a routine stop sir". Then you play twenty questions.

The last time was because of my black passenger. He was black, you see. We must have been up to no good.

During my younger days, I was pulled over once a week because I drove a nice sport car. I had the police on a harrasement charge for that.

Been pulled on a bike too, and I'll admit I was on the pavement.

For the record, m'am, five points and £600 fine for driving down a bus lane and through a red light. All quashed at a later date through police and CPS incompetence. 'effing useless, the lot of them.

"Tickets" are unusual. "Producers" are common and a pain in the arse.... You must attended a police station of your choice within the next seven days and produce your legal documents as stated below. So it says.

You've either been lucky, drive an average car, or have never carried a black passenger.

Re:Part of the reason... (1, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774185)

If you drive a car, at some point you're going to get pulled over. You're going to get a ticket of some sort with high probability.

If you don't break the law you are not likely to be ever pulled over.

In fact, I would say that a bike rider has more chances to interact with the police than a car driver. Roads are built for cars, whether you like it or not. A bicycle is not an equal on the road. Good, well trained riders are seldom a problem. But plenty don't bother to stop for the red light, for example, as long as in their opinion they can proceed. Bikes have to travel on the side of the road, where cars are parked, so you have more obstacles to steer around; at the same time car drivers, driving at 40 mph, are not that happy to see you appearing before them, pedaling at breakneck speed of 10 mph. A job of a bicycle rider is very dangerous, IMO, just because you are sufficiently different from the majority of traffic. If you want to become invisible you blend in. But you do the opposite.

There's no real way to be stopped and searched on a bicycle.

This is patently untrue. My local Sheriff's department regularly does stops of bicycles. Many criminals use bicycles too, they are quiet, portable and untraceable. If the police stops you and has a lawful cause to search you then you *will* be searched, and your blood taken, and whatever else your masters want from you.

With cycling, there's no tax to pay. No fuel to pay for.

You pay with your health, and with more food that you have to buy. Bicycles offer less protection to you from elements, other drivers, and from obstacles. Not everyone even benefits from heavy physical work (I do not, for example, for a good reason.)

Often, it is faster than a car journey anyway.

That could be true or false depending on where you live. Most cyclists would get a heart attack climbing up the hill where I live, even just once and without cargo. It would certainly take them far longer to get here than in a car. Same applies to freeways. But if you operate in a densely populated city then a bicycle is faster.

Cycling is probably one of the only remaining modes of transport that is truly free in both senses of the word.

I don't think so. There are no modes of transport that fit the definition of "free." Except perhaps drifing across the Atlantic on a reed raft. That would be free, I admit that much :-) But once you reach land you become a subject of the local government, and it usually has power to kill you with impunity - let alone to monitor your movements. Your choice of a vehicle does not matter.

Re:Part of the reason... (3, Informative)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774457)

If the Police (in the UK) Stop a Car driver they can legally ask for a driving licence (and so get identification)

If the Police (in the UK) stop a cyclist or pedestrian, then they have no power of search or to ask for ID, unless they arrest you....which they are loathe to do without evidence ...

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774659)

Though, just in the interests of completeness (not contradicting), you have up to 2 weeks to show the ID at a police station if you don't have it with you (from memory, could be slightly longer or shorter).

Re:Part of the reason... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774661)

They can ask until they're blue in the face, but they won't get it. You're not legally obliged to *carry* your identification when you're driving a car, so instead you would get a form (colloquially called 'a producer') which requires you to produce (show) your documents (driving licence, insurance and MOT test) at the police station of your choice within 7 days. Then, because you've not done something which you can be arrested for, you will be allowed on your way.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40777291)

Mod this AC up. He tells the truth.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775331)

They can use Stop and Search powers on you if they have some reason to suspect you may have been involved in a crime, like say you happen to match the description given of an alleged criminal. Of course if the description was "black guy" or "5"10' male" they can stop pretty much anyone.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774589)

and your blood taken,

Only if you happen to ride in the Tour de France...

Re:Part of the reason... (2)

monktus (742861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774623)

If you don't break the law you are not likely to be ever pulled over.

You've obviously never driven in Northern Ireland.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

amirishere (2651929) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774463)

AFAIK, To make it free in both senses, you would have to publish your commute history in an online repository.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

kraut (2788) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774523)

If you take public transport, you're on CCTV everywhere.

And your bike comes with an invisibility cloak?

Naturally, you can be subject to searches when leaving train stations or even in bus stations.

Naturally, you can also be subject to searches when cycling along the queen's highway.

f you drive a car, at some point you're going to get pulled over. You're going to get a ticket of some sort with high probability.

With cycling, there's no tax to pay. No fuel to pay for. There's no real way to be stopped and searched on a bicycle.

Explain that to the 1,872 people who got fined for cycling through a red light. You sure there's no way to stop a cyclist?

Often, it is faster than a car journey anyway.

Yes, particularly in central London

is probably one of the only remaining modes of transport that is truly free in both senses of the word.

cheap != free.

Re:Part of the reason... (1)

phazemstr (1405173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40777073)

I do the exact same thing in San Diego, California. An 8 mile trek one way only takes me thirty minutes, and with traffic in a car it can often take twenty anyway. I have found that cycling is more expensive than motorcycling though, it turns out the fuel to feed me is more expensive than gas.

Who is paid to watch this stuff? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774089)

Think about it. Someone is sitting in a room with monitors apparently watching/listening to these feeds? My god why...

Re:Who is paid to watch this stuff? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774115)

Think about it. Someone is sitting in a room with monitors apparently watching/listening to these feeds? My god why...

I can think of some reasons [imdb.com]

I wonder how many cabs will keep CCTV (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774109)

Though I wouldn't be keen on the council monitoring it all I would certainly keep CCTV in my cab if I were a taxi driver as a deterrent. You hear of so many attacks on Taxi drivers, people running off without paying and false accusations of "improper behaviour" by female passengers that I would want it for self-protection.

Re:I wonder how many cabs will keep CCTV (3, Insightful)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774347)

Though I wouldn't be keen on the council monitoring it all I would certainly keep CCTV in my cab if I were a taxi driver as a deterrent.

I'm not sure where you got the idea the council was monitoring it all; that seems very unlikely to me. Also, the main part of the ICO ruling was that *audio* recording was a disproportionate breach of privacy.

Re:I wonder how many cabs will keep CCTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774401)

Indeed yes - the council did not actually do anything beyond requiring CCTV in licensed taxis. It is the taxi company's job to install and operate the system.

In principle it is much the same as allowing a stranger to overhead your conversation, which is true in any taxi anywhere, unless you happen to know the driver.

Re:I wonder how many cabs will keep CCTV (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775377)

Though I wouldn't be keen on the council monitoring it all I would certainly keep CCTV in my cab if I were a taxi driver as a deterrent. You hear of so many attacks on Taxi drivers, people running off without paying and false accusations of "improper behaviour" by female passengers that I would want it for self-protection.

As a cab user there are a few occasions when I would have liked to be in a cab with cctv. Most often when I got some asshole cab driver on a slow night who wanted to drive the longest route possible or forget to zero the meter when you get in.

I remember that when I was a student if you asked for the main halls of residence where first years lived and were in the centre of town late at night you were pretty much guaranteed to be driven in the wrong direction initially. Once you pointed out to the driver he was going the wrong way they were usually alight about it and turned round quickly.

The problem came if you were chatting or whatever and didn't notice until the guy had driven you a mile or two in the wrong direction, then you had to pay the fare and had no real come back. At least if the cab had cctv you could put in a complaint then there was some evidence and the driver couldn't just say that you told him to take that bullshit route that went via timbuktu.

who ARE these people?? (1)

chris.alex.thomas (1718644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774231)

What surprises me is why anybody needed to explain to them why this was a bad idea. Are they completely incapable of thinking these plans through before pushing ahead?

I'm going to assume that they, are exactly like me, intelligent, normal people with normal guidelines to run their lives and normal levels of intellect, why else would they be in the jobs they have? accidental luck?

So given that they are well adjusted, normal people, why would they they consider it normal to want to record every second of audio and video inside a taxi cab, when the number of incidents / taxi ride ratio is so low??

Considering I believe no normal person, with normal levels of intellect would believe it's a good idea to do such a thing, it beggers the question, was my analysis of these people correct in the first place.

Re:who ARE these people?? (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774281)

Hubris, maybe? Or lack of perspective? Overly narrow thinking?

These can happen to many intelligent people. Which makes safeguards such as the ICO useful. Although, ideally, it should have been involved even before the implementation. There are rules enforcing it in countries with a similar institution.

Re:who ARE these people?? (1)

chris.alex.thomas (1718644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774385)

I would put forward that if those things happen to intelligent people, then they are not necessarily intelligent.

Re:who ARE these people?? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774327)

What surprises me is why anybody needed to explain to them why this was a bad idea. Are they completely incapable of thinking these plans through before pushing ahead?

Somebody in the council has some relatives or protegees at a company supplying or installing those cameras? You know... one doesn't need to invent the whole TSA to waste some budget.

Re:who ARE these people?? (1)

chris.alex.thomas (1718644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774413)

thats a good point, greed.

we need to start building less linux distributions and more ways to monitor those who monitor us, then expose them ruthlessly in the same way they ruthlessly treat us for breaking the rules.

Re:who ARE these people?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775105)

Ah I see you are familiar with the city and its workings... such a lovely place. Such a shame I left... I don't think.

Re:who ARE these people?? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774499)

Assume first that there are clear warnings in the taxi of the existence of video and audio recording. Focus on the audio recording, which is what is being outlawed. Reasons audio recording is a good idea:

1) Provides evidence/refutation of allegations of assault or verbal abuse by driver or passenger;
2) Provides evidence/refutation of fare abuse by driver or dodging by passenger.

Reasons it is a bad idea:

3) Driver would prefer not to have his speech recorded;
4) Passenger would prefer not to have his speech recorded.

Now 3) is obviously important - someone who is unhappy with being able to talk while in his vehicle (e.g. chat to his friend while he's waiting for a fare) is facing unacceptable working conditions. But for those drivers who /are/ happy with the recording, there remains only 4) - the case where the driver wants speech recorded but the passenger doesn't want what he is saying in earshot of the driver to be recorded.

It is already well-known that, under RIPA, a telephone conversation (or similar) may be recorded by one of the two parties without the other party knowing. This is logical: if one person can hear it, then one person has a memory of the conversation; and an accurate recollection is obviously better than a potentially faulty one. But there is a caveat: the recording cannot be released to a third party unless warning of the recording has been given.

So what the passenger is saying is that he does not want the driver to have an accurate recollection of what he can hear within his car, even when the driver would like that recollection. You may argue that, on balance, the justifications 1) and 2) from the driver's view are insufficient in light of 4). I haven't yet seen a convincing argument, however. And it's certainly wrong to state, "I believe no normal person, with normal levels of intellect would believe it's a good idea". Indeed, your "only an idiot would believe otherwise!" groupthink is becoming endemic amongst the geek clique, making it harder for them to understand what appear to be an ever increasing set of disagreeable laws.

Re:who ARE these people?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775065)

1) Provides evidence/refutation of allegations of assault or verbal abuse by driver or passenger;
2) Provides evidence/refutation of fare abuse by driver or dodging by passenger.

Security is never more important than freedom or privacy. If that's not what you believe, I wouldn't be surprised if you revealed you supported the TSA or the Patriot Act in the US.

It is already well-known that, under RIPA, a telephone conversation (or similar) may be recorded by one of the two parties without the other party knowing.

Legal != moral.

I know it's not normal to prefer freedom over security, but I hope the populace realizes their mistake in the future.

Re:who ARE these people?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775167)

Security is never more important than freedom

The driver no longer has the freedom to overtly record audio in his vehicle.

There is no "freedom vs security" dichotomy. The quote which usually motivates people to suggesting so is typically taken out of context.

Legal != moral.

The RIPA exception is very much moral. It means individuals can comfortably record conversations with business/government and the latter won't pretend they said something else then lose their own recording.

Re:who ARE these people?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775315)

The driver no longer has the freedom to overtly record audio in his vehicle.

Haha. And if we banned the TSA, they'd no longer have the freedom to molest people at airports! The horror!

There is no "freedom vs security" dichotomy.

Sure there is. You sacrifice freedom/privacy for some degree of security. In this case, it happens to be cameras/recording devices. There are varying levels of this, obviously, but the things supporters of organizations like the TSA will say to defend it are amazing. The "security" part is recording, the "freedom" part is being free from that. Twist it any way you like, but it'll make no difference.

Re:who ARE these people?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775549)

Haha. And if we banned the TSA, they'd no longer have the freedom to molest people at airports! The horror!

Are you slow? 1) Recording audio is the capturing of sound waves you have volutarily uttered, not a rub-down; 2) The recording is done (in the scenario above) with the consent of your driver, being also the person in possession of the vehicle. It's neither your private space nor it is a public space - it's someone else's car.

The "security" part is recording, the "freedom" part is being free from that.

What about the freedom of the driver to have an accurate record of what happens in his cab? Why is he less important than the passenger?

The states which put "security" over liberty are the sort of states which would not dream about letting either party make a recording. It'll be one person's word against the other, and whichever of the driver or the passenger has the government's favour will be found blameless. Indeed, such states also apply your argument to their agents - the freedom of the police from recording - and then you have people being arrested for taping the police.

tl;dr You should be able to expect privacy in your own private space. I argue, unlike many others, that there should be a certain expectation of privacy in a public space, too. But in someone else's private space, and when they have warned you? Absolutely not. That's just inviting abuse.

Re:who ARE these people?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775807)

What about the freedom of the driver to have an accurate record of what happens in his cab?

I was talking about mandating it. That's why the TSA was brought up.

I argue, unlike many others, that there should be a certain expectation of privacy in a public space, too.

Then that's not so disagreeable.

Re:who ARE these people?? (1)

chris.alex.thomas (1718644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775251)

I liked your breakdown, it was very cohesive.

if this was happening in a significant number of cases, you'd have a very strong argument based on that reasoning to wanting to record everything so you can take people to justice.

however, unless there is a reason to make a recording of that conversation about my awesome business idea which will make billions, perhaps there should be a moral aspect which until now isn't taken into account and that until very recently people have never had to deal with having their "normal" conversations recorded, I get a little annoyed when people listen to what I'm saying when it's not even important!! so just imagine when I'm saying something I think is personal and private.

that said, I'm in the back of a taxi....so it's hardly a private space...but I mean, it's coming to the point where I can only really have a private conversation if I'm sitting in a darkened room, with the blinds shut, cause anything else is fair game.....what is the world coming to?

on the topic of groupthink? I happen to agree with groupthink more than disagree because we all think it and we all agree or discuss it, thats how it works, so groupthink might actually solve more problems than it creates.

I think a lot of these problems are the result of not having a groupthink, not having enough people can lead you to a narrow minded conclusion in the first place. so I'm not against groupthink. for it actually.

finally, if the law is starting to become disagreeable, then groupthink is the only solution to solving those problems, since we all have to abide by the law, we should all be responsible for being part of the process which creates it.

Re:who ARE these people?? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775235)

They are left wing fascists. That's who they are. They want to control every part of your life, and the first step in that is knowing what you do at all times.

Re:who ARE these people?? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40776641)

Considering I believe no normal person, with normal levels of intellect would believe it's a good idea to do such a thing

This is your mistake. Normal people don't actually think through their opinions. If it sounds good, run with it. That's how normal people think. Actually exercising logic is too much work.

And the funny part is, when you start asking difficult questions about their "common sense" solutions, they think that you're the idiot.

Too much surveillance (3)

mrbester (200927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774265)

I'm thinking that this is only because of the recording of conversations as all public transport has CCTV installed these days. None of them record your voice though there are rumblings of installing microphones in street lamps to complement the cameras. There's even talk of installing speakers which would make the England of V a reality.

Re:Too much surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774423)

I passed one some time ago in London. I played a recorded ad for some stuff. I wasn't expecting it and the voice from nowhere made me jump out of my skin. I have no idea what was being advertized, but if I did, I would tell the vendor where to go. fsckers,

Re:Too much surveillance (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 2 years ago | (#40776113)

They tried to put "interactive" ads, that played speach and stuff when people where passing by, in the Parisian Métro, some years ago.

It barely took a hour after the opening for all of them to be destroyed.

Re:Too much surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774729)

There's even talk of installing speakers which would make the England of V a reality.

You've obviously not been to Nottingham (UK). Speakers ARE installed along with the cameras to shout at people (mainly to catch and fine people that dare to drop cigarette butts on the street).
Sorry to say, we've already reached a stage were this is accepted...

Re:Too much surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40776463)

Strangely, I haven't come across them[1], but it looks like they've been around since 2007[2].

[1]Talking CCTV [wikipedia.org]
[2]'Talking' CCTV unveiled in city [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Too much surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40787017)

Welcome to Sydney.

you Fail it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774449)

Shouts To the *BSD but FrreBSD its readers and like I shoul3 be a losing battle; where it was when United States of *BSD is dead.

In Cambridge ... (1)

Tim Ward (514198) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774513)

... a number of years ago the City Council offered to provide a CCTV service to the taxi trade, which was at the time somewhat concerned about the level of bad behaviour from punters, including assaults on drivers. But the trade didn't show any interest in the idea - or, at least, not in contributing to the cost! - so it was dropped.

It never occured to us to make it compulsory, I cannot imagine a rationale for that.

Crimes, such as... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774609)

... insider trading by cabbies who get hot stock exchange info from their riders who work at banks?

A hopeful observation (1)

Thad Zurich (1376269) | more than 2 years ago | (#40774843)

Perhaps such a measure would at least get cabbies to shut up.

Taxis in finland (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40774939)

I drive a taxi in finland and each and every one of the taxis has a camera, a GPS logger and a sealed fare meter and gps navigation. For myself the gps and camera are features that I'd never do the work without. The camera installs in itself lowered taxi robbings and muggings to nearly zero, only leaving the people on drugs or alcohol who attack or try to rob taxi drivers.

The gps is also a huge safety feature as when the panic button is pressed all of the others cars in town see me in their gps navigation and everyone near me comes to help. I'd never work in a company that covers the cameras or doesn't have the gps logging. Also the data in the camera is stored on an external server and is really hard to get to, requiring a police warrant to even see the data. I can only see a live feed from the camera in the car to adjust its angle.

Of course in Finland the whole taxi industry is regulated by the government and the local cities, so that enables the huge security brought on by the GPS logging for the driver. Also as the taxi fares are calculated by GPS and by car speed data, and the fares are set by the government, as a passenger youi never have to be afraid of getting cheated with the meter.

excuse me, could you take the parkway? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775319)

I would think the more interesting conversations for authorities to monitor would be the ones the cab drivers have continuously on their cell phones.

mod 07p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40775523)

For mEmbe8ship.

US Misunderstanding (2)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40775805)

People in the US often have a different attitude to CCTV then many people on this side of the pond.

You may see CCTV as an invasion of privacy. It actually varies here.

I work in a hospital. There are a lot of cameras around here. I have never come across anyone who works here who does not want them. Most people actually want more. They are there for our protection. You don't get them in the wards, operating theatres, toilets. You get them in public areas like corridors, A&E, waiting areas car parks and so on. They can be used to send people to areas where trouble might occur. They can be used to record events that need police or legal action and so on.
This has to be similar to CCTV in taxis. It could be used to deter (There are signs about it) and it can be used to prosecute. It might prosecute a taxi driver for attacking a passenger but is more likely to be used for the misdeeds of passengers.. I know taxi drivers like having CCTV. They would probably like it more if it was free but that's human. We just need councils keeping their noses out where they are not needed.

So what's the REAL reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40776067)

Laws have never stopped governments from doing illegal things, just look the U.S. government. The only thing I can think of is some high level politician got caught on camera doing something dicey.

Re:So what's the REAL reason? (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 2 years ago | (#40776525)

Not every country is as fucked up as the USA, you know.

Re:So what's the REAL reason? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40776737)

They'll probably end up that way if the people get too careless, though.

Never been a cab driver (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40776759)

Southampton Council in the UK has been ordered to stop snooping on every taxi cab in the city

That statement is inaccurate and inflammatory. It sounds like council has access to and is watching hours and hours of CCTV footage from cabs; that is not happening. There is a huge difference between recording and watching. Almost all the recorded footage will never leave the cab or be watched at all but will be erased as newer footage is recorded over it. How about mandating that recordings must be encrypted and can only be accessed by police with a proper warrant?

The privacy watchdog has taken a particularly harsh stance against recording of conversations, as it is intrusive, but rarely necessary in the event of a crime being committed in the back of a cab.

So cab drivers are rarely assaulted or killed. By concentrating on numbers and ignoring severity the watchdog is merely looking at half the picture. CCTV recordings are not just for violent actions. The also deter lesser crimes such as vandalism and failing to pay a fare.

We recognise the Council’s desire to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers but this has to be balanced against the degree of privacy that most people would reasonably expect in the back of a taxi cab.

Any reasonable person would not expect privacy when entering a cab that has stickers all over it that states "You image and conversations will be recorded while in this vehicle". By properly informing the passenger there is no expectation of privacy.
If a million hours of useless footage results in 2 minutes of usable footage that leads to the capture of a murdered that is good balance for me.

This is particularly important as many drivers will use their vehicles outside work.

Then stipulate the recording does not need to be done when the cab is not accepting fares.

I think that the main issue is that people seem to forget that a cab is the workplace of the driver who has several security issues;
1. He can not choose who to pick up. (It is illegal in most jurisdictions to discriminate against passengers).
2. He can not choose where to go. He has to take passengers to reasonable destinations. It would be OK to say Sorry but 50 miles to too far, I'll get you another car.
3. Passenger actions can change after entering the vehicle. A nice looking person can become violent at any moment.
One of the main reasons for city councils mandating CCTV is that many cab owners will not do it voluntarily due to the expense. Most drivers want the cameras for safety reasons but many owners do not care. I wonder where the complaint came from. I bet it was a few well connected owners. To me the life of a cab driver, I was one, far outweighs the privacy issues of well informed passengers. How about we make those ivory tower ICO people drive a cab at night for a month and see if they would want CCTV or not.

Re:Never been a cab driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40777331)

How about mandating that recordings must be encrypted and can only be accessed by police with a proper warrant?

How about not mandating that abusive systems be used in the first place? Leave it up to them.

One of the main reasons for city councils mandating CCTV is that many cab owners will not do it voluntarily due to the expense.

This is an example of security being preferred over freedom. I bet these people would love the Patriot Act...

but many owners do not care.

Then let them do as they please.

To me the life of a cab driver, I was one, far outweighs the privacy issues of well informed passengers.

Yeah, and security from big, evil terrorists is far more important than silly things like freedom or privacy!

How about we make those ivory tower ICO people drive a cab at night for a month and see if they would want CCTV or not.

How about we stop focusing on irrelevancies (attacks on people who disagree) and just leave it up to the damn cab drivers? If you want it, take it. If you don't, don't.

Re:Never been a cab driver (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 2 years ago | (#40781277)

By properly informing the passenger there is no expectation of privacy.

Expectation of privacy is not merely about knowing whether you are being watched, it's also about whether you should be watched. For example, consider a landlord installing CCTV cameras in an apartment he rents, connected to his living room television: is it OK if he puts it in the contract? What about a government tracking every square inch of its territory with cameras with facial recognition, logging all your movements into a database - is that OK if it's public knowledge? Or how about some pervert stalking you 24/7 - is that OK if he sends you a postcard saying that he will?

None of this means that cabs shouldn't have cameras, just that your quoted argument is wrong.

No problem (1)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 2 years ago | (#40782039)

I see no problem with this.

First of all, there's a clear warning displayed either outside or inside everywhere a system like this is used. Just pay attention and you'll be warned.

Second, you're outside your home! - you cannot reasonably expect to be 'in private' outside your home, and this applies to both photos (including paparazzi) and various CCTV systems. Just accept it or stay home. If you're a law abiding citizen you have nothing to fear. No police or intelligence organization have resources to look at anything unless they have to, i.e. a crime has been committed, or likely to be committed.

Sure, some high-crime areas are monitored live but that's a tiny fraction of all the CCTV data. The rest most likely get overwritten within a few days (or less) without even been seen to conserve space; if it is to be of any use the quality must be fairly good and means close to a petabyte for just one block of a street each day, covered by a handful of cameras. Lower quality that would require significantly less space would mean that you probably couldn't recognize someone a few meters from a camera looking directly at it.

What I really love about CCTV is the ability to go back and identify anyone who does something stupid/illegal.

During the recent riots in some of the major cities in England (which have the most extreme CCTV coverage anywhere) a lot of morons went out and did supremely stupid things - vandalism, arson, looting, assault and so on, and while many actually were stupid enough to do it without any mask or hood, some thought they were smart when they disguised themselves while doing it. They just forgot that the rest of their clothing would give them away unmasked prior or after the event because everything was recorded. So most of them got caught later and really ended up regretting when they did. Not only were the punishments hard (long prison terms) but they were all - where relevant - sentenced to pay the damages in full, and as many of the arson cases resulted in the building to be gutted completely, from the street level shop to the apartments above, the bill became extremely large. And they had to pay *now* - or else. Yes, the government would take everything these people owned (house, car, furniture etc.) and then jail them further for not paying in full. These debts will never go away as they cannot be forgiven. They'll pay a (significant) percentage from their wages (or welfare) the rest of their lives. These morons deserves what they got, and I'm just sad we don't put people in pillories or gibbets anymore... These dumb f*cks would have deserved that too.

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