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UK To Passively Monitor Every Vehicle

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the big-pm-is-everywhere dept.

Privacy 703

DrSkwid writes "The UK Police are building a network to monitor the movement of every vehicle in the U.K. through an extensive Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system. The data will be retained for 2 years. The Register further reports that the system will likely be used for issuing speeding fines." From the article: "The primary aims claimed for the system are tackling untaxed and uninsured vehicles, stolen cars and the considerably broader one of 'denying criminals the use of the roads.' But unless the Times has got the spacing wrong, having one every quarter of a mile on motorways quite clearly means they'll be used to enforce speed limits as well, which would effectively make the current generation of Gatsos obsolete. Otherwise, checking a vehicle's tax and insurance status every 15 seconds or thereabouts would seem overkill."

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What's a Gatso? (2, Funny)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038916)

What's a Gatso?

Don't misread that you dyslexic perv.

Re:What's a Gatso? (4, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038982)

A type of speed camera.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatso [wikipedia.org]

I've got a bike, (4, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039102)

you can ride it if you like
It's got a basket, a bell that rings
and things to make it look good
I'd give it to you if I could,
but I borrowed it

Syd Barrett escapes the universal monitoring!

Re:What's a Gatso? (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038996)

The cameras used in a lot of European countries to monitor traffic and catch speeders. There's site with dozens of pictures of vandalized Gatsos somewhere out there.

Re:What's a Gatso? (1)

derrickh (157646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039008)

It's an automatic radar gun. Sits on the side of the road and waits for speeders. Takes a picture, and a few weeks later (fortnight?) you get a ticket in the mail.

D

Re:What's a Gatso? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039044)

Are you an idiot? Use Google you lazy bastard.

Re:What's a Gatso? (-1, Offtopic)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039066)

The company that "does no evil" but shows me ads at every corner? Ah, no thanks.

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14038923)

exactly what we needed ;) , more fines ...

Re:wow (0, Flamebait)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039084)

Only for those that commit crime.

Which is why Im personally fine with the whole idea. Why track me? I go to college and do collegey type things, then on weekends I work in a shop doing shoppy things. Not exactly a global terror ring.

As for tracking us with this, as far as Im concerned, those that need to hide are exactly those that need monitoring.

Re:wow (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039135)

At least in most of the USA, speeding is not a crime in the sense of "infringement on other people's rights."

Speed traps are used as a revenue source for small towns.

Re:wow (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039173)

Except when they put you in the slammer for 90 days because you 3 times in the past 2 years have been driving behind a suspected terrorist.

New motorsport in the UK (2, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038929)

having one every quarter of a mile on motorways quite clearly means they'll be used to enforce speed limits as well,

Does this mean drag-racers can practise on the highway and get away with it?

Re:New motorsport in the UK (1)

slazzy (864185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039029)

yes, in fact you'll find the quarter mile markers with cameras great places to start your quarter-mile track times from. just make sure you stop before the next one!

Boy am I glad... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14038931)

That we in the colonies won the war and started a country that didn't take away our rights and treat us like criminals.

Re:Boy am I glad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039020)

That was extreme sarcasm...right? I can bet that we are montoring folks as much or more than in britain!

Re:Boy am I glad... (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039201)

Britian monitors more, but on the east coast of the us of a we're catching up fast.

Re:Boy am I glad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039229)

New to /. eh?

Re:Boy am I glad... (5, Funny)

oddaddresstrap (702574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039235)

You forgot the "oh, wait..." part.

Re:People who replied to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039245)

Please set sarcasm-meters to the "on" position before participating in the slashdot experience.

Thank you,
RadioElectric

Thanks (5, Insightful)

keesh (202812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038933)

I'd just like to say thanks for trying to waste my hard-earned tax money on this, rather than going out and using it for something useful like fixing the sorry state of our education system or making the NHS ever so slightly less pathetic.

Why upset (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039211)

This is simply a voluntary tax system. Want to help your gov.? Simply speed.

Besides, maybe they use the new money to fix some of the other systems or perhaps increase the police.

Re:Thanks (1)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039225)

Or perhaps even filling some potholes. You know, like our road tax is supposed to pay for.

Funny (0, Flamebait)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038937)

So where is Alan Cox going to live now? He boycotts the U.S. (as do I) for being anti-freedom, but now he lives in a country where he is constantly being photographed so as not to "muddle the carriageway with rubbish vehicles."

Perhaps Dr. Cox will outsource himself to India, where it's cheaper to buy off the police than in the so-called "United" countries.

Re:Funny (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14038981)

So where is Alan Cox going to live now?

wherever he goes, I'm sure it will be a place where there is plenty of anonymous gay bath house sex. When you think "Alan Cocks" you think "glory hole"

Am I the only one suspicious of the source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14038950)

The register does have a lot of information, most of which has some facts behind it.... But they have always struck me as an extremely biased news source.......

Re:Am I the only one suspicious of the source? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039122)

Biased? Perhaps, but you might more accurately have described the Register as 'cynical and nasty'.

The Register thinks the worst of just about everyone and everything. Since it's pretty evenhanded in its loathing, 'biased' while technically correct doesn't quite convey the right picture here.

Re:Am I the only one suspicious of the source? (1)

FireAtWill (559444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039186)

"The Register thinks the worst of just about everyone and everything."

But the vulture looks so friendly....

Re:Am I the only one suspicious of the source? (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039259)

The term I usually use to describe The Register is "journalistic snark." I considered "equal-opportunity curmudgeon" at one point, but curmudgeonly doesn't convey the self-satisfied attitude that generally comes through in their articles.

Just last night I was saying one of our local papers -- also called The Register -- would be much more interesting if it were like this site...

Just another day in the UK.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14038951)

First cameras on _every_ corner...now this.

I've seen the future... (5, Funny)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038953)

Lenina Huxley, you are fined one-half credit for a sotto voce violation of the Verbal Morality Statute. Additionally, you are fined 120 credits per infraction of the Safe Speed Statutes, for exceeding the speed limit of 45 miles per hour on the freeway 72 times this morning. Be Happy!

Re:I've seen the future... (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038988)

Doubleplusungood brother...

Re:I've seen the future... (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039077)

*cough* Be WELL *cough*

Re:I've seen the future... (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039131)

*cough* Whoops *cough*

Been a while since I've seen that sucker. :)

Re:I've seen the future... (1)

Dragoonmac (929292) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039098)

Big Blaire is watching.

Re:I've seen the future... (0, Offtopic)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039230)

Seashells!!!

Another reason (4, Interesting)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038955)

Yet another reason for me to want to emigrate from the UK, what with ID cards, and 90 days detention without trial etc.(Thankfully the latter was defeated in parliment). At this rate, with ever more draconian laws I'll be able to claim asylum.

Re:Another reason (3, Funny)

dfjunior (774213) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039001)

Or you could do what we did, have a revolution!
The UK Gov't hasn't given us a whole heck of a lot of trouble since...

Re:Another reason (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039054)

> > Yet another reason for me to want to emigrate from the UK, what with ID cards, and 90 days detention without trial etc.(Thankfully the latter was defeated in parliment). At this rate, with ever more draconian laws I'll be able to claim asylum.
>
> Or you could do what we did, have a revolution!
> The UK Gov't hasn't given us a whole heck of a lot of trouble since...

Ah yes, flee UK ID cards and 90-day detention without trial for the balmy shores of the United States, with REAL ID, and, umm... indefini... aaw fuck.

As the gray of November gives way to a long cold winter for Western Civilization, the UK's forgotten stepchild (Canada, eh?) is beginning to look warm and sunny by comparison.

Re:Another reason (4, Interesting)

dfjunior (774213) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039106)

I didn't say come to the U.S., I said have a revolution.

Re:Another reason (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039158)

A large proportion here in the UK are too lazy or ignrant to have a revolution (as demonstrated by majority public support for detention without trial), Emigration to Canada, sounds better with every passing week.

They have given you trouble! (2, Funny)

kotku (249450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039097)

> The UK Gov't hasn't given us a whole heck of a lot of trouble since...

Really they fuc8ed you over big time. If they hadn't gone with you on the Iraq war fiasco then Iraq II would not have happened and you Yanks would still have a reasonably good international reputation. The UK gov plan is to make the US look so bad that the UK can lead Europe as this centuries only super power.

God shave the Queen!

 

Dear Tony Blair: +1, Inspirational (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039011)


Go fuck yourself and your U.S. lapdog (a.k.a. President-Vice Richard B. Cheney [whitehouse.org] . I did't include "President" George W. Bush because he is just a placeholder.

Thanks for nothing.

Seditiously,
Kilgore Trout, General

Re:Another reason (1)

Jetekus (909605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039081)

Please. All they can do is see where your car is. What do you have to hide?

If someone I knew was attacked or whatever, I would sure as hell want the police to know exactly where the criminal had driven off to...

Fight this (2, Insightful)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039166)

If you have not done so already, get in contact with your local branch of No2ID [no2id.net] . Sign the I refuse [pledgebank.com] pledge (or at least the I support [pledgebank.com] pledge). Lobby your MP [slashdot.org] and your councillors: many councils across the UK are passing resolutions to forbid government services from requiring their users to have ID cards.

Re:Another reason (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039254)

And where do you propose moving to?

As a Briton who has already emigrated, may I point out that things in the UK aren't as bad as you think? By far the biggest problem I see is lack of space and all the violence after the pubs close. Those issues dwarf anything like this one.

Kinda Cool, Kinda weird (5, Interesting)

ViperG (673659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038957)

I remember seeing something like this technology being tested with police. They setup a unit like this (might be the same thing) on a busy road. Anyways, a few hours later, the system caught a few stolen cars, speeders, and few other things, that led to a record number of arrests that day.

Kinda werid though, for some reason it reminds me of 1984.

Re:Kinda Cool, Kinda weird (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039021)

You mean people in the UK drive stolen cars with the original license plates?

And, what's this? They drive the cars? I thought they would become little parts in the aftermarket.

Re:Kinda Cool, Kinda weird (1)

xintegerx (557455) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039247)

Maybe it helped find mismatched license plates? Any car with a fake license plate that isn't in the database is a stolen car or should be pulled over!

interesting from the police side (5, Insightful)

mandreko (66835) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038962)

this could be a very interesting tool. Other than it's privacy issues of course, it could be used in some neat ways.

Let's say you have a criminal who has been busted for drug charges. You could then find out where he's been, and probably track down where he gets his stuff from, and take it straight up the channels to the big guys.

Or does it not work that way?

Re:interesting from the police side (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038992)

Drug pushers take cabs.

Re:interesting from the police side (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039010)

And if you had stopped your car next to his to ask for directions it would look like you did a drug deal. Good enough reason to search your home, car, and office. I am sure that your boss, family, and the people living next door would understand...
I am not a privacy nut but this seems just wrong.

I predict... (4, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038963)

One group of people asking why the English let their government run roughshod over them, and a group of Brits claiming that they fully understand the reasons behind the measures their government is taking and are willing to endure scrutiny for the public good.

1984 wasn't set in America.

Re:I predict... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039023)

In addition,t he 2'nd group will say that if you are not doing anything illegal, that you have nothing to fear.

Don't forget the third group... (1)

ctid (449118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039042)

... of pedants who point out that Britain != England.

Re:I predict... (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039052)

I've always felt that if the government wants to put us under that much surveillance, then I think we should have surveillance on the politicians that give the thumbs up to these proposals, the people that administer the system and the people that access. They should be forced to wear microphones, they should be monitored, with their every move accessible by the public.

If they really feel that privacy is an extinguishable notion, then they should be the ones to suffer that loss of it the very most. If they are unwilling to put up with this intrusion, then they can bloody well stop demanding intrusions on the common citizen.

Holy crap! (1)

thekel (909848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038971)

That is some scary stuff! Bring on the 1984 references.

angry voters, film at eleven? (4, Insightful)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038975)

Perhaps now the "silent majority" (people who speed) will elect officials who will raise speed limits or lower speeding penalties.

Ok, never mind.

A culture prone to understatement. (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038977)

> "The primary aims claimed for the system are tackling untaxed and uninsured vehicles, stolen cars and the considerably broader one of 'denying criminals the use of the roads.'

In other news, the Atlantic Ocean is described as being "considerably broader" than the English Channel.

But these are folks whose pet name for the gulf of water separating North America from Europe as "the pond".

One might go further and suggest that British people are prone to occasional tendencies towards understatement.

Re:A culture prone to understatement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039249)

> "The primary aims claimed for the system are tackling untaxed and uninsured vehicles, stolen cars and the considerably broader one of 'denying criminals the use of the roads.'

Or as we like to call them, the slave class working for minimum wage who can't afford insurance.

Re:A culture prone to understatement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039250)

"The primary aims claimed for the system are tackling untaxed and uninsured vehicles, stolen cars and the considerably broader one of 'denying criminals the use of the roads.'
In other news, the Atlantic Ocean is described as being "considerably broader" than the English Channel.

I presume by criminals they mean anyone who breaks any traffic laws. Ever.

Speed Limit (3, Insightful)

PresidentEnder (849024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038990)

I just hope that the US doesn't adopt this idea.

Re:Speed Limit (1, Flamebait)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039146)

If that's all this was, I'd have no problem with it. Speeding fines are a voluntary tax. Everyone is able to stop paying them whenever they want. You just have to do this funny thing called "follow the law." If you want to be able to do whatever speed you want (like on the german Autobahn (spelling?)) then petition your congress critters (and work towards it with like-minded people and not giving up after one letter) or move to Germany.

However this isn't the only issue with these cameras. There's the privacy issue (will they be able to be used to show I buy drugs? For example, if I happen to stop a drug dealer on the road and talk with them asking for directions, will the fact I spoke with him be all that's needed to have my house searched?) and the cost issue (it aint going to be built for free y'know).

Re:Speed Limit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039194)

The State of Conn. has eyes from satilights ticketing speeders from space.

Not in America (3, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038993)

Good thing that America [expresstoll.com] does not have a way to track us. [speedingti...entral.com]

Re:Not in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039199)

But are the authoritahs actually issuing speeding tickets based on transponder toll payment time stamps?

Re:Not in America (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039241)

When I lived in CA, I was fighting a speeding ticket, and found out that it is illegal to issue a speeding ticket based on the time to travel between two points. So the tollway option that you listed here won't work in CA (Not sure about the other states, or if the law has changed since then). It made it nice for remote areas where the "Speed enforced by aircraft". They would have to catch you speeding in the aircraft, and then radio a car, and have the car catch you with radar or pace you.

Luckily, now I live in a large rural state, that only has 200 highway patrol officers [state.mt.us] for the entire state (1 officer for every 2,196 square miles if they each work an 8 hour shift every day). In my 50 mile one way commute, I go through 3 traffic signals (One turns off at night), and none of them have red light cameras.

So, there's no monitoring for me, but a whole lot of speeding :)

Yuo fail @ift.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039013)

walk 0p to a 4lay

Speeding tolerance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039028)

If the Brittons were to use this system to enforce speed limits, which I hope they won't, what would be an intelligent tolerance of speed above the marked speed limit? I can't see getting a fine for going 105km/h in a 100km/h zone, where do you draw the cut off? Use the system that's unofficially adopted in the US where you're pretty much safe going up to 10mp/h over the limit?

Much fairer speeding fines (1, Insightful)

kotku (249450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039036)

The point to point speeding measurements are much fairer than the spot speeding checks. For example if you average 150MPH down the freeway over 1km you can't really complain when you get busted. If however you get caught at 150MPH when passing a truck at the unfortunate location of a Gatso then that may just be bad luck.

Re:Much fairer speeding fines (2, Funny)

ztransform (929641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039133)

I have to say I totally agree with this.

There are times when the offence of speeding is hardly justified as a safety issue. Overtaking is one such time when, done properly, one may need to exceed the speed of the vehicle one is passing..

Of course one could have fun with this. After passing one vehicle registration plate recognition camera at 150MPH one could slam on the brakes and park on the motorway for a minute or so.. then drop the clutch and zoom off again..!

Re:Much fairer speeding fines (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039167)

If however you get caught at 150MPH when passing a truck at the unfortunate location of a Gatso then that may just be bad luck.

Aaah, no. That's not bad luck. That's illegal. Speeding to overtake somebody (unless that person is a danger to yourself, in which case you should report it to the police ASAP, if only to get out of a speeding fine) is illegal and dangerous. If the truck is driving slowly, then you are able to overtake them without speeding. Otherwise you should have no reason to overtake the truck.

Re:Much fairer speeding fines (0)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039178)

I seriously hope you intended to put KPH instead of MPH. ANYONE going 150MPH in a 65 zone ought to have their license revoked on the spot.

This isn't so bad (4, Insightful)

mgv (198488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039058)

I've always felt that these sorts of measures are alot better than the speed enforment that we have in Australia and many other places - The hidden multinova cameras that police now use here.

If you really want to stop speeding, this is the way to do it. All the time. Everywhere.

If it sounds radical, well at least it will mean that in the long run the speed limits themselves will have to be adjusted to something that is reasonable, rather than what has happened in most countries - speed limits that were set but which are only enforced a very tiny fraction of the time.

Also, getting done for doing too fast an average speed is far more important than getting unlucky for doing an instantaneous speed that is too fast at some random point in your trip. Almost everyone speeds a little at some time - unless you only use cruise control to drive with you will always run the risk of going too fast at some point when you aren't looking at your speedo. (And, its not exactly safe to drive the whole trip whilst looking only at your speed)

As for the privacy issues.

Well, I think its a little too late for anyone in the UK (maybe anywhere, really) to get worried about that. Look at the congestion tax in the UK (Automatic licence plate recognition). Look also at the ability to obtain a list of every base station that your mobile is associated with - the phone companies can do this if requested by a magistrate, although that usually only done in murder cases or similar. Look at the number of CCTV's that proliferate in every public place.

Unfortunatly, the invasion into our privacy has only just begun. There is no techonlogical way to avoid this - it will only get worse. Soon enough automatic facial recognition will be connected to all the CCTV's around and you will be trackable just for being visible. You can identify people by the way that they walk. Some systems now can identify potential suicides in the happening in train stations by the typical behaviour people make prior to jumping in front of trains.

The only solution to the privacy issues are legislative ones. You can't stop this level of data collection anymore, all we can do is ensure that only certain legitimate uses for it exist. This is the only way that any of us will have real protection in the future - if its in a constitution or in legislation.

Just my 2c worth,

Michael

Re:This isn't so bad (1)

arevos (659374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039224)

Unfortunatly, the invasion into our privacy has only just begun. There is no techonlogical way to avoid this - it will only get worse.

In terms of cameras and the like, I agree with you, though in terms of purely virtual privacy issues (for instance, monitoring instant messages and emails), it's reasonably easy to gain secure privacy through encryption and pseudonymous networks.

I just wish there were a way of applying this to meatspace :(

The only thing I have a problem with (5, Interesting)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039061)

is keeping the records for two years - I can't see any good reason for that. The cameras themselves aren't much different from the camera system already used to maintain the congestuion charge in central london and are overall a Good Thing. (As a cyclist I find that the largest regular threat to my life tends to originate from speeding/incompetent motorists - and I want them to be caught and have their licenses revoked)

Re:The only thing I have a problem with (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039260)

I'm sure you're one of the same bicyclists that never impedes traffic, stops at all stop signs, at red lights waits till their green even if there is no traffic oncoming and generally follows the same rules motorists have to...

Quarter miles? (1, Insightful)

numLocked (801188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039062)

It would appear that the times DID get the spacing wrong, since I seriously doubt the UK has randomly decided to use US units.

Re:Quarter miles? (3, Informative)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039120)

No, bizarely all our road lengths are still measured in imperial units - even though every other damned thing is metric (except milk and beer which come in pints).

Re:Quarter miles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039123)

Erm, actually us Brits use miles for distances not kms. Everything on our road network is in miles and speeds in miles per hour.

Re:Quarter miles? (1)

NeoThermic (732100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039143)

...

The UK uses miles for measuring road distance.

NeoThermic

Re:Quarter miles? (1)

Stuart Gibson (544632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039164)

Either I'm missing something or there is an impression that the US is the only country to still use miles. Speed limits and distances in the UK are all in MPH/miles.

Living in Northern Ireland makes for fun as once you cross the border to the Republic of Ireland you switch to KM for distance and MPH for speed limits whilst they're in the transistional phase to metric :)

Stuart

No intent proven (3, Informative)

ear1grey (697747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039070)

... one every quarter of a mile on motorways quite clearly means they'll be used to enforce speed limits as well...

The regularity of the cameras is irrelevant, you only have to know the distance between them, and ensure their clocks are in sync to be able to issue a speeding ticket.

So thinking around the subject:

  • If you want to monitor road usage to check up on tax discs you only need one set of ANPR cameras between each junction.
  • If you want to monitor speed over distance you need two or more APNR camera sets.
  • Having multiple regular cameras makes it easier to passively monitor the progress of vehicles. What this will give the government/police is the ability to track certain people, and more importantly, to gain an understanding of road usage patterns.

moD up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039076)

dying. SSe? It's Has run faster an arduous Said. 'Screaming IS THE WORST OFF

A very moral government (3, Insightful)

FishandChips (695645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039109)

Every Western country is facing Big Brother issues. However, I wonder if the UK has created its own issue here: whether it is wise or moral to criminalize huge numbers of the population with the aim of raising extra revenue for the government. Few in the UK would argue that the present system of speed cameras (they are called Gatso cameras) is designed for much else other than making money for the state.

I guess if a government goes about giving very large numbers of otherwise law-abiding citizens a criminal record they should not expect much more than cynicism when it comes to other social problems. We are then all the losers.

A by-product of the current obsession with safety is that enormous sums have to be spent on repairing emergency vehicles whose suspension is wrecked going over speed bumps in urban areas. In addition, more acute cases die because it takes longer for an ambulance to get them to hospital and the ride there is bumpy to say the least. It might even turn out that the safety obsession kills more people than it is intended to save.

Meanwhile, new licensing laws in the UK permitting the sale of alcohol 24/7 promise many mores deaths from alcohol abuse and its fallout. Liver disease from alcohol abuse among those under 30 is several hundred per cent higher than it was even twenty years ago. Apparently it's OK to drink yourself to death in the UK, but woe betide you if you get in an automobile stone cold sober.

Re:A very moral government (0, Troll)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039159)

Making otherwise law-abiding citizens criminal?

The government doesn't force you to speed - you made that choice yourself. Admittedly the punishment should not be a fine -- it should be a temporary ban on driving and a requirement that you repass your test. Repeat offences should result in a permanent ban.

A car is a deadly piece of machinary - if you can't abide by the safety regulations you are not competant to use it.

Escalation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039116)

So, if you want to steal a car and not get caught when the driver reports it stolen, take the driver too. We have the same thing with cars that are very hard to steal. You can't hot wire them, do just take the driver too.

The criminals will get used to these things and find ways around them. The ones who suffer from all this surveillance will be the 'honest' folk, ie. you and me.

Why is speeding a crime? (3, Interesting)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039117)

What I don't understand is why speeding is so strictly enforced with this system. It's an entirely arbitrary system (well, loosely based on some aspect of the road) that is outdated for current car designs. Do you think my 1,500lb escort should have the same speed limit as some guys 2 ton '88 Cadillac, or an H2? Should I be forced to drive at the same speed as a senile senior citizen?

What about other circumstances where I sped up to avoid an accident, or to avoid further traffic congestion (as in moving into place to merge into an open spot rather than having 10 people brake behind you)?

Re:Why is speeding a crime? (1)

Darius Jedburgh (920018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039222)

It's an entirely arbitrary system...
We could have systems where we have a ton of bureaucracy to decide whether or not the particular combination of you and your car qualifies for traveling at this or that speed. You decide to use performance tires on your car and now you have to send a document to the DMV or DVLA and wait 6 months as they process the application to allow you to travel 3.5mph faster by which time you've reached an age of 40 and you no longer qualify for that 2.5mph bonus you had for being old enough to drive wisely but not old enough that your reflexes have started slowing.

I think I'll stick with a global speed limit for all.

Killing the Golden Goose (1)

daemon_lothar (254599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039129)

I don't know about the UK but if such a system were to result in speed compliance in a place like Texas, then many little (and not so little) towns would no longer be able to generate vast amounts of revenue from travelers who are just passing through and pay the fines just to be done with it. In my own case I'd really have liked to had this system then I could have successfully fought the false speed allegation (92 mph in a 70 mph zone with a $291 fine) that a state trooper leveled against me. In the end paying the locals off was easiest. It would be funny for the turkeys to have to tax themselves for a change.

So now that they have these little monitors... (1)

Torinir (870836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039156)

I expect donut shops in the UK to experience a large sales increase shortly. :-p

potential for good, and bad (0)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039168)

I think there is genuine potential for good out these kinds of systems, and while I'm not inclined to respond to The Register articles, on this I'll call bull on at least one thing. From the slashdot article:

The Register further reports that the system will likely be used for issuing speeding fines.

The nearest thing I can find related to this is the experimental attempt by users of this new system to "enforce variable speed limits", which doesn't necessarily mean "issue speeding tickets". I think it's probably more along the lines of exactly what it describes, "variable" speed limits, i.e. limits that change based on variables!

The Register in typical fashion infers by the placement of readers .25 miles apart that this "quite clearly means they'll be used to enforce speed limits as well". I don't think the inference is necessarily or even likely correct.

I don't know why these things always raise the specter that the world is turning Big Brother all the time. Many crimes have been solved (and who knows how many have been prevented) by surveillance devices, thank goodness!

And, if by having these types of systems in place we find certain drivers like to drive 100mph, great!, I for one am sick of subsidizing their behavior in my overloaded insurance premiums.

I could cite many more instances of good brought by these technologies, and certainly could cite two good results for any perceived bad results from this system.

As an aside, I didn't see a single believable real reference to bad results from this system, simply rehashes of constant old paranoia for which I've not seen many real cases (I know some exist).

Not new - already in use (2, Interesting)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039174)

This has already been reported by the bbc ( more reliable than The Register ) where a camera has been used to record car licence plates on entry to a car park, and generate automatic fines if a matching parking ticket was not purchased.

The system failed miserably because it falsely recorded cars *passing by* the car park.

It's a real intrusion, but on the other hand, try getting compensation if you are in an accident with someone driving without insurance.

I'll stick to monitoring speed cameras :o)

They deserve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039176)

All this wouldn't have happened if they drived on the correct side of roads.

Just my .02 euros.

Re:They deserve (0, Troll)

Widowwolf (779548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039232)

The use of the word is DROVE not drived..please learn enlgish before spreading your ignorance.

Waaaaambulance (0, Flamebait)

Ribbo.com (885396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039190)

Seems to be a lot of people crying about the system. They probably enjoy breaking the speed limit. Here is a controvertial little thought though. If you need to get somewhere for a certain time, how about leaving 20 minutes earlier and not speeding? Your life can't be that hard to get in order than you cannot manage it. I have no complaints about methods being brought in place like this. One of the big advantages of the system is the government will be able to track where all the traffic is going and where from. What this means is that if there is a lot of traffic in certain areas they will then subsidise local and national public transport to put on services in the area and reduce the car overload. This was last achieved by the UK national census in 2000, some of the questions asking people about their travel habits. I really do not see the issue about someone knowing what you're up to, after all, you all know i'm sat at my computer right now having written this reply. How ever will I live with you knowing that information?

Let's watch the watchers (4, Insightful)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039197)

The romans posed the question "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?"

I would be in favor of a system to track the movements of all cars and issue speeding violations as long as the data is a matter of public record and it can be proven (for example, via Freedom of Information requests) that all traffic regulations are being strictly enforce on all public officials, including elected official, appointed official, off duty police and their families, friends, and relatives, and anybody else in a position of influence.

If a speed limit is too low, I'm sure it would get rapidly fixed if there were 100% enforcement of fines and penalties against senators and representatives.

If a speed limit is, in fact, valid and legitimate for safety reasons then 100% enforcement is certainly a good thing.

The problem occurs when traffic regulations are constructed in such a way that everybody violates them because they are unreasonable and the police use them as a means of selectively grabbing people they have an illegitimate beef against.

Easy to Defeat just like congestion charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14039200)

Number Plate Recognition:

1) Swap Plates
2) Do Crime
3) Restore Plates
4) Profit and pity the fool who's plate number you used now doing bird.

Oh yes and use the information to quash dissenting groups just like those 'terror' laws.

And store the information in an easy to access place (such as a secure server) so criminals can profit from it too.

Does anyone else feel that the UK is becoming an ultra right wing religious police state?

Circumvention (2, Interesting)

ktappe (747125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039206)

I see a sudden market emerging for adhesive tape for modifying license plate numbers/letters to confuse the cameras. WIth little effort 5's make great 6's, 0's and 3's transmogrify into 8's, C's become 0's. And suddenly your car becomes anonymous. *cough* Not that I advocate this of course. -Kurt

Miles? (-1, Redundant)

blueforce (192332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039223)

When did the UK switch from using kilometers to miles??

huh.

Sadness (3, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039255)

I'm feeling sad that these kind of measures can be introduced in the UK and the citizens of the UK doesn't feel the need to throw those responsible for this surveilance into the ocean or something.

Seriously, why is it, that we have to live in such a passive society? Like if it would have been bred for obedience.

First, there were cameras on the streets and noone said a word
Then, there were monitoring of cars and noone said a word
...
Finally, when I got stripped from all my freedoms, labeled a criminal, then, there was noone to say a word.

Sad.
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