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Old Aug 1, 2011, 7:23 AM   #21
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I don't think its just limited to the US Ted, big brother is always watching.
Sam, apparently it's worse in the UK than here in the US. I subscribe to a service that puts the location of photo radar and red light cameras into my car's GPS, and they email the subscribers a newsletter. Here is the latest:

A sleepy Home Counties market town has become the first in Britain to have every car passing through it tracked by police cameras.
Royston, in Hertfordshire, has had a set of police cameras installed on every roads leading in and out of it, recording the numberplate of every vehicle that passes them. The automatic number-plate recognition system (ANPR) will check the plates against a variety of databases, studying them for links to crimes, and insurance and tax records, and alerting police accordingly.
While some business owners say the town will be safer as a result of the Hertfordshire Police scheme, other say it is the start of a 'slippery slope' where the innocent are monitored unnecessarily.

The system also allows police to compile 'hotlists' of vehicles that they are interested in and which will be flagged up when the ANPR system

Details of the cars movements will stay on police records for two years, or five if the car is connected to a crime, the Guardian reported.

The system, which is operated regionally, has sparked fears that the data could be abused and has led to claims that it is a big brother network that the public are completely oblivious of. Guy Herbert, general secretary from NO2ID, which campaigns against databases storing the public's details, said: 'It's very sinister and quite creepy. They can approach anyone they like, but there's no legal basis for them doing so. There's no way to regulate how they use ANPR, they are the authority on it and they have their own rules. So there's no way to protect people's privacy.'

Mr Herbert also takes issue with the fact that the cameras are not advertised to the motorist, so many are unaware they have even been caught on the camera. But Inspector Andy Piper, the ANPR manager for Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, and a Royston resident himself, insists that the system will not be abused. He told the Guardian: 'We only deal with people we're interested in stopping - that's the criminal element that comes into our county intent on committing crime, and unsafe drivers, disqualified drivers, or people driving uninsured vehicles, who we want to take off the road.

The ANPR cameras, which are not usually advertised to the public, seem bizarre given Royston's low level of crime. The town has a population of 15,000.

Following the most recent meeting of the Royston Neighbourhood Panel, it was decided that the local top priority of speeding should be replaced by shoplifting. So some have questioned why Hertfordshire Police have taken such measures to track all of cars coming in and out of the town, which borders the Cambridgeshire and Essex counties. Former Royston mayor Rod Kennedy believes the system is targeting the wrong area and details of vehicles should be deleted, unless they have committed a crime or are not registered.

"I just feel that we are on this slippery slope where everything we do will be monitored. I don't see why the honest citizen in a rural area such as this should have their movements tracked."

He told the Mail that many businesses were in favour of the system. 'On first sight, the ANPR coverage of such a low crime town as Royston may seem an unusual choice, but ANPR works both as a deterrent and a detection tool. The town council and local business group funded the cameras to help protect their businesses and local residents from crime. And when we look at the bigger picture in terms of Hertfordshire, as well as nationally, the position of the cameras makes a lot of sense strategically to target those criminals travelling into the county on the main roads in that area.'

The ANPR system uses a mixture of mobile cameras inside police cars and fixed installations in some locations. Police argue it helps trace missing people and identify witnesses to help with crimes but James Welch, Legal Director for Liberty, a human rights campaigning group said there needs to be tougher rules to stop it from being vulnerable to misuse. 'ANPR technology captures an identifying marker – a car’s number plate – so has the capability to track and record an individual’s movements far more intrusively than CCTV,' he said.
'While there may be crime detection gains the potential for abuse is great.

'We need an informed debate about the extent and potential of this technology and proper statutory regulation is already long overdue.'
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Old Aug 1, 2011, 10:17 AM   #22
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Yep, big brother over-reach again. That story of the Royston police cameras just recently broke in a couple of big name British newspapers:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ed-police.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/ju...police-cameras
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Old Aug 1, 2011, 5:20 PM   #23
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Last time I was over visiting my mum, I had a rental car as always and took mum for a ride into Wales, Just north of Harlech, photoed here. When I got home I found I'd incured a ticket that day including a photo of the car. In London, fully 200 miles away. A grainy crappy photo of a car with a plate that was one letter off from mine. They copied it as a T when their pixellated, noisey, photo under a magnifying glass showed a Y.
Easy fix right . send a letter with enhanced photo to the London Transport, the rental agency and my credit card company.
Any way to make a looooong hassle short...I lost. Nobody wanted to check or listen, it was easier for them to put it on me. Ended up sending nasty letters to all. Cancelling the card and telling the car rental I wouldn't use them again...That scared them..

Bad taste in mouth.
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Old Aug 1, 2011, 8:35 PM   #24
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Last time I was over visiting my mum, I had a rental car as always and took mum for a ride into Wales, Just north of Harlech, photoed here. When I got home I found I'd incured a ticket that day including a photo of the car. In London, fully 200 miles away. A grainy crappy photo of a car with a plate that was one letter off from mine. They copied it as a T when their pixelled, noisey, photo under a magnifying glass showed a Y.
Easy fix right . send a letter with enhanced photo to the London Transport, the rental agency and my credit card company.
Any way to make a looooong hassle short...I lost. Nobody wanted to check or listen, it was easier for them to put it on me. Ended up sending nasty letters to all. Cancelling the card and telling the car rental I wouldn't use them again...That scared them..

Bad taste in mouth.
That is a horrible experience, I bet you were livid, and justifiably so. Ever notice how some of the biggest or silliest abuses of government power always seem to start out as just a small intrusion into your freedoms in order to protect us from ourselves? So much of government is run by rigid minded bureaucrats who would never be able to flaunt that much power in the private sector. You should send your experience to one of the British newspapers to spread your story.
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Old Aug 1, 2011, 9:54 PM   #25
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How does the saying go..?

Those who trade liberty for security have neither...
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Old Aug 1, 2011, 9:58 PM   #26
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My favourite people in the whole world are those who say: "Why would I worry what they do. I have nothing to hide." or "We're doing it for your safety, to help protect you."
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Old Aug 2, 2011, 6:17 AM   #27
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It's getting really bad here too. In the DC area there was a now locally famous photo radar unit that was handing out a citation to almost every car passing by. A business owner whose drivers were getting citations and were insisting they weren't speeding, took a good look at the photos in the citations. Each had 2 photos that were time-stamped and he computed that the distance his vehicles traveled in the elapsed time meant they were going 40mph, the posted speed limit. No one was watching the operation and so he went to court and caused a big shakeup in the county's management of the contractor operating the units.

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How does the saying go..?

Those who trade liberty for security have neither...
Unfortunately it's such a large revenue source that voters are unable to get the programs stopped. There are fights going on in cities in Washington State and Texas, where non-elected judges have blocked initiatives to have photo radar use put on a referendum. Of course, it's not that the judges are worried that there's enough government income to support their salaries, right?

[End of rant]

Ted
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