Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox declared use of red light and speed camerasSurveillance cameras used in crime-fighting seem to avoid most of these challenges, however, and catch actual bad guys.. There has got be a reason folks are so fixated on traffic cameras.
to be illegal. And the Minnesota Supreme Court struck down red light cameras,
ruling it was wrong for police to ticket the car owner, regardless of who was
James Vlahos, writes:
We have arrived at a unique moment in the history of surveillance. The price of both megapixels and gigabytes has plummeted, making it possible to collect a previously unimaginable quantity and quality of data. Advances in processing power and software, meanwhile, are beginning to allow computers to surmount the greatest limitation of traditional surveillance—the ability of eyeballs to effectively observe the activity on dozens of video screens simultaneously. Computers can't do all the work by themselves, but they can expand the capabilities of humans exponentially.
Here is what he had to say about us though:
Used by banks, hotels and retail stores, 3VR’s “searchable surveillance” systems automatically create a template of every face that passes in front of security cameras (it caught our author here at a Chicago hotel check-in counter). The system creates a mathematical model based on the geometry of each person’s face that can be compared to a central list of known suspects for instant alerts. The technology can also automatically log events based on an automated object recognition analysis of an entire scene—for example, Frank Jones met with Doris Meeker at 12:45 pm; Meeker arrived in a blue sedan. Because all events are cataloged, several months’ worth of data can be analyzed in minutes.
So far, public debate about Mayor Bloomberg's congestion-pricing proposal has focused on issues like the specific boundaries of a congestion-pricing zone, the fees drivers will pay, the impact on mass transit and how much congestion pricing will actually reduce traffic congestion. Lost in this discussion has been the fact that implementation of congestion pricing could involve the creation of a massive system of surveillance cameras. Like the program already in place in London, the congestion-pricing plan being considered here would use cameras to read and record the license plate of every car, truck and motorcycle entering or leaving the congestion-pricing zone, as well as of many vehicles traveling inside the zone. The system then would match that license plate information against a database of vehicle owners to bill drivers the congestion-pricing fee. This type of plan raises enormous privacy concerns.
While it’s true that over 70% of American’s state a willingness to endure privacy invasion and surveillance as part of efforts to fight crime and save lives, traffic enforcement efforts using the same technologies aren’t nearly so popular. That’s Bloomberg’s problem. His “surveillance” cameras aren’t REALLY for general surveillance. Instead, they are specialized high-speed cameras zoomed in to focus on the license plates of Manhattan traffic. And while they’ll do an excellent job tracking the daily movements of NY commuters, they will do very little to deter crime in the areas they are deployed.