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Manhattan 1984

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the watching-you dept.

Privacy 545

Etherwalk writes "The New York Times is reporting on developments in the quest to charge driving fees for all vehicles headed below 86th Street in Manhattan. Notably absent from any part of the discussion is that a record is made of every car or truck that enters, together with the vehicle ownership information and the date and time of travel — either as part of EZ-Pass or in license-plate photos taken for subsequent billing."

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Awesome! (0, Flamebait)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#20233957)

I've been hoping for a story to bring out the paranoid crowd. They are my favorites.

I'd have to think that for the most part, this would end up tracking cabs.

Re:Awesome! (5, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234097)

how is it paranoia when they ARE actually tracking you?

land of the free indeed....

Re:Awesome! (4, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234229)

Because it's just like driving through any other toll plaza anywhere else. I've not heard of any that don't use cameras to track cars or give away the fact that you crossed the control point with your ETC transponder. How this information is any different from going through other toll plazas or border crossings is beyond me. Moreover, why it matters is also a puzzling thought. So a computer knows you drove into Manhattan. It's not like it would have been a secret without these toll plazas.

If "they" want to watch you, they can do it. That ability is not new, nor is it going anywhere. Attempting to attribute some lingering fear to the fact that you're visible to others in public is paranoid.

Re:Awesome! (5, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234351)

There's a difference to being in view in public, and having your whereabouts noted, and retrievable for all of eternity. I find it kinda disconcerting that I could one day be confronted by police with an exhaustive list of my movements for the last 10 years.

My uncle was visited by ASIO for suspected terrorism related stuff. We're Muslim, and it's a tradition donate food to poor people. He runs a butcher, and so sent meat to a Middle Eastern based charity organization. They then sent it to a regional distribution center which then distributed it to various community groups, one of which was apparently on an Interpol watch list of some description. Despite the layer upon layer of distance, my uncle's house was raised, all computer data was copied and he was questioned (bear in mind he sent a bunch of dead sheep, not a briefcase of hard currency or blueprints for nuclear related widget thingies).

He was presented with a list of every phone call he'd made in the last 10 years or so, and every call overseas he was required to explain. We're from South Africa, and are of Indian descent. Being Indian with a bloody huge families we have, we have relatives all over the place, and so we make heaps of overseas phone calls. Eventually, they decided my uncle was harmless, and left him alone. Nonetheless, ever since then I've been gearing up to move to a country that is not in the Western Axis, as I am increasingly getting the feeling that we as Muslims just aren't welcome. Plus, I don't like the idea that someone, somewhere has access to all of my movements.

Oh, and if you're going to give me the "if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear" line, please don't, I've heard it many times before and it sounds dumber each time I hear it.

Re:Awesome! (3, Insightful)

Starayo (989319) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234409)

It's treatment like this that makes me currently hate most people here in Australia.

Most of the so-called "western world" (I abhor that term... how do you divide a sphere in east and west?) needs a real kick up the backside.

Re:Awesome! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234125)

You'd have made a great Hitler Youth member.

BTW, New Yorkers, when they tell you that the London Congestion Chrage cut traffic by 20% they are LYING. The scheme was launched at the beginning of a school holiday when the traffic volume drops by over 15% anyway. They also promised that the £5 charge would NOT be raised - yet raised the charge to £8 when it became clear that the CC wasn't making enough money. The proposal is now to have a "congestion" charge based on the CO2 emissions of your car, with the top rate (225g/km - basically any petrol engine over about 2.5litres capacity) being £25 per day. That's right FIFTY DOLLARS PER DAY. Oh, and it goes without saying that the CC zone has also been extended in area, with more extensions promised, and that the ANPR camera network that drives the system is now used by the police to track EVERYONE. What do they do with the data? Who knows. Can you see the data relating to you? Of course not.

1984 it is not. Orwell never dreamed of ANPR, GPS and ubiquitous supercomputing.

You have been warned.

Re:Awesome! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234169)

If you're a paranoid nerd, I am watching you. You're boring.

Why are you watching then? Why don't you go and troll Digg.cum or something more on your mental level?

who wants to go there? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20233961)

Manhattan is full of niggers

Re:who wants to go there? (4, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234111)

Manhattan is full of niggers

Clearly you meant "the working class", and you're correct. Manhattan is full of working class individuals who clearly have an interest past that of which is providing the employment. If you meant otherwise, then your conflation of racial division with division in class and/or earning potential is the point of discussion, at which point any rational individual would have to disagree with your assessment.

Re:who wants to go there? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234139)

So is your mom.

Re:who wants to go there? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234209)

Phwoar! Good for you, mom!

Funny (4, Interesting)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#20233963)

Thing is, I discussed this with my US cousin a few months back, and told him how in the Netherlands, we had all sorts of systems in place already to monitor traffic for billing and speeding registration purposes, using cameras that read license plates. He was sure that, for privacy reasons alone, such systems would never fly in the States.

Re:Funny (4, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234033)

If there ever was a treshold that would stop this due to privacy reasons, it has long been passed. The German Autobahns have a huge system covering almost all the Autobahns tracking trucks for billing reasons. It is now still forbidden by law to use the system for law enforcement, the tracking is done independently from police databases. Though, as recently one police officer got killed at a tank stop, for which the offenders could have been caught using this system, and with the paranoid Schäuble as minister of interior, it will probably not take long before the police gets full control over that database. Face it, registrations like this are pretty harmless on itself, but also a part of the slow and seemingly unstoppable, erosion of privacy.

Re:Funny (4, Informative)

squoozer (730327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234237)

Quite, the law was recently changed in the UK to allow the police to use the motoway ANPR system to track any suspect. Before the change they could only use it to track "terrorists".

Re:Funny (1)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234071)

There definitely is no system for automatic billing in the netherlands yet, although there are plans to introduce such a system. Most speeding cameras only record the license plate only when the maximum speed is exceeded. The only exception are trajectory control systems, which monitor the average speed over a stretch of road. For this purpose the license plate is recorded on entry and exit of the monitored stretch. I'm not certain whether this information is actually stored.

Additionally, in some large cities there are experiments where licence plates are recorded and are automatically cross-checked for fraud charges, unpaid fines and arrest warrents. If one of these checks raises a red flag, the owner of the car is pulled to the side of the road for a chat with the police.

Re:Funny (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234311)

The only exception are trajectory control systems, which monitor the average speed over a stretch of road. For this purpose the license plate is recorded on entry and exit of the monitored stretch. I'm not certain whether this information is actually stored. It is stored, even if you do not surpass speed limits. My mother got a letter at some point asking if she would participate in a survey 'because she regularly travels the A13'. This is outrageous- if I am not a criminal, why am I tracked like one? This information should be discarded as soon as it is clear that I didn't break the law, *or else* it is only going to be abused for other purposes (and it is- which is shown by the survey).

worlds apart. (1)

uolamer (957159) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234171)

I grew up and live close to Beaumont, TX. Closest toll road is in Houston (80+ miles away) that I know of, we have a free ferry even to Galveston. It was a whole different world when I lived in Maryland and was going to NJ, NY, and other states in that area. I don't remember any toll roads in Austin either. It is quite strange going from this environment to a place like NJ where you can't pump your own gas and on the way there you got planes flying over the road to give out tickets in PA.

Re:Funny (2, Informative)

catxk (1086945) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234235)

Sweden has quite a lot of this actually. There is the speeding cameras along side dangerous stretches of roads that automagically takes a photo of every speeding car, sends a copy to some poor fella who compares the photo of the driver to the photo in the passport registry, and if they match, send a bill by mail. The police are pushing to allow the cameras to take photos of every car so one can measure the average speed between cameras, but this is still illegal since you can't put non-criminals (i.e. people you don't know are speeding) in such a registry even temporarily. Besides this, there is the car tax in Stockholm where every car who enters or departs from the city is photographed and billed. All data about the car from the car registry register (!) is stored together with date, time, unt so weiter, although images are cropped to only include plates. Both very much privacy invoking but the thing is both systems works great. People don't die due to speeding as they used to, Stockholm traffic isn't jammed every god damned day and the environment is happy happy which also means lives saved in the long run. Doesn't that hold any value when compared to privacy?

Re:Funny (2, Insightful)

Datasage (214357) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234287)

Privacy? Most Americans will give up their privacy for a discount card at the supermarket.

Dime Store Mystery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20233981)

1. Tall buildings crashing to the ground.
2. No cars in Manhattan.
3. Grass growing on Wall Street.
4. Profit!

Er, hang on...

What? (5, Insightful)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 7 years ago | (#20233983)

Jesus. Ok, it's all right to have a little bit of suspicion with regards to motives here, but "Manhattan 1984"? That's a bit much, isn't it?

Also, how does this qualify as having to do with Our Rights Online?

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234037)

In the old days, a stalker had to take time off work to follow a victim and find out every place she went.

With comprehensive vehicle tracking, all he has to do is suborn someone with access to EZ-Pass records.

Too hypothetical? Then consider something that's already happened, divorce lawyers using EZ-Pass records [csmonitor.com] .

Agreed, though, calling it 1984 is hyperbole as long as there are feasible alternatives to having an EZ-Pass.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234375)

Agreed, though, calling it 1984 is hyperbole as long as there are feasible alternatives to having an EZ-Pass.

Well, no. That's like saying the sentence "Microsoft is a monopoly" is hyperbole while alternatives to Windows exist.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

Angstroem (692547) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234101)

Jesus. Ok, it's all right to have a little bit of suspicion with regards to motives here, but "Manhattan 1984"? That's a bit much, isn't it?
br> Also, how does this qualify as having to do with Our Rights Online?

Ignorance is bliss, Darklye, isn't it?

You just may want to have a look at Germany. You might or might not remember the fuzz about the German "Toll Collect" system introduced a couple of years ago. A definitely overblown system being able to measure the car, count axles, shooting fotos, talking to board computers etc.

Everyone thought that this was a crazy amount of technology thrown at a problem so simple as collecting toll. Everyone laughed at the tech consortium which was not able to deliver in time

First voices arose why the contracts were not publicly viewable. No freedom of information for this very contract... Still everyone insisted that this technology will solely be used for collecting toll.

Meanwhile, things changed. A total surveillance infrastructure being able to track individual cars not only with the help of the installed board computer, but just by mere picture recognition (mind you, Germany introduced machine-readable using OCR fonts -- of course all for the sake of increased security against plate counterfeiting -- plates already in the 90s). And while the law still is active that the infrastructure may be solely used for toll collecting, it gets constant fire -- and it will probably only take another legislature period until it falls and finally, all the authorities will also have access to this data.

Your turn, Mr. Spock.

Re:What? (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234479)

Jesus. Ok, it's all right to have a little bit of suspicion with regards to motives here, but "Manhattan 1984"? That's a bit much, isn't it?
Are you going to be saying the same thing when the government passes a law that requires remote access to your web cam for terrorist tracking purposes and that all new TVs produced after a certain date have cameras built in that allow two way communication via cable, satellite, or terrestrial over the air bands?

What's the real reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20233987)

So, is this "because of the children"? Or "because 9/11 changed everything"?

--
"Those who would give up a little freedom to get a little security shall get a free McDonald's Happy Meal voucher"

Re:What's the real reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234017)

So, is this "because of the children"? Or "because 9/11 changed everything"?


Big city anonymity, cars, and guns don't make for a wonderful combination. People are free to do what they want but mechanisms like this replace the accountability that's been eroded. Persistent criminals and internet trolls are similar. One rampant idiot can blight many lives. Holding onto some narrow ideological definition of freedom doesn't square with the reality that people leave town or forums when it gets bad enough. Systems like this just empower society to cut out the cancer and get on with more productive things like work, socialising, and being able to relax in a home that isn't stripped bare, burned down, or riddled with bullet holes.

Long since past that point (2, Interesting)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234141)

Systems like this just empower society to cut out the cancer and get on with more productive things like work, socialising, and being able to relax in a home that isn't stripped bare, burned down, or riddled with bullet holes.
However the question is, is this system worth the loss of privacy? (not to mention the cost of actually running the thing!) Every thing you do to deter crime knocks some people out of the candidate list for committing that crime. If a crime is immoral (murder, rape, arson, stealing, ect) that knocks a good 90+% of your average educated population off the list. That combined with fear of being caught, punishment, being ostracized from everyone that you know removes another large chunk of the population from that list.

What remains on that list is the portion that doesn't care about any of that, they will stop at nothing to do whatever crime they intend to commit. Sorry to say, but no matter what you do, crime will always happen. (an example of this is crime during Soviet Russia, if the police even thought you might be responsible for a crime you were either killed or sent go a gulag, yet it still occurred)

I doubt that in any major city since the 1800's have people actually been seriously afraid of having their homes stripped bare, burned down, or riddled with bullet holes (there are exceptions however, gang warfare and race warfare, neither of which would be impacted by this system in the slightest)

Re:Long since past that point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234295)

Systems like this just empower society to cut out the cancer and get on with more productive things like work, socialising, and being able to relax in a home that isn't stripped bare, burned down, or riddled with bullet holes.


I doubt that in any major city since the 1800's have people actually been seriously afraid of having their homes stripped bare, burned down, or riddled with bullet holes (there are exceptions however, gang warfare and race warfare, neither of which would be impacted by this system in the slightest)


You make a good point. I'll meet you half way on this and suggest that having the means to prevent, detect, and enforce can hold people to account but developing more positive opportunities and a sense of community is helpful. If people have better goals and like the people around them the numbers show they're less likely to commit crime. For the recidivist minority gentle reinforcement of standards, and precise and swift taking out of ringleaders where necessary can minimise the rot.

The key problem is most Western approaches to problems are punishment based and reactive. We don't have the mindset, systems, or experience of other ways. Instilling sound fundamentals in children, good opportunities in adulthood, and more positive and constructive approaches to crime and mental health look useful. A developing emphasis on public transport, leadership, and investment seems to be developing in Britain. I'm minded to think this will produce strong results within the next 20+ years.

For Americans, I'm guessing that pulling back from such an overtly competitive society and interfering foreign policy will help in similar ways. There is scope to develop common ground between the Liberals and right wing. I'm reasonably certain Hilary Clinton will become President and more conservative Americans will withdraw support from neo-con Republicans. This could square a circle, calm everyone down, and get some balance back into things. Long term? The problems will probably solve themselves.

Notably absent? (-1, Offtopic)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234003)

I'm continously suprised! The silence of the intellectual crooks is deafening. This rich situation begs for answers.

Rest assured gentlemen, the standing ovation you're producing for opponents of the plan will undeniably create plausive deniability for silently altering the plans in a roaring crescendo victory for freedom.

Re:Notably absent? (1)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234035)

wow... thats certainly quite a statement you made. I had to read it a couple times to actually understand what you were saying.

As for the missing comments, it is currently 1:30AM on US west coast, 4:30AM on US east coast, somewhere between 9:30AM and 11:30AM for most of Europe. I would expect comments from Japan as it is 5:30 PM there now, however this topic does not directly concern the citizens there (and I doubt slashdot comes in a Japanese version, but I could be wrong)

Re:Notably absent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234241)

(and I doubt slashdot comes in a Japanese version, but I could be wrong)
Slashdot Japan [slashdot.jp]

There are equivalent sites in many languages that run SlashCode and post Geek news (like Barrapunto [barrapunto.com] ).

London 1984? ;) (5, Insightful)

Hanners1979 (959741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234019)

We've had a similar system running in London for a while now here in the UK.

Now you too can look forward to people using fake license plates to avoid charges, or people who have been nowhere near the area being charged and/or fined because the number plate recognition software read a letter or number wrong.

Re:London 1984? ;) (3, Interesting)

high_rolla (1068540) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234137)

Cool, Can't wait to see the article about how people have gotten around this then. I'm always intrigued by the clever ways people invent to get around these sorts of systems.

Re:London 1984? ;) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234275)

The most common method at the moment is probably cloning car plates. Pick a similar car to yours which already goes into the zone, and duplicate its plates. Assuming your target car has a yearly pass, noone will ever notice.

Another common technique to use if you don't want to actually break the law is to register your car to a company using a PO Box number. Once registered, drop the PO Box. In the UK all fines go to the registered address, which will then be no longer functional. You may need to alter the details for the US, but a similar principle should work.

 

Re:London 1984? ;) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234427)

Of course, if you're going to clone plates, you might as well dispense with the bother of MOT, road tax and insurance too. If you're caught doing this (in the UK at least, in the US, not paying your road tax is probably a terror offence) then you get a £200 fine. It isn't right really.

The other alternative is to get a motorcycle (where the plate is viewed side-on at the front) and then speed as much as you like past the cameras. You then claim you were nowhere near - and you'd like to see the camera photo of your face with the licence plate to prove it :-)

Duplicate plates seems a bad idea ... (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234461)

The most common method at the moment is probably cloning car plates. Pick a similar car to yours which already goes into the zone, and duplicate its plates. Assuming your target car has a yearly pass, noone will ever notice.

I would expect that duplicate plates would be a poor strategy. It should not be hard for a computerized system to notice the same plate has been seen at two different location and alert the police.

Another common technique to use if you don't want to actually break the law is to register your car to a company using a PO Box number. Once registered, drop the PO Box. In the UK all fines go to the registered address, which will then be no longer functional.

Why on earth would the government (or the collections agency that was contracted) not look at the ownership history of the P.O. Box? Also, wouldn't you lose the paperwork to re-register the vehicle as well.

Re:London 1984? ;) (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234439)

number plate recognition software read a letter or number wrong

We have these speed cameras here in Australia which measure your speed over a distance by recording your travel time between two points and correlating rego plates. It had been assumed that they used some kind of OCR until a bus driver got charged with going 153 km/h (impossible for that type of bus) because the system confused plates with transposed digits, ie, AB != BA.

So is our software dyslexic? Perhaps not.

A record is made? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234021)

I'm not sure that the sound of a car or truck will be a best seller when pressed on a record. Besides, most people use CDs or MP3s these days.

SCNR

So what? (1)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234025)

We've had this in Central London for ages. It's called, slightly euphemistically, the Congestion Charge. All vehicles entering a zone in Central London have their registration plates recorded by cameras. It's no big deal.

It *is* a big deal.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234079)

The Information Commissioner has repeatedly asked for details of how this info is used. It has also emerged that outside congestion charge hours the cameras are kept online and are STILL recording.

It is no coincidence that the Information Commissioner has been rendered fairly toothless politically. Westminster can't afford anyone asking the right questions - it could make people realise that the UK is now close to being a full fledged police state (it's never been a democracy).

Worse, that hasn't reduced crime one bit - you need a feeling of insecurity to stop people from asking questions..

1984 - it's a manual..

Re:It *is* a big deal.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234339)

Lol troll modding. Usual slashdot slightly hyperbolic paranoia sure, but these posts are basically accurate ... wake up mods.

Re:So what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234147)

No big deal?? I moved out of London because of the cost, and some shops have seen catastrophic fall-off in business. Best of all, it DOESN'T ACTUALLY CUT CONGESTION - the scheme was never meant to, as all of the original revenue forecasts attest.

Tax-Privacy=Congestion Charge

Re:So what? (2, Interesting)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234255)

and some shops have seen catastrophic fall-off in business.

Which shops? I had to laugh at the protests from Oxford Street shopkeepers when the congestion charge was first introduced. The hassle of parking in the West End far outweighs any perceived inconvenience of using public transport.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234303)

Where's the hassle in driving down into the Cavendish Square multi-storey?

Just because you're scared of driving in London you don't have to saddle the rest of us with costly restrictions. London is a CITY not a fucking village, IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE BUSY - deal with it.

Re:So what? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234327)

Where's the hassle in driving down into the Cavendish Square multi-storey?

It's full, or at least was most weekdays before the congestion charge was introduced.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234435)

Not only is it no longer full, it is now for sale. So WHEN it closes, it'll be back to square one for parking. Hooray for the CC! Pay more get the same!

But hey, at least we've got a massive fleet of empty, 18m long buses to show for it!

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234357)

Hello Mr Troll,

No big deal?? I moved out of London because of the cost

Uh-hu. If you lived in London, you'd appreciate how expensive living here is, and that the congestion charge is inconsequential compared to the cost of a mortgage, or even renting a decent place. It's a paltry 8 quid a day and that's only if you happen to drive in to zone 1 (which is up to 20 GBP an hour for parking, and there are bugger all spaces, god knows why you'd even try) - and that's not including discounts.

It did noticeably cut congestion initially, but it's crept right back up again because the charge is so low (it costs far more if you actually want to park your car). Frankly, as Jeremy Clarkson has noted (tongue in cheek) it would need to be about 50 GBP a day to hold any hope of getting city boys to take any notice whatsoever. Even then that's going to be about the same as getting Taxi's about the place, and many will prefer the car.

I think it ought to be increased significantly (and given the narrow streets and the volume of people, closing off some of the road to traffic (or at least to buses only) would be a step in the right direction.

This is relatively benign ... (3, Insightful)

golodh (893453) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234041)

The general idea is that road authorities should be able bill people for their actual use of the roads, with the price depending on when and where they drive and the characteristics of their vehicle.

Technically this is already feasible by ensuring that every single vehicle is equipped with a GPS receiver and a transponder that transmits its identity and its itinerary (in time and space} to collection stations.

As long as there is no congestion, and there are sufficient funds to keep all roads in good condition, the question doesn't appear. It becomes very different however when congestion starts blocking the grid, and when it's hard to find enough money for maintenance (of bridges for example}.

Under current conditions however, there is a strong incentive to toll. And yes ... there are privacy aspects.

Where electronically transmitted itineraries could be encrypted to prevent eavesdropping, someone has to do the billing ... and that someone can only do that if they can link the vehicle with a driver. And hence they will also be able to link vehicle, diver, and itinerary.

It's not quite there yet, but the signs are that it's only a matter of time. Unless someone can come up with a fool-proof alternative way of putting up the money *and* ensuring an acceptable level of service. In other words: don't count on it not happening.

After all ... what's privacy in the face of financial incentives?

But rest assured ... there probably will be a capped-fee paying option for those who really don't want their movements tracked and who can afford to pay the national maximum road price per mile where- and whenever they drive. Those subscribes don't need to submit their itineraries ... their subscriber ID will do.

The only snag is that the maximum road price will be about 20$ per mile. If your car does 50 mph, that would be 1000$ per hour maximum. So anyone willing (and able} to pay 365 x 24 x 1000$ per year would be allowed un-metered driving any time and any place. Anybody else will have to submit their itineraries and pay a road-use charge.

Oh yes ... and don't bore us with complaints that you already pay gasoline tax. What you *pay* in unimportant. What counts is the difference between what's needed for upkeep and congestion management and what's currently available.

Re:This is relatively benign ... (2, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234153)

Oh yes ... and don't bore us with complaints that you already pay gasoline tax. What you *pay* in unimportant. What counts is the difference between what's needed for upkeep and congestion management and what's currently available.


My problem is that there should be enough money already if it wasn't depleted by unrelated projects and over expenditures. It is unreal what most states collect in fuel taxes only to find their road and highway budget to be a minuscule percent of it. New York pockets 38 cents for every gallon of gas and diesel pumped. plus a sales tax on top of that for the total cost of every gallon pumped that varied from country to city.

It seems [pressconnects.com] that for the last four year NY had been diverting up to 750 million a year away from the roads fund that these taxes would have gone to. There are more BS stuff too if you look.

There is no need to put this in place. NY collect plenty of money, this is a cap off of the going green thing discussed a year or so again. NY claimed it could reduce it's green house emission by charging people to drive though and force them to car pool or take the buses. Don't let them fool you, the only reason they are using repair and stuff for this is because they raided the road funds and the bridge collapse. OMG we gotta get money to fix the bridges really means we can institute the program people rejected a few years ago.

Re:This is relatively benign ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234163)

The problem being - once they get their funds the business/agency will expand until it isn't enough, rinse, lather, repeat.

Re:This is relatively benign ... (1)

el_chupanegre (1052384) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234347)

Oh yes ... and don't bore us with complaints that you already pay gasoline tax. What you *pay* in unimportant. What counts is the difference between what's needed for upkeep and congestion management and what's currently available.

In the UK, we already have to pay fuel tax _and_ road tax, which is then supposed to go into maintaining the road system

If I pay my road tax, then surely I am part owner of the roads? To charge me first to build/maintain them and then charge for the privilege of driving to work on them is ludicrous surely?

Here in Manchester, they want to introduce the 'Congestion Charge' scheme in the same way they have in London. Research done by local papers suggested that >60% of people opposed it (link) [manchester...news.co.uk] , and yet the local authorities voted 9 to 2 in favour of it. Democracy at it's finest

Re:This is relatively benign ... (3, Insightful)

Weezul (52464) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234381)

I've got a simpler solution: all road maintenence funds should come from gas taxes. If you use more, you pay more, pretty easy.

Biz opp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234053)

20 story parking garage on 87th street. Right next to the subway station.

Good (4, Insightful)

Professor Mindblow (1142939) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234059)

If it keeps the paranoid from driving their cars around Manhattan, that's a bonus reduction in traffic. I'm all for it. In fact, publish the data if you can't satisfactorily explain why you need to take your car in. Make it hurt to not take public transport.

Re:Good (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234103)

And here we get the fatal flaw of democracy: dumb people.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234477)

Why not just make it pleasant to use public transport in the first place?

I drive to school because to get there by public transport requires 10 minutes walk to get to the station. Not a problem. I enjoy the walk, unless it's -12C outside. It then involves 10 minutes waiting for the (invariably delayed) train, for which I'll have to pay £6.20 and in which I'll have to stand for 20 minutes with my face in another man's armpit, because the train I take (Durham-Newcastle) is the most over-crowded in the UK. Once I get to Newcastle, it's another 10 minute walk on the other side, but that's not a problem because I don't mind the walk. So we're looking at £6.20 and generally 45 minutes to an hour, door to door.

To drive there, I pay £25 per semester to park in the university car park. It costs me £3 to get there and back. It takes me between half and three quarters of an hour, door to door. So it's actually much cheaper to sit on my arse in the comfort of my nice air conditioned car, with noone jabbing me in the ribs with umbrellas or kneecapping me with briefcases. I don't have to smell the stink of a train toilet cubicle either, which would be worth paying MORE to drive for anyway. If I give two friends a lift into town, it's still £3, instead of £18.60.

So, instead of doing the socialist thing and making it uniformly shite for everyone, why not concentrate on making it really pleasant to do the environmentally friendly no-congestion tree-huggy thing? That way, you might actually get people using public transport because they genuinely prefer it, not because they simply can't afford the choice.

Re:Good (1)

Triv (181010) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234481)

Make it hurt to not take public transport.


I agree in principle, but the New York City subway and bus systems are horribly overtaxed. Train platforms get dangerously full come rush hour, and trains themselves can't usually keep up with the load. That's on a good day; on a bad day [reuters.com] all hell breaks loose. Wasn't a fun commute, that one.



Triv

Revenue or Surveillance? (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234067)

Or possibly both.

This appears to be a product of the thinking that the "market can regulate anything". Everywhere there is congestion, plans seeking to regulate it through differential charging are springing up all over the place. The revenues typically more than cover the cost of implementation in their first year. My opinion is that these schemes just take yet more money from the average Joe who works, because he typically doesn't have any choice as to where and when he drives when commuting to work - traffic pressure on its own is more than sufficient incentive to stop driving in rush hour if it's at all possible.

Of course, you do get the highly desirable (for the intelligence community) side-effect of being able to track all vehicles present in such a schema.

Those worried for the privacy of New Yorkers should spare a thought for those of us in Europe, as our governments are presently colluding on a system that will mandate the fitting of a GPS tracker with a cellular modem to each and every motor vehicle that will log all movement. We already have number plate cameras on most major motorways (ostensibly to check to see if untaxed vehicles are moving), and a congestion charging scheme in London that has been so successful in terms of revenue that other metropolitan areas are queuing up to see who can be next.

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/roadpricing/ [dft.gov.uk]

We already have this in the UK (2, Informative)

drspliff (652992) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234087)

For areas of central London (UK) we already have a system in place called congestion charging. Basically whenever you enter/exit one of the zones, cameras hooked up with number plate recognition record you.

The system works reasonably well, but it doesn't really stop people driving in the "congestion" zones and most people really dislike the system, for example, if you don't realize you've driven through a congestion charging zone you end up with a bill in the post for more than it would normally cost (you get discounts for paying same-day or prior to entering the zone).

Now - the mayor is proposing to charge different rates based on what type of car you have - small effecient compacts would pay nothing or next to nothing, while massive SUVs or anything with a 3+ liter engine would pay upto £25 GBP per day ($50 USD).

The most likely outcome of this? Poorer people will use public transport, while for the richer bigger fines will just affirm their social status, or make them consider getting smaller cars.

Oh - and I'm not mentioning the use of the system to track criminals, bail jumpers or "potential terrorists", because it's happening frequently and is just another way that the government is abusing the powers they gave themselfs by-proxy.

Re:We already have this in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234121)

while for the richer bigger fines will just affirm their social status, or make them consider getting smaller cars.

Is this meant to be a bad thing?

Re:We already have this in the UK (2, Interesting)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234143)

The system works reasonably well, but it doesn't really stop people driving in the "congestion" zones

Hmm, I worked in London at the time the charge was introduced, and for a couple of years after. I noticed a big difference in the amount of traffic on the roads. I happen to like the system, but then I don't tend to habitually drive into London (because I'm not insane).

Re:We already have this in the UK (4, Interesting)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234173)

The system works reasonably well, but it doesn't really stop people driving in the "congestion" zones


Traffic has been reduced by 26% at the last count, so it has in fact stopped some people driving in the congestion zones, as intended. 'Reductions in congestion inside the charging zone over the whole period since the introduction of the scheme now average 26 percent. ' - from the 2007 report of Tfl.

Now - the mayor is proposing to charge different rates based on what type of car you have - small effecient compacts would pay nothing or next to nothing, while massive SUVs or anything with a 3+ liter engine would pay upto £25 GBP per day ($50 USD). The most likely outcome of this? Poorer people will use public transport, while for the richer bigger fines will just affirm their social status, or make them consider getting smaller cars.


I believe this is the intended effect, I doubt very much people would use fines as status symbols (proof of this?), and if they do, their stupidity would fund further public transport. No one who is poor in London can afford a car anyway (if you can afford a car in London, you have to pay parking, road tax, and fuel, not to mention upkeep), so they'll be happier with improved public transport.

As for the surveillance aspect - I'd be more concerned about their efforts to extend the length of time the police can hold people without trial (currently being misused to hold protesters against airport expansion), and routine use of torture [amazon.co.uk] (though thank goodness its use in court has been banned, much to the UK government's chagrin). Potential tracking of road use is the least of our worries.

Re:We already have this in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234245)

You believe a TfL report on TfL's Congestion Charge?

Can you explain to me why the Lexus GS 400h, RX 400h and LX 600h are exempt from the CC when they get worse mileage than most small and medium sized Diesel cars? Can you explain to me WHY there is any exemption for 'fuel efficient' cars in a CONGESTION charge system? Can you explain why the charge went up from £5 to £8 despite a PROMISE from Ken saying it would not? Can you explain why the CC zone was initiated at the beginning of a school holiday fortnight? Can you explain why the CC costs so much to run? Why the information gathered by the ANPR cameras is used by the police and exactly what use it is to them? Can you explain why the CC Zone was extended despite the furious opposition of those it affected?

You see, I CAN.

M O N E Y , not congestion, not pollution. Just money. The CC tax will NEVER be repealed, it will NEVER be reduced - no GLA government of ANY colour will ever cut that much revenue out of their own budget.

Re:We already have this in the UK (1)

drspliff (652992) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234301)

Yes I agree with your argument, presuming that TfL funnel the money into public transport where it matters.

Their not though, the underground runs at over full capacity for 3+ hours a day, and it's becoming more of an issue just keeping the system running on-time every day. Busses however run very well but are more expensive for my journey (3 changes each way in peak-time) and takes about 30 minutes longer (nearly an hour commute to work for a total of 6 miles... is just insane)

Re:We already have this in the UK (1)

pev (2186) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234419)

No one who is poor in London can afford a car anyway

I use a car in London but I'm not not very well off... How could this be...?! Actually, I choose not to live in London itself - as do a large number of car users in the capital for whom it's not a practical option to use public transport due to insane cost and time required being even greater than private car ownership.

~Pev

Re:We already have this in the UK (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234249)

"most people really dislike the system" Most people I know like it. Buses are faster (there's less congestion), there's less pollution and less noise. I hope small cars don't get a discount, that's a backward step.

Re:We already have this in the UK (1)

perky (106880) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234315)

The most likely outcome of this? Poorer people will use public transport, while for the richer bigger fines will just affirm their social status, or make them consider getting smaller cars.

Which isn't exactly a bad outcome now, is it?

Too busy worrying about the Stockmarket crash. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234099)

Sorry. I'll pay attention to this later. Right now I'm facing a forclosure notice because my mortgage is unsustainable, my nine maxed-out credit cards are glowing radioactively and there are two very large men from a debt-collection company banging on my front door. Sorry, the front door of this house which the bank owns.

The good news is that without food I'll lose a shitload of blubber and should be able to find a barrel which'll fit just in time for my worn out clothes to disintegrate.

Re:Too busy worrying about the Stockmarket crash. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234145)

FUCK YES! lookit that baby go down! man am I ever glad I "divested" a few months back! my dad almost talked me out of it too and now I'm prolly gonna have to financially support him!!!!

Re:Too busy worrying about the Stockmarket crash. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234231)

should be able to find a barrel

Try the one you were just scaping the bottom of...

I have no problem with this kind of thing (2, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234113)

I find that most people who reject number plate tracking, CCTV cameras, automatic logging and vehicle license MOT test (legal UK vehicle check to ensure it is road worthy) and the like generally have something to hide.

Whilst I agree there must be safeguards, it seems that every day there are crimes solved, prevented or swiftly responded to by this kind of technology.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed-circuit_televi sion#Crime_registration [wikipedia.org]

from the FA above:
"Claims that they reduce or deter crime have not been clearly borne out by independent studies[2], though the government claims that when properly used they do result in deterrence, rather than displacement. One clear effect that has been noted is a reduction of car crime when used in car parks. Cameras have also been installed in taxis to deter violence against drivers, and also in mobile police surveillance vans. In some cases CCTV cameras have become a target of attacks themselves. Middlesbrough council have recently installed "Talking CCTV" cameras in their busy town-centre. It is a system pioneered in Wiltshire which allows CCTV operators to communicate directly with the offenders they spot. This idea is first known to have appeared in George Orwell's famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The use of CCTV in the United States is less common, though increasing, and generally meets stronger opposition. In 1998 3,000 CCTV systems were found in New York City. There are 2,200 CCTV systems in Chicago.

The most measurable effect of CCTV is not on crime prevention, but on detection and prosecution. Several notable murder cases have been solved with the use of CCTV evidence, notably the Jamie Bulger case, and catching David Copeland, the Soho nail bomber. The use of CCTV to track the movements of missing children is now routine.

After the bombings of London on 7 July 2005, CCTV footage was used to identify the bombers. The media was surprised that few tube trains actually had CCTV cameras, and there were some calls for this to be increased.

On July 22, 2005, Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by police at Stockwell tube station. CCTV footage has debunked some police claims. Because of the follow-up bombing attempts the previous day, some of the tapes had been supposedly removed from CCTV cameras for study, and they were not functional. The use of DVR technology may solve this problem."


In the UK the police are building up a large DNA database from everybody charged with a criminal offence (now nearly 5m entries) this solves crimes regularly. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3232744.stm [bbc.co.uk] as an example.

Bottom line, I have no problem with this technology if safeguards are in place and it makes the streets a safer place to walk.

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234131)

Bottom line, I have no problem with this technology if safeguards are in place and it makes the streets a safer place to walk.

Yes, what could possibly go wrong unless you have something to hide?!

The problem is .. (4, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234159)

This consolidates power in the hands of government. Right now, the UK government can be offensive, inappropriate, incompetent, all the traditional sins of government, but they do stop short of being outright openly evil. Alas, government is not a static reliable thing. Many of the functions of government are being gleefully handed over to corporations, either by market-worshipping dingbats who genuinely believe that the market can regulate itself, or by corrupt arseholes who just want the stock options.

Now, imagine the same systems in the hands of a major corporation. Now imagine that the corporation has very few legal restrictions on what it does. Now imagine you have pissed them off.

If that didn't scare you, you have a serious lack of imagination.

Re:The problem is .. (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234297)

Right now, the UK government can be offensive, inappropriate, incompetent, all the traditional sins of government, but they do stop short of being outright openly evil.

Ha ha, yeah, good one.

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234185)

If you have one thing that you don't want one person to know about means you have something to hide. What it so demeaning that my opinion shouldn't count if I have something to hide. I successfully purchased and stored 5 months early a gift for my mothers birthday that I was hiding from her, Am i a bad person or something now?

Something to hide or not is by n means a reason to discount an objection.

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (0, Troll)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234261)

Rubbish.

The fact you purchased a gift for your mother would hardly be picked up by automatic number plates would it? It would be picked up by a check on your credit card history, but then police have been able to do that for years. The fact is that they only do that if they have suspicion on the their part of a misdemeaner on your part. And that is how the system works - when there is suspicion then the police data mine the CCTV, card, number plates, phone records, DNA and other databases to generate, support or disprove a hypothesis about the crime itself.

To imply that the police will be watching you smacks of conspiracy theory and paranoia - go put your tinfoil coated aardvark hat back on you wierdo.

There will alway be specific isolated incidents of abuse to the system - that is inherent in a blanket coverage system controlled by fallible being subject to the whims of human nature - but the simple fact is that the system works on a more general system. And it definitely solves and discourages crime. In that respect I am all for it and I will continue to deride the nutters who think that the government is watching their every move.

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234337)

The fact you purchased a gift for your mother would hardly be picked up by automatic number plates would it? It would be picked up by a check on your credit card history, but then police have been able to do that for years. The fact is that they only do that if they have suspicion on the their part of a misdemeaner on your part. And that is how the system works - when there is suspicion then the police data mine the CCTV, card, number plates, phone records, DNA and other databases to generate, support or disprove a hypothesis about the crime itself.
Really, and the fact that I had to drive to a part of town I only go to in order to buy gifts isn't a way to track you either. And no, you don't know that the police will only use this when you are suspected or a crime. In Lima Ohio they are putting the very same cameras into patrol cars that check the license plates as the cop drives along and if there are any warrants or anything it alerts them. Oh yea, they also keep this information indefinitely and could use it to pin you into an area at a later date. So going to the other side of town to get a gift could place you in suspicion of a crime just by being in the area when it happened.

Besides, My point wasn't about being under suspicion of a crime. IT was that having something to hide doesn't make you guilty of something.

There will alway be specific isolated incidents of abuse to the system - that is inherent in a blanket coverage system controlled by fallible being subject to the whims of human nature - but the simple fact is that the system works on a more general system. And it definitely solves and discourages crime. In that respect I am all for it and I will continue to deride the nutters who think that the government is watching their every move.I'm not worried about isolated abuses. It should be there and anyone who objects, even if they do have something to hide should have a valid voice in it. For too long people have claimed If you don't have anything to hide, then whats the problem. The problem is that I might want to hide something in the future and that doesn't make me a criminal. And because I might have something to hide, my objections shouldn't discarded as paranoid. You can give up freedoms and be watched all the time, or worse yet, get exploited by a state and city that has raided their road funds and neglected their transportation system and have a system like this be used to make sure your freedom is paid in full.

Do you like having to pay for your freedom? The same freedom you had yesterday but will cost you a premium in a few days? How about the poor who need to goto the area, have a full tank of gas but not enough to parking and the public transport? Or are we trying to keep that sort of people out?

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234341)

If you build it, they will come. Just because they can, someone -will- be watching, even if just to make sure things are working and just happen to see you do something.

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234279)

Bottom line, I have no problem with this technology if safeguards are in place and it makes the streets a safer place to walk.


Good then you'll have no problem submitting DNA(blood and hair sample), fingerprints, and psycholgical evaluation. Don't worry about a list of known associates since you will have video and sound recorders and gps surgically implanted. Don't worry, we'll use the same safeguards as the traffic system. Also please keep a journal of any thoughts you have.

Unless, of course, you have something to hide. This will make the streets safer after all.
So do you agree?

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (4, Informative)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234331)

Actually there is a lot of sense to that. It has been proposed before that a government DNA database would virtually solve crime - obviously this is not true but it would be a very useful tool for detection and prevention.

But before you go off on one and start ranting lets look at the facts...

From the Home Office: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/science-research/usin g-science/dna-database/ [homeoffice.gov.uk]

"Any intrusion on personal privacy is proportionate to the benefits that are gained.

By the end of 2005, about 200,000 samples had been retained that would have been destroyed before the 2001 change in legislation. 8,000 of these samples matched with DNA taken from crime scenes, involving nearly 14,000 offences, including murders and rapes.

In 2005-06 45,000 crimes were matched against records on the DNA Database; including 422 homicides (murders and manslaughters) and 645 rapes."

Thats 45 thousand crimes in one year. Think about that for a while.

And an anti database view: http://www.genewatch.org/HumanGen/Publications/Rep orts/NationalDNADatabase.pdf [genewatch.org]

"Errors and false DNA matches have led to miscarriages of justice, and these can create major difficulties for those wrongfully convicted because, like fingerprint evidence, DNA is widely regarded as absolutely conclusive, meaning that those without strong alibi evidence will tend to be presumed guilty. At the moment the DNA database itself can be viewed largely (but not entirely) as a growing suspect list that is mainly used to check samples from new and unsolved crime, but the existing data can be (and has been) used for broader purposes, and the UK practice of retaining the sample as well as the data allows it to be used for further testing for other purposes as the science develops.

We're seeing glimpses of what is possible with familial testing, which establishes links to family members where the suspect's DNA might not be on the database, and although the first instance of this was viewed as a coup, if used widely the procedure would find relatives you didn't know about, and reveal that people weren't related to the people they thought they were. So what have you got to hide? You don't know, and maybe you don't want to know."

--- I am *not* parroting a government line. Nor am I proposing GATACCA. I am simply stating that to dismiss this without thought on quaint and paranoid lines seems irrational and foolish. I realized that this viewpoint would run counter to many of the /. readers (yes thats a sweeping generalization) but it really is what I think.

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234281)

apodyopsis sez:

I find that most people who reject number plate tracking, CCTV cameras, automatic logging and vehicle license MOT test (legal UK vehicle check to ensure it is road worthy) and the like generally have something to hide.
How the hell did this get modded "insightful"? All apodyopsis is doing is parroting the administration party line that privacy is about concealing wrongdoing. This is not what privacy is about at all.

Here's [wired.com] an excellent piece by Bruce Schneier that explains in more detail just why the "you must have something to hide" argument is worthless.

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234367)

Interesting read, many thanks - but irrelevant to this discussion. We are NOT talking about ubiquitous surveillance everywhere. We are talking about surveillance in public places and DNA checking from collected samples to a centrally held database. Privacy in people homes is still guaranteed except when a warrant has been issued - in that respect nothing has changed.

The proposed systems are nothing more then a tool to help solve crimes - they do not watch your every move in the privacy of your own home as the parents link would suggest. I really do not understand why this one subject raises so many hackles.

The best point in the article is the Cardinal Richelieu point - but even then I don't believe it. Thats why we have trial by Jury and an appeal system. Besides, there have miscarriages of justice ever since there was a justice system - why would a new tool increase that?

"Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." Watch someone long enough, and you'll find something to arrest -- or just blackmail -- with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies -- whoever they happen to be at the time."

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (2, Informative)

Maelwryth (982896) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234313)

You forget that a bombing is a fairly small crime in the larger scheme of things. The really big crimes are committed by governments.

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234413)

They came for the terrorists. I was not a terrorist, so I didn't speak out.
They came for the criminals. I was not a criminal, so I didn't speak out.
They came for the traffic offenders. I was a traffic offender, but I still didn't speak out.

Who's next? The homeless? Political protesters? Curfew breakers? Draft dodgers?

Be careful what you wish for.

Re:I have no problem with this kind of thing (1)

nem75 (952737) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234469)

I find that most people who reject number plate tracking, CCTV cameras, automatic logging and vehicle license MOT test (legal UK vehicle check to ensure it is road worthy) and the like generally have something to hide.
Everyone has something to hide, so this is a moot point. You don't? In that case I'd like your address to drop by for a visit and rummage through your drawers. And please forward all your private e-mails to me. Thank you.

Catching up (3, Funny)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234115)

As a British subject, it's nice to see our American allies catching up in the war on citizens^H^H^H^H^H^H terror.

George Orwell is one of the greatest British heroes to ever live, and now his ideas are spreading around the world. This must surely be England's finest hour.

But will it aid in traffic flow? (3, Informative)

Brianech (791070) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234119)

I hate to play devil's advocate here, but this could be a much better system than a toll booth system. Either way it seems they are looking to make the traffic congested area a toll zone. Toll booths create a stop and go traffic nightmare. Creating a system that is automated (and like most things automated NOT perfect) would at least be a solid solution to not only DETER atleast some traffic, but also not hinder traffic flow. Now of course people will be screaming about how such a system will be used.

Obviously one major problematic scenario is law enforcement going wild with such a resource. You would hope there would be a secure system to prevent abuse, but it creates the infinite problem of who will watch the watchers, who will watch the watchers watching the watchers, etc. As long as the system does not needlessly collect data (such as a blanket camera system that tracks ALL movements within the zone) I dont think most people would mind. You have to remember that even at tollbooths your car is caught on camera (security cameras). True, security cameras dont have the retention this system would require (for billing purposes it would be atleast a month depending on monthly/quartly/yearly pricing) but again, imposes limitations on the use of such data could aid in ensuring the privacy of drivers.

Sorry to go anti-1984 here, but this system is far less frightening than say a CCTV blanket system like that already purposed for many downtown locations around the US, and already in wide spread use in England. While the article was scant on the operational details of the system, it felt like it was going to be used solely to track motorists entering an area and just for billing purposes (as much as we can trust that!).

Re:But will it aid in traffic flow? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234259)

Toll booths create a stop and go traffic nightmare.

The other problem with toll booths is that they only really work when the toll is on a single road - bridges, motorways, entrances to airports etc, not on an area with multiple entrances like part of Manhattan, or central London or Singapore.

Stockholm running it already (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234157)

After a earlier trial in Stockholm, Sweden the system is back online. The automatic license plate reading system is developed by IBM and only scans license plates when you drive into the toll zone or leaving it. It created a 20% decrease in traffic during the earlier trial and the average speed increased. The air pollution levels was reduced. The bus system, trains and subway noticed an increase in passengers but travel times was reduced still.

The information is kept until payment has been made, when it's removed from the system. With only 2 weeks to pay not much information can be recovered from the database.

With all the alarming reports about climate change and greenhouse gases it's probably a good idea to implement road tolls all over the world. In Stockholm environment friendly cars don't have to pay the road tolls. What is defined as a environment friendly car is subject to change every year as development goes forward.

Already Done, Surprisiingly in.. (1)

Zekasu (1059298) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234205)

Texas has "upgraded" some of their toll booths with a similar technology. For about a month after they first started using it, I can remember the reports of people from out of state being fined, and likewise for what should be a relatively simple system.

Unfortunately, the complexity came from something that was "outside" (figuratively speaking) the system.

That being said, what's so newsworthy about this? The fact that it's in New York?

It's when the government starts setting up cameras everywhere to monitor people that you need to be concerned. First it starts with tolls, then red lights, then every street corner, then it starts with measuring the velocity of a moving automobile, then RFID chips, and THEN an Orwellian society might come into play.

That being said, the tin foil hat goes on tonight.

where have I heard this idea before? (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234211)

Oh yeah, in that last bastion of freedom: the UK. If it was restricted to just London I could live with that as who in their right mind would want to go there anyway but this broken thinking is spreading to other cities. If that wasn't enough we now have ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) on all the motorways, some a-roads and I've seen it at pertol stations as well. Welcome to the police state. Have a nice stay.

Re:where have I heard this idea before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234361)

Oh yeah, in that last bastion of freedom: the UK. If it was restricted to just London I could live with that as who in their right mind would want to go there anyway but this broken thinking is spreading to other cities. If that wasn't enough we now have ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) on all the motorways, some a-roads and I've seen it at pertol stations as well. Welcome to the police state. Have a nice stay.


When companies force staff to sign waivers denying them good working conditions, banks pull out of poor areas, or big retail decimates high streets I don't see the smartass free market types complaining. Now the state is cracking down on misbehaviour and selfish attitudes they're out in force. They can bring on the police state for all I care. I welcome it. I embrace it. I've been wishing and hoping for it. I kiss its black shiny boot. Seriously.

Social and economic liberals have screwed up Britain since the 1960's. Children can't read or write. Parents have no authority. Jobs are a depersonalised drudge and the media is full of shit. Whatever the post-war dream was it's been sold off, rented out, and shut down. The boiled frog has died. Discipline and consideration aren't a bad thing, and if better governance can put this in place everything suggests people will be happier. Don't like it? Leave.

and bicycles will be free!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234329)

why anyone would want to drive in Manhattan (aside from commercial delivery or taxi) is beyond me...

stupid cagers!

Brownyness Rating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234335)

A simple scale for measuring the brownyness of a person is the Cosby Brownyness Scale.
An albino has the rating 1 millicosby (mC)
A suntanned Caucasian 100mC
A dark person 1 Cosby (C)
very dark people can have a rating of 5 Cosbys (C)

The rating can be modified for persons of Asian descent by applying the Karrot Factor. The average Asian would have a rating of 250mC, Karrot Factor 5(250mC/KF5)

What I don't get (4, Interesting)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234353)

Is how there is not any outrage, but there is acceptability, for the corupt nature of the whole situation. Gas taxes are supposed to pay for roads (maint & repair). That would go to figure, you use public roads, you should pay for them. But now here's a situation where the Federal Govt is giving NY 300+ million to charge people more money to use _PUBLIC_ roads. I guess "Public" no longer means paid for by the people's taxes, but means, paid for by the people's taxes, and rented out to the folks who can afford it.

Rerouting congestion does not solve the problem. NIMBY all over again. Those cars have to go somewhere. And as for the folks who think that public transportation is good enough, that could be viewed as another freedom taken away. Folks drive for many reasons, one being a sense of going where they want, when they want.

How is this any different... (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234415)

than what they're doing in with the Narrows bridge in Washington state? I think they're taking pictures of license plates and fining people who skip the toll.

Simple -- just use this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234417)

What changes? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20234433)

Do people really think that this changes their privacy? Lots of folks have mentioned the congestion charging here in London, but even before it was introduced I got a letter from the police to say that their cameras had seen my car in an area where a murder had been committed, and had I seen anything? If they want to track folks in Manhattan I bet they already have the technology in place.

Manhattan is just for the rich who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20234451)

I grew up in NYC. Used to be so much more interesting. Now it's just money. The seedy parts of the city had character. People did not have much money (artists, etc) and it was fun visiting various poor and bohemian areas. Now it's just money, money and more money.
What have the rich produced besides corruption? Pathetic.
Simply boycott NYC and let the rich clean the dishes in the restaurants they frequent assuming everyone would boycott NYC. Let's start a F*KC NYC (pruposely misspelled) campaign as opposed to LOVE NY. OIE VEY.
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