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Police Given Access to Congestion-Charge Cameras

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the creep-hard-to-stop dept.

Privacy 293

The BBC is reporting that anti-terror Police officers in London have been given live access to the "congestion charge cameras", allowing them to view and track vehicles in real time. This is a change from the original procedure that required them to apply for access on a case-by-case basis. "Under the new rules, anti-terror officers will be able to view pictures in "real time" from Transport for London's (Tfl) 1,500 cameras, which use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to link cars with owners' details. But they will only be able to use the data for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime, the Home Office stressed."

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293 comments

Can you taste that? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905295)

Mmm, frog stew.

Form Letter (5, Funny)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905299)

Dear Sir/Madam: Laden, Osama, bin

Your flagrant disregard for paying of the £8-a-day toll has been noted. Your days are numbered, Sir.

Re:Form Letter (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19906225)

Finally, those dirty fucking sand niggers will get their day in court. They're lucky they will get that, we should just fucking lynch 'em like in the good old days.

The best part. (5, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905309)

only be able to use the data for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime, the Home Office stressed

Yeah, for now.

Re:The best part. (5, Insightful)

Nightwraith (180411) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905353)

Yep. And they weren't to be used for National Security purposes when installed.

This is why you don't give a mouse a cookie...

Re:The best part. (4, Insightful)

cuantar (897695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905493)

Yeah, just like the American government only uses the Patriot Act for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime, like drug dealers and street gangs... *cough*

No, *this* is the best part (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905653)

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the change was needed to deal with the "enduring vehicle-borne terrorist threat to London".

That "enduring threat" seems to consist of two recent attempts, both bungled by incompetent notscaryists, to let off car bombs in central London using previously unknown vehicles. Remind me how tracking everyone everywhere is going to do anything whatsoever to prevent that happening again?

The next time... (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905793)

The next time... ...the car bombs which don't blow up will be in larger SUVs, and will have scary faces painted on the front of them.

-- Terry

Re:No, *this* is the best part (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905969)

Remind me how tracking everyone everywhere is going to do anything whatsoever to prevent that happening again?

If they try again, at least the cops will be able to say that the cars were not previously unknown?

Re:No, *this* is the best part (1, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906057)

That attack was clearly carried out by enemies of Oceania, specifically Emmanuel Goldstein and Eurasia! Please take comfort in the security measures now in place on Airstrip One [wikipedia.org].

Re:No, *this* is the best part (3, Funny)

Knave75 (894961) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906083)

[Deep in the top secret control room]

Officer #1: Sir! Murder in progress!
Supervisor: Ignore that, we are not allowed to act on that information.
Officer #1: But sir! The victim is alive and crawling away... slowly... unseen for now...
Supervisor: Nope, terror only boy, terror only.

Meanwhile...

Officer #2: Sir! A turban-wearing terrorist is driving a car within 20km of the airport!
Supervisor: How do you know it is a terrorist?
Officer #2: Why else would a single man drive a car to the airport?
Supervisor: Good point...
Supervisor: CODE RED CODE RED! TERROR ATTACK IN PROGRESS. SCRAMBLE CHOPPERS, NUKE THE CAR!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yeah, this is going to work well.

Re:The best part. (1, Insightful)

Hodar (105577) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905693)

Let me see if I understand.
If a bomb does go off - people will scream "Why didn't you prevent this! Look at the senseless loss of life! Our police are useless".

If the police use existing cameras to OBSERVE you; you become paranoid and delusional about police spying on you. Let's have just a wee bit of common sense. If the police were 1% as competent as you are giving them credit for; every murder would be solved, no mugger would walk the streets and all traffic fines would be collected. Car theft wouldn't exist, neither would rape, burlary or purse snatchers.

Best case - police solve more crimes.
Wost case - police watch you and I live our BORING lives. You are just not that important; no one cares what you do. Break some laws, well; then things are a wee bit different then.

Re:The best part. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905919)

I don't know where you live but I live in the UK.

Most UK residents have lived with the ever-present threat of terrorism from the IRA for decades.

Naturally, we are horrified when acts of terrorism happen but most of us don't look for someone to blame except the terrorists themselves.

Indeed, the opposite is true. When the suspected IRA bombers were shot on Gibraltar, the nation was largely horrified by the actions of the SAS.

When the London bombings of 2005 took us by surprise, I don't recall anybody saying "Why didn't you prevent this!" - except the tabloid media. The terrorists were UK residents, educated and travelling around a *free country* - which I fear we're losing.

Re:The best part. (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906045)

No, Worst Case is (for example), police catch politician sneaking into hotel with his mistress, and then the recording gets used to blackmail said politician into supporting some unsavory law. Ever heard of the files of J. Edgar Hoover?

Re:The best part. (2, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906161)

Wost case - police watch you and I live our BORING lives

And once in a while, something funny, embarassing, or otherwise destructive to one's social character mysteriously shows up on YouTube or a BBC comedy show take-off of "funny videos". Mind you that you can be on your utmost best behavior in public, and still be a hapless victim caught up in someone else's asshattery.

Yeah no one cares too much about what you do as long as it's legal, moral and ethical. But if it's at least mildly entertaining, it's marketable, regardless of whether it's legal, moral, or ethical to do so.

I think the problem that most people have is despite the police being held accountable to very high standards of integrity, police are people, too. Abuse, while rare, still happens because of this fact. Thinking of it in another way, many people consider themselves to be under the constant watch of God. The police are not God, nor can they fully act in a godly, devine, and omnipotent manner. Why try to move them closer (albeit in a very small step) to the empowerment of such that they are incapable of handling? (Okay, there's my crack at philosophy for the day...)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: (3, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906183)

This was always coming [slashdot.org].

Whatever it is they're doing, whatever reason it is they give for it, if there's anything about it such that they say 'no, no, we'd never use it that way' - they're planning to do just that, just as soon as they can get away with it.

Re:The best part. (2, Insightful)

stewwy (687854) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906235)

According to BBC radio4 this evening, it will be used to fight terrorism and any other crime . I tend to think R4 is more accurate than the BBC generally. Its listenership makes the grammar NAZI's on here look tame and the slightest inaccuracy is generally picked up and commented on

Re:The best part. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19906387)

Have you ever considered that fact that BBC Radio 4 is run by the BBC?

Slope: Slippery (2, Insightful)

popejeremy (878903) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905325)

You mean that when people give power to other people that the powerful might use their power to get more power even if they promised not to?

Re:Slope: Slippery (1, Funny)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905627)

Yeah, but they promised. It's cool man, relax.

Re:Slope: Slippery (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905751)

I would mod you +1 funny,m except your post is what they actually do want us to believe. It is therefore I must mod you +1 scarycauseitstrue.

yeah but... (2, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905337)

isn't this just enabling police to watch things happen instead of doing things about it?

Re:yeah but... (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905461)

Observation is a form of evidence collection.

Police usually only act when they have a reasonable amount of proof that some illegal act is/has been committed. It's a precursor to "doing things about it."

Re:yeah but... (1)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905743)

I read your comment out of context, and it scared the shit out of me. :)

If observation is a form of evidence collection, and they only act when they have evidence of a crime, then by now seeing a lot more "evidence", there will be a lot more to act on. Turning otherwise normal people into criminals.

Re:yeah but... (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905937)

Exactly. They have to see a crime before they can do anything, thus, the bomb has to go off before they can do anything. So, tell us again how this prevents tragic loss of life?

Can Someone please tag this "haha" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905365)

Because we all knew it was coming. And we all know the line about not being used for normal law enforcement won't hold water.

Re:Can Someone please tag this "haha" (2, Funny)

chaney (526944) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905501)

I guess I'll be returning that "terrorist" vanity plate now...

you mean, "on the record," right? (4, Insightful)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905371)

"The BBC is reporting that anti-terror Police officers in London have been given live access to the "congestion charge cameras", allowing them to view and track vehicles in real time. "

If the anti-terror Police officers in London are anything like the anti-terror officers in the States, I would suspect that public acknowledgment means it's been going on for a decade, minimum.

Re:you mean, "on the record," right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905645)

They have been doing for ages but they had to ask for a court order. The only difference now is that that they can do it in real-time.

Re:you mean, "on the record," right? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905691)

If the anti-terror Police officers in London are anything like the anti-terror officers in the States, I would suspect that public acknowledgment means it's been going on for a decade, minimum.

Considering that the London congestion charge has only been in operation itself for a little over four years, that is unlikely.

Perhaps instead of inventing scare stories during these discussions, it would be best to focus on the real dangers posed by the real actions of real people?

Re:you mean, "on the record," right? (1)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905981)

Considering that the London congestion charge has only been in operation itself for a little over four years, that is unlikely.

Perhaps instead of inventing scare stories during these discussions, it would be best to focus on the real dangers posed by the real actions of real people?
I read the GP's post as snark not to be taken (completely) seriously.

His post was like taking a pie to a knife fight.
Your post was like taking a gun to a pie fight.

Re:you mean, "on the record," right? (1)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906095)

His post was like taking a pie to a knife fight. Your post was like taking a gun to a pie fight.
Yeah I don't know what I meant here either.

Re:you mean, "on the record," right? (1)

leenks (906881) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905727)

This would be impressive, given that the congestion charge cameras were only installed in 2003.

Re:you mean, "on the record," right? (1)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906119)

::laughs at the people missing the forest because they're busy arguing about the trees::

New Rules? (4, Insightful)

keithmo (453716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905373)

"Under the new rules... will only be able to use the data for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime..."

Until, of course, they change the rules again.

Re:New Rules? (3, Interesting)

obergfellja (947995) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905511)

unless it is written in an important document (like a constitution)... oh wait, it can always be changed. Look at what Bush has done with the patriot act. If someone speaks out against him in public, it is now a crime, yet we HAD freedom of speech (to speak out against the leader if we chose to do so).

Re:New Rules? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905537)

Until, of course, they change the rules again.
Which is why they shouldn't be allowed to administratively change the rules.

Mr McNulty said the home secretary had signed a certificate exempting the two organisations from some provisions of the 1998 Data Protection Act.
How much do you want to bet that there isn't much oversight provided by the law.
After all, how could they anticipate future exemptions?

Considering how many muslims have invaded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905401)

This is sorely needed. IRA2.0.

Re:Considering how many muslims have invaded (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905711)

Yeah, that's right. Kill the Muslims, because all 1.6 million [britishembassy.gov.uk] of them living in the UK must be terrorists!

Don't you even consider that if you tolerate all Muslims being murdered then maybe you'll be next? And that if all Muslims were terrorists then we'd have a full-scale civil war going on?

Just remember that most of those people who have 'invaded' are normal, peaceful, law abiding citizens. Stop reading The Sun and The Daily Mail, pull your head out of your arse and get a grip on reality. Please, for the sake of our society.

No Take Backs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905409)

I'm sure this is the last thing you need to stop terrorism, but if it's not--though I'm certain it is--when exactly do you plan on giving up this new power?

A freedom lost is a freedom rarely won back. When will the freedom to cross into a "congestion zone" without being tagged be won back?

Hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905419)

"But they will only be able to use the data for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime, the Home Office stressed."

Because heaven forbid they're used to solve murders and rapes.

Re:Hm (4, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905549)

And then what? Assult? Property damage? Jaywalking? Littering? Unregistered gatherings...that simply turns out to be three people waiting for the lorry?

It always seems reasonable until it becomes too late to change it.

Beauuutiful example (4, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905455)

This is a perfect example of how the government creates a system that COULD be abused but has a legitimate purpose initially. The people allow it, so long as it is not used for evil. Then, once the government has it in place, the rules are changed. I'll have to remember this one next time somebody gives the argument that we don't have to worry about the some new PATRIOT-style act.

Yep. (2, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905837)

It's interesting that folks who are so worried about getting killed by a terrorist, they allow things like this to happen - thinking that the terrorist's goal is to kill people.

Then, our Government(s) do things like the article with the blessing of the majority of folks thinking that they're "fighting" terrorism, when in fact, by reacting they way they are, they are playing right into the hands of the terrorists.

The terrorists want to cause terror and make us react in exactly the way we (the majority) have been - giving up our civil rights, running around panicking, and anytime there's even a threat of an attack, our level goes up to "Orange" or some such nonsense.

I don't know about you, but Osama and gang have been very effectual and are doing a great job winning the "War on Terror" (TM). (We're living in a state of terror - aren't we?)

I really can't blame the Governments too much because if they just say, "Shit happens and we can't panic. We'll work on this and bring these guys to justice. And in the meantime, let's see what we can do to stop this kind of activity in the World." It'll never happen because the general public wouldn't accept it.

Re:Yep. (1)

bcharr2 (1046322) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906433)

"Living in a state of terror" is both beyond the comprehension of most westerners and a slander to those who died so that we could be largely ignorant of what it is we enjoy every day of our lives. If you live in the UK or US then you have probably never experienced many MOMENTS of terror, let alone LIVED in terror. So while we should be vigilant we also should be thankful for the freedoms we have, grateful to those who died so that we could have them, and honor those who sacrifice so much to maintain them even to this day.

Also, if you truly believe that police monitoring TRAFFIC cameras in the UK was one of the goals of the terrorists then I want to have words with your teachers. They have sadly let you down in both your education and critical thinking skills.

Re:Yep. (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906475)

So while we should be vigilant we also should be thankful for the freedoms we have, grateful to those who died so that we could have them, and honor those who sacrifice so much to maintain them even to this day.

This rationale illustrates a common myth.

Re:Yep. (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906457)

I really can't blame the Governments too much because if they just say, "Shit happens and we can't panic. We'll work on this and bring these guys to justice. And in the meantime, let's see what we can do to stop this kind of activity in the World." It'll never happen because the general public wouldn't accept it.

Perhaps it could be said, then, that owing to human nature, terrorism is guaranteed to work?

Re:Beauuutiful example (1)

wica128 (1129907) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906079)

This is true, here in The Netherlands. They use cameras which can listen to the sounds in RT. The city Rotterdam is going to use this system to scan cars to check if it belongs to someone. Who did not paid his tax, open fines and more. Public transportation. Is going to use 1 chipcard, If you don't register your card, you pay extra. etc, etc .. This without a anti-terror law.

Yeah, that'll last. (4, Insightful)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905525)

>But they will only be able to use the data for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime, the Home Office stressed.

I wonder how long that'll last... which is to say, I wonder for how long they've already been using the data to at least track ordinary crime, just waiting for the general public to give up caring enough that they can use the reams of data they've collected with impunity. Or whether we, over here in the USA, will even find out that this kind of technology exists and is being used.

Anything the government can use against its citizens, it probably already is, and if not, it's only because of technical limitations they're busily trying to fix.

RE: United Kingdom , Tony Blair, George Bush (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905565)

Maybe I'm naturally oversensitive, or maybe someone just slipped me decaf coffee this morning, but social stability and family unity are two things that intemperate ideologues have no concern for. Some background is in order: Tony Blair's promise of equality is a false one. Excuse me; that's not entirely correct. What I meant to say is that if it weren't for ethically bankrupt filthy-types, Blair would have no friends. For your edification, I should point out that whatever your age, you now have only one choice. That choice is between a democratic, peace-loving regime that, you hope, may inculcate in the reader an inquisitive spirit and a skepticism about beliefs that Blair's legatees take for granted and, as the alternative, the irresponsible and absenteeism-oriented dirigisme currently being forced upon us by Blair. Choose carefully, because Blair's cringers are unified under a common goal. That goal is to undermine the foundations of society until a single thrust suffices to make the entire edifice collapse.

Not to belabor the point, but when you tell Blair's operatives that I don't think Blair understands what quislingism means to all the people it hurts, they begin to get fidgety, and their eyes begin to wander. They really don't care. They have no interest in hearing that he easily impresses his functionaries using big words like "incontrovertibleness". But there's the rub; he believes that his blessing is the equivalent of a papal imprimatur. Sorry, but I have to call foul on that one. Let Blair's deceitful, sinister beliefs (as I would certainly not call them logically reasoned arguments) stand as evidence that when a friend wants to drive inebriated, you try to stop him. Well, Blair is drunk with power, which is why we must make this world a better place in which to live. If I am doomed to get fired from my job, then he will obviously use scapegoating as a foil to draw anger away from more accurate targets some day. This is well illustrated in what remains one of the most divisive issues of our day: Bonapartism. All I can tell you is what matters to me: I have a New Year's resolution for Blair: He should pick up a book before he jumps to the socially inept conclusion that he can achieve his goals by friendly and moral conduct.

You, of course, now need some hard evidence that Blair is fiddling while Rome burns. Well, how about this for evidence: I have always been an independent thinker. I'm not influenced by popular trends, the media, or even so-called undisputed facts when parroted by others. Maybe that streak of independence is what first enabled me to see that Blair's causeries are not our only concern. To state the matter in a few words, it is easy to see faults in others. But it takes perseverance to deal stiffly with paltry imbeciles who restructure the social, political, and economic relationships throughout the entire society. Do you really think that children don't need as much psychological attentiveness, protection, and obedience training as the treasured household pet, as Blair claims? Wake up! Blair's nostrums are not witty satire, as he would have you believe. They're simply the ill-bred ramblings of someone who has no idea or appreciation of what he's mocking. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of individuals and organizations, many of whom may seem innocent at first glance, who secretly want to understate the negative impact of Maoism. Moving on, his methods are much subtler now than ever before. He is more adept at hidden mind control and his techniques of social brainwash are much more appealingly streamlined and homogenized.

I myself have a scientist's respect for objective truth. That's why I'm telling you that we've tolerated Blair's treacherous agendas long enough. It's time to lose our patience and chill our kindness. It's time to step back and consider the problem of Blair's utterances in the larger picture of popular culture imagery. It's time to shout to the world that he seems to assume that he is omnipotent. This is an assumption of the worst kind because he somehow manages to maintain a straight face when saying that the health effects of secondhand smoke are negligible. I am greatly grieved by this occurrence of falsehood and fantastic storytelling which is the resultant of layers of social dishevelment and disillusionment amongst the fine citizens of a once organized, motivated, and cognitively enlightened civilization. Of course, I'm generalizing a little here. But that's only because Blair is always prating about how black is white and night is day. (He used to say that two wrongs make a right, but the evidence is too contrary, so he's given up on that score.)

Blair wants to offer hatred with an intellectual gloss. You know what groups have historically wanted to do the same thing? Fascists and Nazis. While pigheaded slubberdegullions have previously relied on violence to get their way, their new manipulation of disgraceful allegations has combined with violence to cause mealymouthed subversion to gather momentum on college campuses. I unequivocally have a hard time trying to reason with people who remain calm when they see Blair turn us into easy prey for silly Neanderthals (especially the obscene type). Just because he and his secret police don't like being labelled as "annoying freeloaders" or "unenlightened authoritarians" doesn't mean the shoe doesn't fit. This raises another important point: You'd think that someone would have done something by now to thwart Blair's plans to produce culturally degenerate films and tapes. Unfortunately, most people are quite happy to "go along to get along" and are rather reluctant to illustrate the virtues that he lacks -- courage, truthfulness, courtesy, honesty, diligence, chivalry, loyalty, and industry. It is imperative that we inform such people that if you think that arriving at a true state of comprehension is too difficult and/or time-consuming, then think again.

How is it that I knew from the beginning that Blair would peddle the snake oil of lame-brained propagandism? Am I smarter than everyone else? No, not at all. I'll admit that I'm smarter than Tony Blair but that's like saying that I'm smarter than a toad. I knew what Blair would do because I realized that he sees himself as a postmodern equivalent of Marx's proletariat, revolutionizing the world by wresting it from its oppressors (viz., those who promote peace, prosperity, and quality of life, both here and abroad).

It's not necessary to go into too long of a description about how Blair plans to meddle in everyone else's affairs before long. Suffice it to say that it is more than a purely historical question to ask, "How did his reign of terror start?" or even the more urgent question, "How might it end?". No, we must ask, "In view of his wild expedients, what does it make sense for us to do now?" The answer is obvious if you understand that what he is doing is not an innocent, recreational sort of thing. It is a criminal activity, it is an immoral activity, it is a socially destructive activity, and it is a profoundly subhuman activity.

Though many people agree that we must work together against expansionism, snobbism, commercialism, etc., our national media is controlled by eccentric, boisterous simpletons. That's why you probably haven't heard that I plan to convince temperamental, dysfunctional windbags to stop supporting Blair and tolerating his fibs. Are you with me -- or against me? Whatever you decide, I am convinced that there will be a strong effort on Blair's part to lead us, lemminglike, over the precipice of self-destruction one day. This effort will be disguised, of course. It will be cloaked in deceit, as such efforts always are. That's why I'm informing you that I have often maintained that reasonable people can reasonably disagree. Unfortunately, when dealing with Blair and his adulators, that claim assumes facts not in evidence. So let me claim instead that I would very much like to see Blair crawl back under the rock he slithered out from. Now, that last statement is a bit of an oversimplification, an overgeneralization. But it is nevertheless substantially true. Blair takes things out of context, twists them around, and then neglects to provide decent referencing so the reader can check up on him. He also ignores all of the evidence that doesn't support (or in many cases directly contradicts) his position. We can't afford to be so bad-tempered in such difficult times. Which brings me to my next criticism of Blair. Would he like it if I were sinful and abusive, too? I don't think so.

Some people have compared power-hungry sots to pea-brained, bitter schemers. I would like to take the comparison one step further: Blair hates people who have huge supplies of the things he lacks. What he lacks the most is common sense, which underlies my point that Blair believes that 75 million years ago, a galactic tyrant named Xenu solved the overpopulation problem of his 76-planet federation by transporting the excess people to Earth, chaining them to volcanoes, and dropping H-bombs on them. That's just wrong. He further believes that anyone who disagrees with him is ultimately possession-obsessed. Wrong again! For better or for worse, he makes decisions based on random things glamorized by the press and the resulting rantings of self-serving antagonists. From this anecdotal evidence, I would argue that Blair has -- not once, but several times -- been able to advertise "magical" diets and bogus weight-loss pills without anyone stopping him. How long can that go on? As long as his violent fulminations are kept on life support. That's why we have to pull the plug on them and enable adversaries to meet each other and establish direct personal bonds which contradict the stereotypes they rely upon to power their peremptory platitudes.

Blair's dissertations owe much to the circulars of uncompanionable beguilers, and every intellectually honest person knows it. Lest I forget to mention this later, whenever Blair announces that he is a spokesman for God, his helpers applaud on cue and the accolades are long and ostentatious. What's funny is that they don't provide similar feedback whenever I tell them that many people have witnessed Blair plague our minds. Blair generally insists that his witnesses are mistaken and blames his baleful wheelings and dealings on the most unbalanced ogres I've ever seen. It's like he has no-fault insurance against personal responsibility. What's more, Blair's garrulous fantasy fits neatly into his fork-tongued model of society. If, after hearing facts like that, you still believe that racialism is the key to world peace, then there is undoubtedly no hope for you. After hearing about Blair's vile attempts to pit race against race, religion against religion, and country against country, I was saddened. I was saddened that he has lowered himself to this level. I've never bothered Blair. Yet Blair wants to nail people to trees. Whatever happened to "live and let live"? I hope I haven't bored you by writing an entire letter about Tony Blair. Still, this letter was the best way to explain to you that I must expand people's understanding of Blair's directionless values if we are fully to appreciate the entire menace represented by unstable euphuists.

Re: United Kingdom , Tony Blair, George Bush (3, Funny)

brain159 (113897) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905633)

Hey, dumbass - it's not Blair any more.

Do try to keep up. A little search-and-replace could keep your batshit insane rantings looking nice and fresh.

Re: United Kingdom , Tony Blair, George Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905677)

But he used the word "slubberdegullion" -- that's nice and fresh enough for me!

Thanks For Playing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905915)


Dear Genius:

Where did I state that Blair was IT?

Unless you've been holding court with President-VICE Richard B. Cheney in his spider-hole, you'd know that
Tony Blair is not out of the picture yet.

Blair can still be IT despite not having the role of Prime Minister.

Cheers,
K.

Re: United Kingdom , Tony Blair, George Bush (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905781)

Sirrah,

You are clearly madder than Mad Jack McMad on a mad day,

It is obvious to everyone in the country that Bair is easily led by anything shiney, and has no grasp of the concept of truth.

However, the alternative is not very convincing "We are the party of convictions - most of us have been convicted of fraud or corruption" has not been a successful campaign for the Tories. And the liberal-democrat plea "More tax is better - pay more tax" is not going to win them a lot of votes.

"Better the devil you know" is the winner every time! And we all know who is the devil.

Vote for McAbre - the Grim Sweeper" (Private joke, no admittance)

Re: United Kingdom , Tony Blair, George Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905905)

And we all know who is the devil.

Maybe, but by the sounds of things we don't all know who's leading the government [wikipedia.org].

Re: United Kingdom , Tony Blair, George Bush (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906365)

by the sounds of things we don't all know who's leading the government.

Oh, yeah, massively different! The puppets change, but its the same show!

This time with feeling! (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906265)

Could you do that agin, but this time with references to back up your claims. And also a picture of xenu?

This might be a silly question, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905579)

What is an "ordinary" crime?

Re:This might be a silly question, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905763)

minor (GHB) and major (murder), theft etc

Jean Charles de Menezes (5, Insightful)

tsbiscaro (888711) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905583)

The offices can't even tell the difference between 2 photos. Jean was murdered by London officers after they mislead him with a Muslim terrorist that lived at the same building. An officer took a picture of Jean, sent to the police headquarters, and they said: "that's it, he's our man". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Charles_de_Menez es [wikipedia.org]

Re:Jean Charles de Menezes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905731)

So what. Sorry for the guy, but he was only a brazilian electrician. They come a dime a dozen. It's not like a German businessman or a French journalist were harmed, for Europe's sake. Don't get all agitated about some non-European untermensch.

Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905591)

But they will only be able to use the data for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime, the Home Office stressed."

Yeah, they're going to be watching the video, see someone getting mugged / raped / murdered and say "oh, just ignore it, that's not a security issue".

Is it? (1)

prxp (1023979) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905617)

At least they are being honest about using those systems on people now. I'd rather be dead certain someone is watching my every step than keep this eternal doubt about whether or not governments really use this on regular people. Do they really? Come on!

Why stress this out? (1)

Hydrogen_NL (699949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905629)

"But they will only be able to use the data for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime, the Home Office stressed."

In The Netherlands the police is already using ANPR for quite some time to catch criminals. Why doesn't the UK do this? What's wrong with fighting ordinary crime like that?

For example, it will help getting those stolen cars back rather quickly, and you may even want to have alarm bells ringing if numberplates are unrecognisable, as long as you have a police force big enough to chase them all ;-)

Okay, a difference is that the Dutch are using this system on highways, and not in cities.

The Dutch trust their government (1)

tom_evil (1121495) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906143)

And the Dutch government is not exactly known for tyrannical abuse of power or corruption.

Whereas in the Anglophone countries, that is all we seem to have these days. Add that to a rich tradition of distrusting government, and the government knowing that its own people distrust it, and it is bound to create even more of an authoritarian reaction in the form of bait-and-switch surveillance and scheming.

Re:Why stress this out? (2, Informative)

Wombat2k (693873) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906287)

The UK uses ANPR for this too. Here you have to get home office type approval for a camera to perform a specific function. Data must be deleted ASAP if no offence can be proved. An ANPR speed camera must remove any non-offending data as soon as possible. A surveillance camera connected to the PNC must delete data within 48 hours unless the plate is black listed. The congestion charging cameras can only transmit a hashed VRM and can only store data if an offence happened. ( so it is possible to track backwards a vehicle with a known numberplate). A camera that is used outside it`s approved function cannot provide admissible evidence. I know of only two times when the police used ANPR data outside of it`s defined spec. Once when a WPC was shot in Bradford and recently when there was an attempted bombing. The police need to act quickly if they need to use a type approved device outside it`s designed function. The new law makes it faster for the police to gain access when they need to. Stressing this out is required because there are a lot more cameras here. The UK has laws that protect against data being kept for longer than is needed. I can understand the home office reaction that police might need access to ANPR cameras that might have security concerns...BUT it`s good to keep an eye on them in case of abuse.

Let me take a wild guess (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19906313)

It's pretty clear that you've never been the victim of police harassment. Or of government harassment. Folks in those positions use every tool possible to harass people they don't like, if they can get away with it.

Heck, one woman here in the States reported that the traffic cop who pulled her over ran a check on her recent purchases (thanks to the credit card datamines) and told her what type of underwear she had recently bought.

Let me also guess that you've never been the victim of sexual harassment.

There's a very good reason why it's a good thing to limit power of those on the government payroll. It's because this power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I suppose you can live like a cog in a wheel, and always living under the threat of never trying to piss your masters off. But there's a price to paid for living free. And that price involves limiting the power of those who would enslave you.

Big Brother Bloomberg (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905641)

The London system is the direct source of the system that NYC mayor Bloomberg is trying to install in Manhattan. He says it's for "counter terrorism", though he'll probably morph that excuse into "traffic congestion". And then he'll use the (public spying) info for whatever he wants. Like helping his run for president, by watching which "known whorehouses" his political and economic opponents frequent when they're telling their wives they're "working late again".

These cameras point at public places. Their data is public info. Their use, and abuse, needs to be overseen by representatives of the public. Probably on a time delay to give real police business the advantage for which they're installed. Probably with a process to allow total redaction to protect legitimately sensitive info, even though it was recorded in public, like for example which places are covered (and therefore which places have a blind eye). But without public oversight, they're just Big Brother's public eyeball.

You're really not very bright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905999)

"And then he'll use the (public spying)"

What the fuck is "public spying"? Is this another attempt by you to foist your propaganda on us by misusing words that cause an visceral reaction, thereby avoiding the inevitable discussion of the logical flaws in your argument?

IF YOU IN FUCKING PUBLIC, YOU HAVE NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY.

"These cameras point at public places. Their data is public info. "

Exactly. Save the fearmongering Mr. Bush.

"But without public oversight, they're just Big Brother's public eyeball."

Hey dumbass, you said yourself "Their data is public info" so how the fuck is someone going to be able to abuse it WHEN ANYONE WHO WANTS TO CAN CHECK AND SEE THAT THEY DID SO? Your suggestion that "Their use, and abuse, needs to be overseen by representatives of the public" is moronic when the ENTIRE POPULATION can monitor their use and abuse. Why the fuck do we need a corruptible body to do it when ANYONE can do it? Why would you suggest something so patently dumb?

How fucking stupid are you?

Re:You're really not very bright (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906081)

Fuck you, you fucking Anonymous exhibitionist Coward.

I explained in my post the exact way that public photos of public places can be spying. But you're too fucking stupid to read.

The data is public info, as I said, but how does the public get it? No one knows, so no one will be able to , you fucking piece of stupid shit.

The only dumb I am is to dignify some stupid AC bullshit by responding to it. But why not? This is a public post, so anyone can read it.

Re:Big Brother Bloomberg (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906019)

like for example which places are covered (and therefore which places have a blind eye)

If your aim is a completely open society, then even that should be released so that the blind spots get fixed.

Re:Big Brother Bloomberg (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906179)

My aim is not a "completely open society". My aim is a very clear, even obvious and perfectly well established, distinction between public and private, between publicity and privacy. And I am for the maximum individual privacy, with the maximum protection from invasion. By private people, by corporations, by governments, by nature, by anyone.

But I am for a the maximum openness in the public sector. Which also accommodates some rare, yet real, needs for immediate secrecy. But any secrecy, however fleeting, must be met with the maximum affordable (in money and management complexity) public oversight. The US already has a lot of processes that oversee properly practically everything we do. The US practically invented the public/private boundary, and government's (the public's) obligations to protect that boundary, and what lies on either side of it.

Blind spots should be blind only rarely, and never to everyone. There should always be competing powers overseeing each other, checking and balancing each other's power to abuse that info.

This is the way the US has always operated, except when it's violated its own laws and traditions. I am just specifying how a legitimate American government would operate these cameras.

Re:Big Brother Bloomberg (1)

NG Resonance (794484) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906181)

For this reason it was a good thing Bloomberg's proposal got nixed by Albany.

Re:Big Brother Bloomberg (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906289)

Yes. But it will be back. Just like his attempt on taking office to put tolls on the East River bridges (the only links from Manhattan/Queens) that would have made his budget look better, but would have split the City (except if you're rich, in which case the tolls are still an inconvenience on an already dramatically inconvenient congestion path).

I notice that Bloomberg has not bothered trying to restore the commuter tax that his Republican predecessor Giuliani dropped, which used to pay for the City services that commuting suburbanites consume, but which they don't even pay for in the lower tax suburbs in which they sleep, though they use the City to make their money (which they spend at home in the suburbs).

Bloomberg has to be able to claim that he's good at balancing NYC's budget, as he runs for president and just fights his battles as a relatively popular mayor. These cameras are a way to create revenue from parking and other tickets. It'll be back.

Ordinary crime Vs National Security (2, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905729)

You think the "if it saves one child" crowd really makes a distinction between national security and "ordinary" crime? Pretty soon the Bobbies are looking at all vehicles. They are under pressure to "solve" crimes. Their definition of "solve" is to get someone convicted. Sure this provision will increase conviction rates. But dont be so sure all convicts would be the real perpetrators.

Do something (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905739)

For those how don't like it, or want it to stop, all you need to do is grab a few sledge hammers (or even heave rocks will do) and smash the cameras into scrap. The only reason they can watch you is because you let them, don't. Things will keep getting worse until you stand up and do something.

Re:Do something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19906281)

If you "do something" you will be arrested. Smashing a camera is illegal.

You will be prosecuted and imprisoned. You will lose your job and your family.

And the camera will be replaced.

There's NOTHING you can do. Accept the new status quo and learn to live with it.

Government Criminal Justice Bill - Clause 58 (2, Funny)

non (130182) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905787)

firstly, this will be used to enforce the 'No Repetitive Beats' law.

and no, i'm not taking the piss.

Re:Government Criminal Justice Bill - Clause 58 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905985)

So everyone just goes back to playing Autechre [wikipedia.org] at high volume instead.

I don't see the problem here (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905807)

Why can't they use these traffic cameras to fight crime when they can use standard town center CCTV?

How about they also stop pretending that London webcams malfunction whenever there's a large protest, so that we can keep an eye out for criminal acts committed by the police. After all, if they have nothing to hide then they have nothing to worry about.</sarcasm>

Wrong way 'round... (2, Informative)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905823)

But they will only be able to use the data for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime, the Home Office stressed.

...actually, something vague and expansive like "national security purposes" is probably the *worst* thing to grant extra enforcement powers for.

well,that is the end of ... (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#19905847)

nipping off to the pub for a quick one of the missus works for the police ... she will know exactly where you have been :-(

Privacy? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19905921)

Oay, which nuts are tagging this "privacy"? Are you familiar with the concept of privacy? By definition, things that happen in public - like driving from one place to another - are not private.

If you don't like the government recording some of the stuff that you do in public, please find another term to use instead of "privacy". It's completely misleading and dishonest, it makes you appear like a conspiracy nut, and it does a disservice to the people who campaign for true privacy who don't necessarily agree with you.

Oh no! (3, Interesting)

helpfulcorn (668048) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906003)

Big Brother is watching you, in public! Surely, being in public violates your privacy!

I think it's a bit alarmist to go on about Big Brother, privacy, etc when we're talking about cameras that are in the street, as if you'll be showering there or rubbing butter on your lover.

Of course, a system like this could be abused if you started watching people jay-walk, but then again jay-walking is a crime and if a cop was standing there watching you, you'd also probably get in trouble (actually, probably not, I've never met a cop (personally) who cared about jay-walking in most cases).

To assume that any kind of authority watching you in the street is automatically big brother reminds me of people who live in the woods, want to separate from the US, and act like a bunch of crazies.

Anyone can see you in the street, log you for any purpose, and any cop can stop you and fuck with you. How is this any different than what's been happening for years? Other than it's over a camera now. You can't automatically jump behind "omfg privacy!" when it's in public. There are millions of people to watch, so it's a little naive and alarmist to assume it'll all be used to control your everyday life.

P.S. Sorry if this is hard to read, I keep having to hide the window from nosy co-workers.

Re:Oh no! (2, Insightful)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906283)

Anyone can see you in the street, log you for any purpose, and any cop can stop you and fuck with you. How is this any different than what's been happening for years? Other than it's over a camera now. You can't automatically jump behind "omfg privacy!" when it's in public

You are right, anyone can see you on the street. Where you are wrong is that unlike the general passer by who sees you for a sec and then moves on, the police with cameras can ID you on the street. You have privacy through anonymity. With the advent of the always watching authority, you have lost the anonymity. Why can this not work both ways, would you be OK setting up cameras and allowing anyone on the internet to watch them? How about allowing the face recognition software and everyone passing the camera is ID'd and put on the internet? You are in public, you have no privacy, so you do not mind the world tuning in and watching you?

As to the police officer stopping you and fucking with you, you can always ask if you are under arrest. If he says "No" you thank him for his time and walk away. They can not follow you, they can not harass you, They can not just search you for no reason.

Re:Oh no! (1)

dankenstein355 (995487) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906291)

Here in the UK, most people wouldn't even know what jaywalking is. We can cross the road wherever we like. Shame the government is so intent on taking away all of our other personal liberties though...

Oh, Regular Crime Just Isn't Good Enough (3, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906293)

But they will only be able to use the data for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime, the Home Office stressed.

Oh, we don't care about regular crime. Let it happen as much as you want. Heaven forbid that we might use possibly effective tools already in place to actually protect you and your property. Only terrorists are worth actually trying to give our best efforts towards.

You know, all things considered, I suspect the average Britain is in far more danger from ordinary crime, than from terrorism at this moment. And if a Terrorist isn't actually a Terrorist until he commits an act of Terrorism, then he's just an ordinary criminal up to that point, and will be left to purse his merry pursuits. What a crock!

I like the David Brin solution. Have cameras everywhere public, and allow everyone to access them at any time. No more secrets this way, and a lot less suspicion.

ordinary crime (1)

4play (720611) | more than 6 years ago | (#19906303)

Why isn't this being used to fight ordinary crime. I would love to see this system being used against criminals. people who dont have road tax, mot or insurance and enter the zone should the prosecuted.

I don't see how the police knowing when I enter and exit this zone in any way affects my civil liberties. people are making this out to be some evil big brother experiment that will lead to the end of my right to travel into London.

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