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Tampa's Cameras Not Just For The Superbowl 195

Posted by timothy
from the invasive-technology dept.
kcurtis points to this CNN story about using cameras to scan people walking in the streets and matching them to mug shots. I'm no privacy freak, but this would be a bit unnerving. What if I happen to look like some murderer or DMCA offender?" This is the same technology that Superbowl attendees were unknowingly subjected to as well. Not to worry -- you're considered innocent until matched by face-recognition software. Yep, this is a duplicate story - naughty Tim!
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Tampa's Cameras Not Just For The Superbowl

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  • A fun way to protest this would be to put wanted posters in view of all the cameras.

    During the Princess Di feeding frenzy, some mention was made of a device that interfered with cameras, that was used by celebs to prevent unauthorized photography. Does this really exist? If so, would it work on these video cameras?

  • Posted by polar_bear:

    Frankly, I don't see the big problem here. Video cameras in public places - emphasis on *public* - where you have no expectation of privacy in the first place.

    A worst-case scenario is that they'd have a false positive and stop someone, then let them go.

    Hell, they ought to put cameras in a lot more public places - think how hesitant muggers, rapists or other criminals would be if there was a decent chance that they'd be videotaped in the act. It's kind of hard to beat a conviction if you have video-taped evidence.

    I'd be a lot more concerned if they were using audio snooping devices instead of video. If you're walking down the street with a collegue you have no reasonable expectation that you won't be seen and possibly photographed or videotaped - which is only useful to apprehend wanted criminals or to capture evidence of a crime in progress. On the other hand, audio surveilence would gather data that could be used to gather other kinds of evidence and I would think it would violate someone's 5th amendment rights.

    As long as video surveilence doesn't intrude into areas where you'd have a reasonable expectation of privacy - a hotel room, dressing rooms, bathrooms, your residence, your vehicle - I don't see the issue.

    While we're at it, I think we should require elected officials to wear a wire and video camera 24/7 while they're in office... maybe this would get rid of some of the corruption in office.
  • Posted by polar_bear:

    There always have to be checks and balances - I'm sure the technology exists to prevent, or at least detect, tampering.

    As to the question of how long the tapes/video data would be kept, that would have to be decided.

    As far as "near-irrefutable evidence" - assuming that a tape hadn't been tampered with and it did show you comitting a crime - why should you have any expectation of getting away with it? This is one of the few things I've heard of that would actually be a deterrent to crime.

    Admission of personal videotape as evidence is something I don't know anything about - so I can't say whether your home video showing your innocence would be admissible or not. I would think it would be, but I'm not a lawyer. I think that a defendant should have much more leeway in presenting materials to prove innocence than the prosecution has in presenting materials proving guilt. Do you have some case you could cite where a defendant was not allowed to present material during a trial that would prove them innocent? I'd be interested to read about that.

    I'm a big proponent of rights to privacy, but I can't really think of a compelling argument for disallowing video surveilence in public places. Again, emphasis on public. I don't think the government should ever have unrestricted rights to tap phones, monitor email or other communications - but taping people in public places to look for wanted criminals isn't something that scares me.

    What's the difference, really, between taping the parking lot of a stadium and video cameras in 7-11? I think a lot of New Yorkers would welcome video cameras in the subway and on subway trains.

    Anyway, possible abuse of video footage is a slippery-slope argument that simply tries to chuck an entire idea on the premise that there may be one flaw in it. I don't think it's a convincing argument. Most any device or technology for law enforcement could (and probably will) be abused at some point - but it doesn't negate the benefit of the technology nor provide a substantial argument for abandoning it. It only means that we should be careful and that we always need to have checks and balances to prevent abuses by the small percentage of law enforcement officials who aren't honest.
  • Posted by polar_bear:

    Actually, even in public, I have SOME expectation of privacy. In particular, I have the expectation that none of the people I pass on the street know every single place I go every moment I am in public. Furthermore, I expect that the people who do see me don't look me up in a database so that they know my name, age, and residence (or even have the ability to do so). Nor do they keep records of seeing me (for the most part).


    Not really, especially if you're under criminal investigation. Ever seen one of those documentaries where they discuss how they track Mob members? They're constantly tailing them, taking photos of them and anyone they're with - and as far as I know they need no special warrants to do so - they only need approval from their superiors or the DA or whoever. That is, as long as they're in public - if they're at home or visiting a relative in the hospital or something, they have an expectation of privacy in what are private areas. But if they're walking down the street, they're fair game.

    I don't think it'd be a bad idea to watch the police, either. The police might not like it, but you have the legal right to do so if they're in public - as long as you don't interfere with the police while they're trying to do their jobs.

    I should mention that I do think people should be informed that they're being videotaped. If it became public policy, for instance, then I think that there should be a public posting of locations of the cameras, how long the tapes are kept and what they'll be used for. For instance, I don't agree with cities that are photographing people charged with solicitation and publishing them in an attempt to fight prostitution. That's simply an attempt to embarrass and harass people that shouldn't be tolerated. But scanning video of public places in an attempt to track criminals is no different than placing police in public areas to look for them - except that it has the potential to be much more effective.

    If someone gives a shit about what you're doing, your privacy is pretty much an illusion anyway. Might as well just get used to the idea. What is it that you're so concerned with if you haven't done anything to be prosecuted for?
  • Posted by polar_bear:

    The natural check on that behaviour (high cost, limited budget and manpower) is gone.

    Not really - someone still has to watch the tape, someone has to show up at the scene, etc. Having videotape of public areas wouldn't mean that every person is going to be tracked individually - it means that there would be a record available if law enforcement had reason to believe there was useful information there.

    Basically what you seem to be saying is "I had a bad experience because of mistaken identity and a cop with an attitude, therefore any new technologies are just going to increase the opportunity for this to happen."

    Firstly, I doubt this would increase or decrease the number of incidents where law officials overstep their bounds or make mistakes. Unless the system comes with increases in the number of cops on the street, the odds of this increasing the number of incidents you describe are pretty slim. Granted, some of them might stem from the video system instead of license checks or whatever, but there are only so many cops on the beat to pull people over or follow up leads...and the vast majority of the cops on duty are still going to be working on things that are happening *right now* not following up leads based on video tape or whatever.

    Secondly, as I mentioned earlier, you're only harping on one negative facet and trying to use that as an argument to completely discredit the idea. You're ignoring the overwhelming positives that might come from it, such as reduced violent crimes. If I had to make a trade-off between the possibility I might be harrassed or inconvenienced by a cop for the possibility that the technology could prevent one murder or rape then I'd say it's worth it.

    I'm not surprised you've had a bad experience with a cop - I'd bet at least 50% of the people reading Slashdot have as well. Guess what? So have I. However, that's no excuse to tie the hands of all law enforcement officials because some small percentage of them may be rude, incompetent or even outright corrupt.

    Let's face it, most city police departments are overwhelmingly understaffed and don't have anywhere near the resources they should have to catch violent offenders.

    I agree that video surveilence wouldn't solve all the problems or be a perfect solution, but I think it'd be worth trying out. There's no reason why it couldn't be tested and gotten rid of if it doesn't work. The other half of the equation is the public itself - we're (collectively) guilty of a great deal of laziness as well. Cops and politicians only feel comfortable abusing their power when the majority of the populace lets them get away with it, or they feel that they will.

  • Posted by polar_bear:

    Since face recognition software is to be used, nobody has to watch the tape, they just have to verify a few still frames.


    And show up at the scene, and try to track the person down - there's still considerable expenditure of manpower.

    You seem sure the system won't come to be abused. Why not?

    On the contrary, I'm sure it would be at some point - I think I even said so in a previous post. The question is the extent of the abuse, how far-reaching it is and how much harm it would do. If it's abused once or twice quietly, it won't draw much attention and won't cause people to call for its removal. On the other hand, blatant abuse or frequent abuse would likely cause people to ask for the system to be dismantled. It would be a true statement to say I don't think it would be abused widely or badly enough to outweigh the benefits. And, it might just prevent other abuses by law enforcement officials as well - police would be hesitant to use unnecessary force if they thought it might be caught on tape. (I believe a lot of police departments now require police to have a video camera in the squad cars, but that doesn't catch anything that takes place out of view of the camera...)

    The Atlanta situation is one that I'm unfamiliar with, so I can't really comment on it. I'm not surprised that they'd try to sneak something like this under the radar, so to speak. That's dirty pool, no question about it. If a system is implemented it should be used for its stated purpose, and if there's a modification it should be publicized and voted on. Again, voters who don't raise a fuss and vote the bastards out are at least partially to blame. I won't say "equally," but voters have to take responsibility. I think we would both agree the larger problem is apathy on the part of the majority of the populace.

    After all, unlike a cop standing on the corner, you can't tell what a computer system and cops miles away behind the camera are doing. The population won't object to things it doesn't know about.


    Well, they can't tell what the police are doing behind the scenes, true. But when a cop shows up to make an arrest it's going to be public information. If they start abusing the system it will become public knowledge.
  • If you are mistaken for someone else and detained, you go and sue for wrongful arrest. It's not like you're filing a frivilous lawsuit, you're charging them for your time.

    If you have to spend a night in a holding cell, you sue them for a couple of thousand. Not bad for a night's work, eh?

    I'm in favor of all these cameras. Go look back to the slashdot story from long ago titled "Good riddance privacy" or somehting like that.
  • That makes NO sense.
    Why would they detain you just because they have a mugshot of you? Now THAT would be wrong.

    As far as the wife part, you simply sue for more, ya see? Make your wrongful arrest suit be related to the amount of harm caused by their arrest. Not only that, but if something like this happens you can then go to the press and the PR damage would be very real.

    As far as the finding evidence, that is the problem in itself and bares no reason to be down on the cameras. I mean "finding" evidence is a problem whether or not arrests happen because of cameras being around.
  • stop being the person the cops are looking for, and it'll all work out.

    Unless the cops in question are corrupt, and they're looking for me because I have the evidence to prove it. Or perhaps just because I have said they MIGHT be corrupt, or that I don't like the cameras.

    That's the problem with systems like that. One day they are looking for violent criminals, the next they're everywhere. The day after that, they're looking for people who actually think the constitution is a good idea and that it should be strictly upheld.

    By then, it's too late. It's all part of checks and balances. It seems that for some reason, law enforcement is increasingly hostile to those checks and balances.

  • Accused poor people get some semblance of legal help, and it can be quite useful, but it's nothing like what a rich defendant can pay for.

    Unfortunatly, in many cases, the client meets the attourney less than 5 minutes before the trial begins. Sometimes the public defender isn't even a criminal lawyer (instead, he is a civil lawyer pressed into service).

    As for a civil case vs. the police (for repeated harassment), if you can't afford a lengthy court case, forget it.

  • Frankly, I don't see the big problem here. Video cameras in public places - emphasis on *public* - where you have no expectation of privacy in the first place.

    Actually, even in public, I have SOME expectation of privacy. In particular, I have the expectation that none of the people I pass on the street know every single place I go every moment I am in public. Furthermore, I expect that the people who do see me don't look me up in a database so that they know my name, age, and residence (or even have the ability to do so). Nor do they keep records of seeing me (for the most part).

    Right now, the cameras are referencing criminal records. Who's to say they won't look up DMV records tomorrow. If they do, will anyone be told?

    I wonder how the police in Tampa would feel if a citizen's group decided to match them camera for camera but watch police instead.

  • Not really, especially if you're under criminal investigation. Ever seen one of those documentaries where they discuss how they track Mob members? They're constantly tailing them, taking photos of them and anyone they're with

    One reason there is little concern about that sort of operation is that the expense involved forces the police to have strong justification. They're not going to assign several plainclothes cops to me because I MIGHT commit a crime one day. On the other hand, the cameras and recognition system make it possable to monitor EVERYONE for next to no cost. The natural check on that behaviour (high cost, limited budget and manpower) is gone.

    If someone gives a shit about what you're doing, your privacy is pretty much an illusion anyway. Might as well just get used to the idea. What is it that you're so concerned with if you haven't done anything to be prosecuted for?

    I am always concerned when any government agency seems bent on removing an important check against their power. Generally, they want this either out of laziness or because they intend to abuse the power that's checked. The former isn't so bad, but the latter is a real problem.

    Another side effect is that constantly watching the citizens will further reduce police understanding that they work for those citizens, not the other way around.

    I also say this as someone who has been pulled over and confronted at gunpoint by a cop who didn't bother to notice that my middle name and a parole violator's were different (he pulled it up from my tag number). I did NOT get an apology or anything like one. Instead he spent some time trying to find SOMETHING I was doing wrong.

    The camera system will only increase the number of such incidents.

  • Not really - someone still has to watch the tape, someone has to show up at the scene, etc.

    Since face recognition software is to be used, nobody has to watch the tape, they just have to verify a few still frames.

    You seem to be assuming that the system will be used as they say it will, and that the use won't change later. You seem sure the system won't come to be abused. Why not?

    In Atlanta, cameras have been set up to watch traffic. Public officials all swore that the system would ONLY be used to monitor congestion. Guess what? NOW that the cameras are there and everything they want to track suspects and catch speeders. Elapsed time between the two statements? 2 years.

    Yes, I am focusing on one negative facet. Yes, I do think that that's enough to more than offset the positives (sure, it does have some).

    Cops and politicians only feel comfortable abusing their power when the majority of the populace lets them get away with it, or they feel that they will.

    Exactly, and a massive surveilance system with automated recognition software is very likely to give them that feeling. After all, unlike a cop standing on the corner, you can't tell what a computer system and cops miles away behind the camera are doing. The population won't object to things it doesn't know about.

  • Big Brother is definatly here. Man, this starts to get scary. They take pictures of your licence plate if your speeding. They watch you in malls in case your shoplifting. Now, they're scanning your face, 'in case your an escaped mass murderer'.

    All of this stuff with the best of intentions, 'just in case'.

    So much for a free country.
    From
    Live free or die
    To
    Live Recorded or be Deported
  • By automating the ability to find and catch criminals, it becomes possible to catch and prosecute all instances of crime. Automation removes the "ignore" element that you mention.
  • Necessity is still the mother of invention.

    And who decides what is "necessary"? I hereby decide that it is "necessary" that I know every detail of your sexual life so that I may share it with everyone who knows you or may meet you in the future. So I'll invent unavoidable devices that spy on you 24/7. The fact that I can develop said technology is, by your argument, a fairly good indicator of need. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all.

    Here you'll probably say that my "need" is invalid since it's not for the "greater good of society." This argument assumes that the government will never abuse their power. Who is in the government, faultless saints and angels, or flesh-and-blood, fallible humans like you and I? Perhaps you should do a web search on MK-ULTRA [google.com] and find out. No, I'm not talking about the band; I'm talking about when the CIA chose to use mind control experiments including using LSD on hapless civilians. No, I'm not kidding. And that's just the tip of the iceberg once we start talking about abuse of government power in this so-called "Land of the Free."
  • Hmmm... If I'm doing nothing wrong, why do I care?

    If I am doing nothing wrong, then I am a law-abiding citizen and I fully object to the cameras just watching me to make sure. As a law-abiding citizen, they have no ethical right to follow me around just because it's possible that I may do something illegal. There's a big difference between being seen while walking down the street and having yourself recorded for later review.

    If you are a good citizen, then it is defying one of the basic concepts our nation was founded upon - You are to be considered innocent, unless proven guilty. If I am being tracked by a camera, I am NOT being considered innocent.

    Tell ya what, these days, the average politicians and the average cops scare me more than the average criminals.

  • "So don't go there if you don't want your picture taken. "

    Gimme a fuckin break, a bit impossible to survive without going outside. I'd just like to go outside without my actions being recorded. Doesn't help to use idiotic/unreal arguments.


  • Because of the immensly successful recycling of stories, why not recycle comments [slashdot.org] from past stories as well?

    As we move closer to the world of Orwell's 1984, remember why this country is failing (and sadly the story is the same around the world). Japan is a rare example of a successful, non-violent, low-crime nation, but more on that later.

    The US has one of the highest crime rates in the world (except for some African and South American countries.) The reason for this is simple, but not exactly "politically correct". If you weigh the crime rate averages together for the population groups in the US, it makes perfect sense.

    • The low crime rate of the Asian/Japanese-Americans make up a small percent of the population.
    • The low European-American crime rate is about the same as that of the native people in most countries in Europe.
    • The African-American crime-rate(1) is orders of magnitude higher, consistent with the extreme crime rate the sub-Saharan African countries.
    • The same is true for the Hispanic crime rate, which mirrors that seen in Mexico and the other South American countries of origin.
    Instead of facing these simple facts, the liberals go to great lengths trying to disarm honest citizens whose families have been law abiding for hundreds of years in this country. Since gun ownership is already illegal for criminals, there is no reason to expect felons will obey new laws if guns are outlawed for everybody.

    Politicians continue promoting the flooding of America with 3rd world immigration that compound the problem further.

    The final result of this is still years off, but the US will be no different from The Roman Empire, Egypt, India, Bosnia, South Africa, Israel, Zimbabwe, The English Empire, The Soviet Union or anywhere else where multi-cultural empires have existed. The end result is always the same: The empire's government disintegrates when the "ruling" class becomes too heavily outnumbered, and tribal warfare breaks out.

    We're already seeing the beginnings of this in Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Seattle and Washington and other cities around the country.

    Measures such as the government cameras (and electronic passports you must carry on your person, and other future protocols) are becoming increasingly necessary while politicians and police scramble to hold the scattering pieces of America together.

    The constitution was intended to govern a country populated by the people who founded the nation. Jefferson and the others did not predict that America would turn into a multi-cultural empire (like the British one they has just left), where a legal system based on freedom and liberty cannot work.

    So back to where i started, why is Japan so much more successful than us? Because they are not a multi-cultural empire. Japan is a homogeneous nation, made up of 99.8% native Japanese, basically an extended family, with a high average intelligence, and very similar to each other. They do not allow any significant immigration, and as a result, they will continue to prosper while America and Europe deteriorate into tribal civil wars sometime later in the 21st century.

    (1) The rate at which Blacks commit murder is thirteen times that of Whites; Rape and assault, ten times. These figures, as given by the F.B.I. reports, vary somewhat from year to year but fairly represent the trend for the past decade. [Source: the FBI uniform crime statistics reports, and Harris, Marvin, Why Nothing Works. Simon & Schuster, New York, NY]

    If you are going to flame me, do not use words such as "racist", "bigot" and "hater" that you have learned to repeat after the TV. Reply with your own opinions that you can back-up in a debate, not immature name-calling.

  • by mdecerbo (9857) on Monday July 02, 2001 @05:49AM (#114390)
    In this St. Pete Times story [sptimes.com], this Bay News 9 story [baynews9.com], or even yeterday's slashdot article [slashdot.org].
  • What if I happen to look like some murderer or DMCA offender?

    The exact same thing happens to you that would happen to you now if a cop walking by thought you looked like some murderer.

    Only, less often, since the software is more accurate.

    A human being would be told you were a possible match, and would then look at the picture and see for himself if he though you were a match. If he did, a cop (or more than one) would stop you and ask you to produce ID. If your ID were convincing, they'd send you on your way with a brief apology. Exactly like happens now.

    If you couldn't produce ID, or they thought it was fake, you'd be arrested, exactly like happens now.

    Like it or not, under the law as it stands now, looking like somebody who committed a crime IS legally probable cause for being detained.

    Standing in public is probable cause for being looked at, too. How could it be otherwise?

    You know, we occasionally have glowing articles about cool technology that will allow us to have "mediated reality" where everybody who wants one can see the world through a camera, processing and editting it to your tastes.

    I guess we're all OK with that as long as cops aren't allowed to use it, right?

    Got a webcam? Are you getting everybody who passes by to sign a waiver, allowing you to put their image on the Internet? Do you require a statement from anybody who logs on to view it, certifiying that they're not a law enforcement officer?

    Privacy is something very important, that you have when you're in private. When you're in public, you give up quite a bit of your privacy, necessarily. The right not to be seen is among those small sacrifices.

    -
  • There are lots of things which priviate citizens are allowed to do which the goverenment is not.

    Looking at people as they pass by isn't one of them.

    -
  • Glad to know I'm not the only fan of Slippery Jim around here... ;-)
    Regards,
  • Ah - links to the previous story which links to the LA Times article... at least they know they are reposting this time...
  • When did "ACLU" become a dirty word?

    When the conservative right realized they couldn't burn blasphemous books. When the liberal left realized they couldn't ban speech.

    That's when ACLU became a dirty word.

  • The exact same thing happens to you that would happen to you now if a cop walking by thought you looked like some murderer.
    Only, less often, since the software is more accurate.


    I think this is hopelessly naive. The average cop has not memorized the faces of every single criminal who has a warrant out for them. I think the reality is that most cops probably wouldn't even recognize everyone on the FBI's most wanted list. As systems like this get deployed, you can be assured that various jurisdictions will pool all of their "wanted" info into a shared database. You won't just be having your face compared to the handful of local criminals who are wanted. Your face will be compared to the face of every wanted criminal in the entire country. Do you really think your local beat cops have memorized the mugs of every wanted person in the entire country? Because that is what your argument hinges on.

    More importantly, if systems like this get to be widespread, some people can expect to get harrased by cops on a regular basis. If their face triggers the system, they will get stopped all the fsck'ing time.

    I guess we're all OK with that as long as cops aren't allowed to use it, right?

    Um, yeah? Why is that a strange idea? There is this little thing called the "Bill of Rights", which is primarily a list of things we don't let the government do. Granted, some corporations now seem to be attaining a level of power which approches that of the goverenment. But I digress. There are lots of things which priviate citizens are allowed to do which the goverenment is not.
  • Looking at people as they pass by isn't one of them.

    No, but stopping everybody and checking their ID is. I would argue that this system is much more like an identification checkpoint (which is illegal in general) that just innocent "people watching" as you seem to feel. Just because the ID check can be done faster than you can walk past the camera does not change the nature of the act.
  • First none of the sysadmins read /. at 2am, now the editors don't read it either. If you guys don't read your own shit, why should we?
  • If you look like the guy on the wanted poster (actually look like him, not just the same race), then the cop has probable cause to check your ID. Walking down a street is not probable cause.

    -B
  • I find it very ironic that geeks are among the most afraid of the implications of technology. We made the recognition software, yet we hate it the most and believe in it the least.

    ...dontchathink?
  • by Shotgun (30919) on Monday July 02, 2001 @09:16AM (#114402)
    You are to be considered innocent, unless proven guilty. If I am being tracked by a camera, I am NOT being considered innocent.

    And what about that cop that sits on the side of the road with that RADAR device. If I am doing nothing wrong, then I am a law-abiding citizen and I fully object to the RADAR just watching me to make sure. As a law-abiding citizen, they have no ethical right to follow me around just because it's possible that I may do something illegal.

    And how about that cop just standing on the street corner watching people go by. If I am doing nothing wrong, then I am a law-abiding citizen and I fully object to the EYES just watching me to make sure. As a law-abiding citizen, they have no ethical right to LOOK AT me [...] just because it's possible that I may do something illegal.

    Really people, this society has used technology to increase the productivity of every citizen's job. The police force is just one more industry that can be made more efficient with technology. Consider that people with outstanding arrest warrants TEND TO BE CRIMINALS. Then consider that criminals TEND TO COMMIT CRIMES. I don't consider it a bad thing that 1 policeman can do a better job than 10 and do it less obtrusively. It keeps my taxes down; furthermore, the less secure that a car thief feels, the more secure I feel.

    Do you ever consider that in all those mistopian movies where the evil police forces track down the hero with cameras that they IGNORE a whole lot of people? If there is a point to debate, it is not what technology the police use to track criminals, but what criteria classifies someone as a criminal. As always, the hard questions are social, not technological.

  • I think this is lost by most slashdotters. If you're doing nothing wrong, why do you care! These are on the streets, there could easily be undercover cops wandering around looking for evil doers, why is a camera that much different? It's not like they're in your house.

    Why? Because gov't (and people in general) have a history of abusing this sort of thing. How long before you read a story about a cop using it to track his girlfriend/wife?

    How about the one where a cop tells her friend she saw the friend's husband with another woman and they went into a condo together? He wasn't doing anything illegal. Maybe he was just walking and bumped into a timeshare salesman? He wanted the free cruise you get just for listening to the pitch. Gonna surprise his wife. (It happens in all over Florida's coast.) In a jealous rage, she blows him away.

    Finally, consider that Florida has a "Government In The Sunshine" law. This means that most likely the video footage can be deemed public record and should be available to anyone who wants it. (Hmmm, where was my daughter last night at midnight.)

    The potential for abuse outweighs the potential benefits.

    Oh, yeah. The "Right To Privacy" is enshrined in the Florida Constitution (Article I, Section 23). You can't "give it up".


    --
    Charles E. Hill

  • When did "ACLU" become a dirty word? How did defending the bill of rights come to be out of fashion? Did I miss the spaceship that took all the rational people away?

    Seriously -- practices like this are becoming far too acceptable by the general public. Why? Does it start at home? Are we as a society raising drones who refuse to question authority or take an active role in something as running this city/county/country (i.e. voting)?

    Ok. Stop the ride. I want to get off. It's finally starting to make me sick.
  • Hi,

    I do not remember the first person that made this quote

    "Freedom is lost not in one major way but one small step after another". I think I paraphrased it and sorry if it is not completely accurate.

    The better quote is from the article in the other slashdot article:
    http://www.sptimes.com/News/063001/TampaBay/Ybor _p olice_cameras_g.shtml
    From article:
    In the future, the police department hopes to add to the database, including gang members and missing children, Todd said.

    First it is mention that this is to track out standing warrants and sex offenders. In the next steps the thing that is wanted is missing children and gang members. Notice the plan, one small steps after another. Who decides is a gang member? What group decides whom the cameras should watch? The community, the state, or the local person? No it is the police feel in the best interest of the community as the police see it. It is not as per the laws, or per a locally decide rule but a feel or hope to add to the database at that point. Instead of gang member put in raciest, communist, liberal, antisocial that does not do what most of the general public does, etc. It does not take much of a step to add suspected to the adjective of the person under the camera nor the other labels. If someone is interested think how another person would look at them if they did not know them (or ones parents for example if they did not know you).

    Just my thoughts. Please take them as my opinion only and not to offend. Most of this has already been discussed before in the comments but I just wanted to add my comments.

    Thank you, Jack
  • America as a nation has always consisted on immigrants, be they from Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, France, and lands further out.

    Yes, and the same sort of stereotypes (e.g. of the Irish as drunken bums) were commonplace at the time.

    Ultimately, the problem is not with ethnicity per se but of the breakdown of the social institutions that encourage new arrivals* to join in America's overall success**.

    *While African-Americans are not new arrivals in the literal sense of the word, the removal of barriers to middle-class and better status is relatively recent.

    **Obviously "overall success" != "perfection"
    /.

  • Which word of the phrase "to scan people walking in the streets" produced the "404: Not Found Within My Vocabulary" error?

    Nobody has a right to enter my private property unless I say so. Everybody has a right to walk the public streets unless they have specifically forfeited that right by committing a crime which is punished by incarceration. Conditions (e.g. having a picture taken) may therefore be imposed arbitrarily for the former, but not for the latter.
    /.

  • If you're doing nothing wrong, why do you care!

    It depends on how the State defines "wrong". In the US, it is/was pretty liberal. With an all-powerful, all-seeing state, the definition of "wrong" gets pretty tight (ref. _1984_, USSR, any dictatorship). Even thinking the wrong things can get you into trouble. Wait, that sounds like the US...
    --

  • Yeah, that's right [slashdot.org]. The story has been posted less than 30 hours ago...
  • so you're not mistaken for a similar looking criminal.
    --
  • Which would you rather continuously wear: a tattoo or a Nixon mask?
    --
  • > But as soon as you decide to live in a society that needs [emphasis poster's] these sorts of measures in order to keep track of the criminals you should realise that this is not a bad thing.

    (Nice troll, ya hooked me ;)

    But are we a society that "needs" such measures?

    You've failed to establish that. So have, IMHO, the politicians. "It's for the chillllldrun" and "if it saves one chyyyuld" does not constitute logical argument.

  • > [...the cameras mistook me for Antonio Banderas, who had an outstanding warrant...] "Yeah, yeah. Your perfectly formed abdominal muscles won't save you now, Antonio."
    > It took two weeks to straighten it out. Ladies and gentlemen, Big Brother is here.

    I had perfectly-formed abs once, too. You wouldn't believe the amount of beer and chicken wings it took to get rid of 'em.

    (I got this body lifting weights, 12 ounces at a time...)

  • (What the hell, Slashdot's reposting stories, I'll repost replies... this one to a poster who tried to consolidate all the "great works" in one thread)...

    > These are the books I've seen listed on privacy violations so far on the discussions here. I figured I'd put em all in one place so their easier to find. George Orwell, "1984." Franz Kafka, "The Trial." William G. Staples, "The Culture of Surveillance: Discipline and Social Control in the United States." David Brin, "The Transparent Society." If there are any other ones, feel free to add.

    Are you nuts? Do you have any idea what our politicians will do if they read all those books at once? Any idea how many ideas it'll give 'em? (Don't fall back on the fact that most of 'em are sub-literate, they got aides and interns to read the books for them.)

    Shit, man, we had to pass antiterrorism laws to keep "The Anarchist's Cookbook" out of the hands of kids, and we had to pass that antidrug law to keep textfiles on methamphetamine manufacturing out of the hands of would-be-crankheads...

    Now, thanks to this guy who posted a list of all those books in the last Slashdot article, I gotta get off my ass and lobby for a new law - this time to keep books like "1984" out of the hands of politicians. They use these works of fiction are like .HOWTO files, damnit!

    You think I'm gonna trust a politician or a lawyer with a copy of Fahrenheit 451? (I'll see every copy of that book incinerated before I ever let a Congresscritter get his slimy little tentacles on it! :-)

  • Just have to copy-and-paste all the smart [slashdot.org] comments from the previous story, and I'll have my +1 mod bonus in no time!

    Thanks, Michael!
  • Yeah, I was thinking that tatooing something like "Poor Impulse Control" across my forhead might make me look more like a non-criminal...
  • This is not Big Brother. Big Brother is when the camera is installed in your home or some other place where you have a right to privacy.

    This is not the first step down the slipery slope that will lead inevitably to Big Brother.

    This is technology being used to reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of doing what has been done before--protect society against people who abuse it.

    I for one would rather have a few tax dollars spent on a camera system to patrol a large area than have a lot of tax dollars spent hiring a lot of police officers to do the job less effectively.

    What are we going to demand next, that all police officers either be blind or were blindfolds? When your rights are voliated, then complain. When your tax dollars are wasted on ineffective ways of doing the government's job, then complain. But when the government actually makes progress--when it discovers that it can be more efficient using the technology you know and love--supress the Pavlovian reaction to foam and the mouth, and be glad that progress is being made.

    "What happens when an irrefutable argument meets an immovable opinion?"

  • First, was the final "Yep, this is a duplicate story - naughty Tim!" in the original posting of this story, or was it added later? If it was in the original posting (in other words, if Timothy knew he was posting a dup), then I think it's time somebody talk to him about potential abuse of his editor status at Slashdot: There's having an adgenda, and then there's going too far.

    Second, I am reminded of the "Stainless Steel Rat" stories by Harry Harrison. In them, the main character, "Slippery" Jim DiGriz, a master criminal, always perpetrates his crimes wearing a disguise. The disguise is always the same, and is designed not to look like a disguise - the police are intended to believe that Jim DiGriz is a middle-aged, balding, slightly overweight cigarette smoker, when the real DiGriz is a young, trim, cigar smoker with a full head of hair. DiGriz never commits any crimes without his costume, so he can walk about safe from the cameras and checkpoints.

    I wonder if it's not time to start doing this: have one personna (e-mail, face, and ID) for one life, and one for another. Of course, it is far more difficult to set up a second ID that will stand up to real scrutiny than most people believe (right, Miss Bush?)
  • The same way the adding of cameras to convenience stores meant that their clerks now feel safe, right? Or that cameras in banks and supermarkets mean that those don't get robbed, either? Or, for another astonishingly successful bit of legislation, how there are not shootings in D.C. thanks to the complete prohibition on handguns?

    Naah. It *may* help nail the perps long after they pick up what's left of you, but that's about it.
  • Camera footage can be recorded -- or forge in a way that still makes it look reliable. Memories aren't nearly as good in that respect, and are far harder to abuse.
  • So there isn't a difference between police being able to look at you in public and for them to be able to identify you? I can see it now...

    Welcome to Hermano Grande, FL...

    Tourism 2002: While here, the police request you carry an identifying device. Only the police and other crimefighters can read it. You have a choice of RFID, contactless smartcard or barcode bracelet /anklet. Its For Safety!(tm) [Only required in Public Places. Bracelet free, others $25/day rental fee. Waterproof versions $15 extra. Do not store where signal could be degraded. 40 bit encryption extra. Cars, restaurants are public. Hotel rooms are public if they have balconies- check before removing device]

    Tourism 2003: Welcome to our 'Your Vacation the way You Want It' services. We recommend tourist services that meet your needs. Does the meal you're about to order meets your Health Insurance's guidelines? Will that hotel hit you budget a little too hard? [A service of the Fraud Prevention division of the police. Remember, going over your credit limit or cholesterol limit costs you, your Health and Credit Maintenance Organization and all of us- that's why its a misdemeanor offense. Restaurant-permission overrides must be purchased in advance from your HACMO.]

    Tourism 2004: Welcome to 'Location Based Tourism' services. A partnership of local merchants, your cellphone company, and the Tourist & Children Safety Division. It prevents 2Similar2Criminal(tm) people from approaching you AND offers you valuable discounts at nearby stores. Its fully private- the offers go to you alone! Merchants only have a credit & criminal rating profile and your first name! (Local residents only see your criminal rating.) 5% merchant discount if we fail to greet you by your first name! [Your Registered Wireless Device must be on at all times. No Shoes, No Shirt, No Sufficient Credit Rating, No Service. Children under 14 opt-out fee $15/day (Cannot be used by adults- sets credit rating to zero). In the rare event of a false positive 2S2C, the YesReallyI'mSafe RFID is $75/day + $75 for background check. It only takes 3 hours and we'll do it automatically for you before you leave the downtown precinct]

    Tourism 2006: Hermano Grande, FL recommends the following for your vacation: Goshen "Peanut Capital of the World" Alabama, Belzoni "Catfish Capital of the World" Mississippi. [if you think this is in error, are just passing through, or if you come to Hermano Grande for business, YesReallyI'mSolvent RFIDs available for $100/day. Please have 2+ local contacts email their ProofofLocalContact 1 week in advance. Special rates available for family visits. Local resident must guarantee MinimumDailyTouri$m with credit card]

  • don't bitch about it or worry.take matters into your own hands as a free people.get out that old pellet gun,drop some oil in the appropriate places,pump it up,load it and take out big brothers eyes.hey they got only so much money to spend on this crap.embarrass them,keep yourselves free cause the government sure as hell isnt.
    ***********
  • Groucho Marx glasses. Goes right along with the 1st ammendment, you choose the way you look.
  • ...but cameras can't ask.

    I happened to be shopping last night and the girl at the checkout couldn't get over that I had purchased a comic book. After a bit it came clear, she mistook me for a minister that has the misfortune of looking like me.

    This was just a harmless incident and cleared up quickly. Now, imagine I knew of this situation and set out to cause confusion. (No, I don't plan on it. I have better things to do with my time). It could take a while to get it sorted out.
  • In the UK, Newham council estate have 144 CCTV cameras linked to face recognition. This is in turn linked to a database of a police supplied 'watch-list' so that they can be tracked as they walk around. You worry about being spied upon when walking into a Superbowl game? Soon we won't be able to walk around our own neighbourhood without the Government knowing exactly where we are at all times. And all this without putting GPS into our mobile phones and our cars.

    No hiding online either. UK ISPs are going to have to store 7 years of traffic [theregister.co.uk], and the Government already have state access to decryption keys [fipr.org]. Our current government has been working for years to turn the United Kingdom into one of the most oppressive Big Brother states :-(

    Phillip.
  • Once you can easily and routinely scan essentially everyone going by, you can start analyzing all citizens' traffic patterns. Then you can target deviation in those traffic patterns for investigation. Though chances are you'll catch more people having affairs than visiting their favorite drug pusher. And without privacy legislation, any company that wanted to could do this. Hmm. I wonder if such a system would violate stalking laws...
  • The amount of utter shit that this guy spews out is amazing. How the hell did he get to be an editor? He just joined Katz in the elite ranks of my blocked authors.
  • Yes, a defendant in a US criminal case has the right to legal representation regardless of money. If you can't afford to hire a lawyer, the court will appoint a Public Defender.

    The down side is that Public Defenders' offices are almost always overburdened. Accused poor people get some semblance of legal help, and it can be quite useful, but it's nothing like what a rich defendant can pay for.

  • I've seen several slashdotters insist that this technology only invades the privacy of criminals and sex offenders. The innocent have nothing to fear.

    Two things bother me about this stance. The first is that, while the apparatus of the state is currently aimed towards criminals, there's nothing to prevent it from being aimed at other "undesirables." It would take no time at all. The second is that while solid citizens may have nothing to fear, what about all us hollow citizens? Are any of us so scrupulously observant of the law? Or does the sight of flashing blue in the rear view mirror or the sound of the word "audit" give you a chill?

    I received a traffic ticket in the mail once. I felt as though I'd been anonymously denounced to the authorities. It's one thing when the cop pulls you over; it's something much more disturbing when you're told that you were observed violating the law by persons or machines unknown.

    Are you paranoid if they're really out to get you?

  • I just read through some of Visionics' press releases [shareholder.com]. They had gross revenues of $7 million last quarter, though that includes their more established business of fingerprint and other identification products.

    In addition to Tampa's installation and the oft-cited London setup, Mexico is using the FaceIt software to prevent duplicate voter registrations (wonder how they handle identical twins), and Iceland's Keflavik Airport is installing it to nab crooks and false asylum seekers. A number of law enforcement agencies are also using the software to analyze/compare still images rather than live video.

    Analyzing still images of known and suspected criminals sounds less controversial. But once agencies start comparing victim-description sketches to government photo databases of non-criminals (drivers licenses, passport photos, university IDs, etc.), many of the same issues will arise.

    My guess is that the American public will ultimately value the benefits of real-time public face analysis more than the costs and risks. It will always have detractors, and there will be false arrests and discrimination cases. (E.g., higher rates of false IDs of certain minority groups seem likely if the groups have higher-than-average proportions of convicts. Or some poor criminal-look-alike will be questioned by police every time he tries to fill his gas tank, buy a Big Mac, or get money from the ATM.). But after a couple fugitive child molestors are picked up scouting the local mall or subway, I bet supporters will outnumber opponents.
  • because cops don't compile a history of your behavior over the past 3 years and analyze it to determine your future actions. Cops forget stuff. Cop's brains dont' hook up into a massive govornment database.

    "huhuhuhh, go away. we're like closed or something"
  • Go to Ybor City and flip off one of the surveillence cameras. Trigger your stopwatch and see how short of a time it takes Tampa's cops to swarm in on you when you suddenly "resemble" someone they're looking for.

    -Legion

  • Maybe. According to this site [lawinfo.com] the arrest must be in 'bad faith' (i.e. they arrest you without any probable cause that you have commited, or are in the process of commiting,a crime).

    Some additional interesting (and slightly depressing) reading can be found here [libertarianrock.com].

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

  • I think I'll go for camera bashing...

    You know what, I /do/ have something to hide, that all those little embarrasing secrets everybody has.
    --

  • I agree that someone compiling a database of everything that makes you a person is a Bad Thing. But trade offs have to be made. Look at the differences. Cable companies databasing TV you watch. Con: Someone knows you watch prOn all the time. Pro: Commericals are revelent you. Cameras at the Superbowl: Con: You have an evil twin! Pro: 30,000 people don't die when the mad terrorist gets caught at the gate.
  • "If you have nothing to hide then hide nothing. If it weren't for a criminal minority then this sort of thing would never arise. Target those who this is aimed at, not the people who are actually trying to work at making the streets a little safer."

    I think this is lost by most slashdotters. If you're doing nothing wrong, why do you care! These are on the streets, there could easily be undercover cops wandering around looking for evil doers, why is a camera that much different? It's not like they're in your house.


    --

  • I knew this would come up...

    These cameras are out in the public, not in my house.. If you're out and about wandering down the road ANYBODY can see what you're doing from their windows, cars driving by, people walking buy. They could be snapping pictures.. Hell, I'd rather KNOW that they have cameras then have a cop up in a window taking snapshots and not telling anybody...

    What you describe is them coming into my HOME, that is a TOTALLY different ballgame.


    --

  • Here's basically what it comes down to:

    Do you have a right to privacy in a public place?


    --



  • If you're doing nothing wrong, why do you care!

    During the slow evolution towards a totalitarian state, at what point should people say, "Hey, now that really crosses the line!"? Do we wait until jews and homosexuals are required to wear patches on their clothes? Do we wait until internment camps are built?

    Would you not complain if the govt. put sewage sniffers in pipes to detect the urine of Americans using drugs? You have a few friends over for a party and some of them are pot smokers, so their urine triggers the attention of the sewage monitors. The next day, the cops are knocking on your door with probable cause to search your house for illegal substances. Whoops! Look what they found under your bed! A Real Doll [realdoll.com]. That was quite a hoo-hah for the boys in blue!

    Would you mind if Tampa also added mechanical narcotics sniffers [barringer.com] in public corridors? Using the same technology they use in airports to catch drug smugglers / bombs in suitcases, they could sniff your person for trace amounts of narcotics. Wanna play a practical joke on a bunch of people? Rub your currency with pot before you spend it. Somewhere down the line people would get detained by the sniffers over the money you had 'tagged'.



    Seth
  • So cameras if there are on every street corner how is this not "folowing me around?" Sounds like harassment to me. I would hate to look like a some bad dude and get stopped twice a day.

    Big Brother is Watching You

  • While you may give you your right, I hereby retain my right to privacy. There are a million reasons I would like to keep it.

    one is that I wouldn't want to have the MPAA ask for a public record to be destoryed (the police video) after I walk about town with my "Got DeCSS" shirt on. I mean someone might just use the FoIA and request that video and use the code on my back to make a player so that they could watch DVD's on their Commodore PET and then the MPAA would be out big $$$ from this unlicensed player. Then the MPAA would obviously go out of business from this loss of revenue. Then how would AWESOME movies like the Mummy retures ever come to a "theater near you"

  • by bons (119581) on Monday July 02, 2001 @05:54AM (#114446) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot Deja Vu
    Back by popular demand
    Play it again Sam [slashdot.org]
  • I wonder if Florida, or perhaps the county surrounding Tampa, is one of those jurisdictions where the correctioal system has been privatized. This technology is an excellent marketing tool for a privately owned prison system.
  • by clary (141424) on Monday July 02, 2001 @08:02AM (#114455)
    I am constantly amazed at the folks who show no understanding of human nature or of history. If you were from the USA, I would advise you to take a civics class and go read some early American history.
    I hereby give up my right to privacy. I don't want to be a 'private' citizen anymore. I want the police to follow my face about the town. I want cameras on every corner, and clipper chips in everything.

    A little harsh, perhaps. Extreme? Certainly. Safer to go out on to the streets and have fun with my friends in a stressfree and easy atompshere without having to worry about being mugged/murdered/beaten up/terrorised? Definately.

    Wow...how many ways is this wrong and misguided?

    Perhaps your police are all honest and pure of motive. (Most of ours in the US are pretty good, but we definitely have a few bad apples.) Will they always be?

    Will this surveillance make you safer anyway? Show me the proof. At first glance, I would bet that spending resources looking at everyone, instead of following up legitimate leads on crimes, might actually divert police resources from where they will have benefit.

    Yes, you have a right to be a private person. yes, you have a right to do what you want. But as soon as you decide to live in a society that needs these sorts of measures in order to keep track of the criminals you should realise that this is not a bad thing.
    The idea that living in society requires one to reveal all information about oneself is a new one. Please show me why this is not a bad thing. In the US, our Constitution explicitly limits the information one must reveal to the authorities.
    If you have nothing to hide then hide nothing.
    Listen to yourself! How many times has someone said something like "If you have nothing to hide, you won't object to this search. Now, just bend over please."

    Perhaps you live in a country where every law is just. But will that always be the case? Ask Christians in China whether secrecy is useful.

    Perhaps you live in a country where information gathered by authorities about your legal, but embarrassing activities will be kept safe from disclosure to your neighbors. But I doubt it.

    The point is, any government is potentially much more dangerous that the most fiendish criminal. Wisdom insists that we limit the actions of government while we can, before it becomes tyrannical.

  • Masks, or people making themselves up to look like people on the wanted list... that's the civil disobedience I'd like to see. Every geek in Tampa should hit the FBI's 10 most wanted list [fbi.gov] and see if there's anyone they look like.

    Jeebus, this is depressing. And Independence Day just around the corner.

  • If/when this kind of automated surveillance becomes commonplace the US gov't will probably pass laws protecting the police from various forms of lawsuits. There's precendent for this -- right now, you can't sue your HMO if they misdiagnose you and screw up your medical treatment. It's not such a stretch to add similar protection to the police.

    (the HMO thing is currently under attack in the federal legislature, it remains to be seen how it will turn out.)

  • You are correct, that's the real worry. Scanning faces for criminals is a bad start, but it's the convergence and analysis of all data that will make the real police state. That's why it's important to fight this kind of thing at every step of the way.

    Just wait until millimeter-wave radar is installed next to the cameras. They'll be scanning for weapons and counting the change in our pockets.

    The slippery slope is a cliche, but that doesn't make it any less slippery.
  • I for one would rather have a few tax dollars spent on a camera system to patrol a large area than have a lot of tax dollars spent hiring a lot of police officers to do the job less effectively.

    If you are getting mugged or raped, the camera can't pull the bad guy off you or shoot him. Surveillance may make the cleanup easier for the cops, but I doubt it will make people a lot safer.

    If I ever have to blow anyone away, at least there may be a video record proving it was a righteous shoot.
  • You may or may not be any of the names you've asked people to avoid calling you, but one thing you are, in my opinion, is a revisionist historian.

    America as a nation has always consisted on immigrants, be they from Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, France, and lands further out.

    To suggest that America was not intended to be a multi-cultural empire like the British Empire is to ignore where the first citizens of the colonies immigrated from. New Amsterdam, the Pennsylvania Dutch, German farmers in the south, and later, the French fur traders all mean nothing to you? Or they're all "okay" because at least they're European?

    It's interesting that you mention Israel- I know you mention it in the supposition that America will fall siege to a conflict similar to the one that nation suffers. More interesting is that many Israelis jokingly consider their nation to be the 51st state. Many Israelis were Germans, Britons, and Americans who emigrated to Israel. Many Americans who emigrate to Israel return home to America frequently. They don't bring conflict with them, they bring economic prosperity... and isn't that what the current bent of our government seems to be? Bowing to every corporate desire in the name of economic prosperity?

    The reason why there's such internal strife in America can be boiled down and over-simplified.
    Over-simplification says, "Immigrants, as late as the turn of the century, felt a need to belong to America, and not preserve and cherish the old ways with a staunch refusal to integrate the American way into their life. Yes, the traditions were kept and revered, but not at the expense of refusing to participate in the American way of life. Now, we have people worshipping at the altar of multi-culturalism, rejecting America."

    the second thing is, "We have lost our innocence as a people. JFK was the first president to make an effort to stop the spread of arms and give the impression of making an effort for the civil rights movement. His death, MLK's death, Malcolm X's death, RFK's death, are all big question marks that have taken innocence and faith in the government, from the people. With no faith, there is no trust. With no trust, there is no respect for authority. With no respect for authority, there is no way for authority to lead other than by force. Use of force proves the conclusions that lead to the loss of faith."

    Thanks for citing the source you used for the FBI statistics. However, those who have lost all faith in the government would say that those statistics are as hokey as the institution that published them, the same institution that killed Randy Weaver's family and the branch dividians. Whatever their crimes were, I don't believe they needed killin'.

    A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close
  • Expectation of privacy is a funny amorphous thing-

    I may not have an expectation of privacy in a public place, but I also don't expect that my actions or presence will be recorded in near-irrefutable evidence to be used against me at some later time. How long will these records be stored? What's to prevent a compilation tape from surfacing that's been edited creatively to show me in my worst light?

    And knowing that video can be altered (see substitution of ads in ballparks and times square, in place of competitor's ads..) why is it that my video footage will not be admitted as credible evidence, but the government's will?

    A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close
  • You said:
    Most any device or technology for law enforcement could (and probably will) be abused at some point - but it doesn't negate the benefit of the technology nor provide a substantial argument for abandoning it.

    I say:

    Weren't we the country that said we'd rather let criminals go free than let innocents be convicted? We SHOULD abandon technologies that have wide potential for abuse, regardless of the possible benefits.

    A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close
  • If you were to ask the average slobbering Slashbot how they would react if the government prohibited them from installing security cameras in and around their own private property, they would go ballistic. They would say things like "It's my property! I own it! I have a right to protect it! I have a duty to protect it! Who are you to say I can't install security cameras!" And they would be right; property owners have a right to take steps to protect their property. These steps include the use of security cameras, and such cameras are used all over the place (private homes, convenience stores, banks, casinos, etc.)

    But now the foaming Slashbots are in an uproar over this very basic principle of private property ownership that they (apparently) have no problem with in any of the above examples. They are ranting and raving as if this is a big deal (which it isn't .. how would it have been any different if individual policemen were working the gates, looking for suspicious people?) As near as I can tell, this primarily amounts to hatred .. hatred of property owners and hatred of owner's rights. Hatred of the Constitution and hatred of freedom.

    Too many of these people have called for restrictions on what private property owners can do on their own property and furthermore have suggested that owners be severely restricted in the steps that they can take to protect their property. Well, guess what, kiddies; that sort of idea might have been wildly popular with Josef Stalin and his ilk, but it's not going to fly here in the good old U.S. of A. The agenda of the anti-camera people is clear: the gradual erosion of private property rights and ownership until all is owned and controlled by a collectivist government/society.

    Well, it ain't gonna happen.
  • Have any of you read 1984 by Orwell? Its a great book.

    Basically everyone is constantly monitored via telescreens and are constantly searched by the ministry of love aka police. People are executed every single day for crimes in which there are no laws for.

    There are no laws at all in Orwells version of the future but the thought police notice things like negative facial expressions or weird tones in peoples voices used in various subjects. They then use this as basis of a counter revolutionary and they kill them. All who are upset and notice that an individual is gone are also brought to the thought police and executed as co-consipirators of the counter revloutionary. You have no choice but to except that the police were always right and after they change something except it as always true. The society was suppose to be utopian but the police quickly abused their authority with the telescreens since their powers were unchecked. Communist China is alot like this and was actually this abusive in the 1950's and 60's when not everyone blindly believed in chairman Mao. Our American forfathers were smart in dividing our goverment in 3 different branches. The judical branch( judges ), legislative branch( senators, congressmen, etc), and executive( police, president, various deparmtents). Since the police can not write laws or interpret them, they can hopefully be in check. A president may abuse his power since the executive branches report to him but the legislative can impeach him if things get to bad (like getting a blowjob from intern) :-).

    Power is like a drug or addiction. The more you have the more you want. Same is true with Gates and Microsoft. After getting consumers to pay for big fixes aka Win98 they wanted more money so they are now raising the prices of their software for things like Office. Now they are even raising the price again after Bill decided it wasn't enough. Time bombing and now renting to keep having access to your own data and using manditory upgrades. Everyone just wants more and more. Police and some govermental agencies are also doing the same with power rather then money.

    I live in an area in lower manhattan which is under constant surviliance and there are over 300 camera's in a 400 yard radius of my apartment near the trade center. This is something that has always bothered me. The good thing is I never have to worry about being mugged. :-)

    The good news is that a judge has the power to throw out a piece of criminal evidence if it was obtained illegally. The police wanted to change this but smart legislators knew it would give the police too much power. I believe the supreme court rules that mandotory searches in airports are unconstitional so this may help with the camera situation. I believe if a policeman wanted to abuse his authority a judge could throw it out.

  • by David Wong (199703) on Monday July 02, 2001 @06:13AM (#114490) Homepage
    I was at the super bowl, and passed by their face-scanning cameras. Unfortunately for me, there was an arrest warrant out at the time for Antonio Banderas. And sure enough, when the system scanned my mug, a red flag popped up.

    "Come with us, Antonio," said the security guys as they hustled me away, my shirt falling open to reveal my sweatily perfect pectoral muscles.

    "You've got the wrong guy!" I pleaded, helplessly.

    "Yeah, yeah. Your perfectly formed abdominal muscles won't save you now, Antonio."

    It took two weeks to straighten it out. Ladies and gentlemen, Big Brother is here.


  • I hereby give up my right to privacy. I don't want to be a 'private' citizen anymore. I want the police to follow my face about the town. I want cameras on every corner, and clipper chips in everything.

    A little harsh, perhaps. Extreme? Certainly. Safer to go out on to the streets and have fun with my friends in a stressfree and easy atompshere without having to worry about being mugged/murdered/beaten up/terrorised? Definately.

    Yes, you have a right to be a private person. yes, you have a right to do what you want. But as soon as you decide to live in a society that needs these sorts of measures in order to keep track of the criminals you should realise that this is not a bad thing. If you have nothing to hide then hide nothing. If it weren't for a criminal minority then this sort of thing would never arise. Target those who this is aimed at, not the people who are actually trying to work at making the streets a little safer.
  • The fact the camera techology has been developed and deployed is a fairly good indicator of our need. Necessity is still the mother of invention. And while there is a small criminal element aiming to reduce my quality of life I will always be willing to do what I can to help catch the nasty b******ds. My face going through some pattern matching software is a small price to pay if it catches a someone who I might be the next victim of.
  • How is such scanning different from cops checking ID's of people who look like the 'wanted' posters the cops have seen ?
  • OK, so I can understand trafic monitoring cameras, and such things; I'm actually quite impressed with the trafic monitoring systems around New York City that flash trafic information about congenstion around upcoming exits, on bilboards for motorists.

    The problem with that technology, of course, is it was the slippery slope that paved the way for this garbage. Here's the next great idea in internet Kiosks:

    See if you look like a criminal... Only $2
    With a little camera and some facial recognition software, you could make a fortune. Find out if it's safe to walk the streets without risk of being picked up for looking like a criminal, and at a vary affordable price too...

    Now, in all seriousness: The question becomes, how did we ever let it get to this point? You can't blame politions for this. Blame the public. There clearly wasn't enough of a public outcry to force the removal of cameras after the superbowl story came to light. By-the-way, were there ever numbers released as to the arrests made as a result of video footage made at the superbowl?

    Realistically, if you're a anted criminal you probably don't ant to go to such a high profile event regardless of weather there are caeras there snapping pictures of everyone. This is of course the justification that such video comperisons are acceptable.

    When arguing against such invasions of provacy, and other issues such as the right to free speech (semi-unrelated) organizations who are politically active in this way, can't draw a line. They have to argue in favor of all degrees of privacy, and all forms of speech. This is where opposing lobyists get their fodder for retaliation, saying such chings as 'The Electronic Frontiers Foundation supports pornography' and thinds of this nature. The claim on it's face may be true, but it's only because if you get in the business of drawing lines in the sand (especially in this area where the terrain changes so rapidly) you will spend all your time re-drawing these lines - time we can't afford to waste on things other than the central issue.

    This is our own fault, for not fighting back more vigorously when we started down this slippery slope.

    --CTH


    --
  • Hmm.....maybe you guys should come and visit the UK sometime - this system already exists (to some extent) over here - cameras on every street corner in big cities, or hidden away on rooftops. Cameras along the motorways (freeways) which take your average speed between camera points in order to catch you speeding....pretty much anything the police want to do with cameras really.

    And its all because 'if you're innocent, you've got nothing to worry about - and besides, who wants to let crime occur undetected'. To me, this logic is a lot like 'won't somebody please think of the chlidren'-style arguments to defend massive censorship and internet traffic monitoring.
    Oh, btw - over here in the UK the government has the power to monitor all internet traffic and personal comunications AND demand encryption keys - all this legislation was passed due to kneejerk reactions to 'ooh...internet - that sounds like a big place full of terrorists and child pornographers, so lets invade everyone's privacy to catch the miniscule minority of people perpetrating these crimes'.

    This logic fails me - how can and 'democracy' limit the rights of a huge swathe of its citizens in order to catch a tiny proportion of lawbreakers? Its like sinking a yacht just because one of the sails had a tear.

    So I defy anyone to come up with a solid cost/benefit analysis in favour of catching an absolute minority at the expense of defiling the majority.

    -Nano.
  • by Carter Butts (245607) on Monday July 02, 2001 @06:54AM (#114509)
    I think this is lost by most slashdotters. If you're doing nothing wrong, why do you care!

    Actually, what seems to be "lost" on many Slashdotters is the fact that the Enforcers of Law (TM) themselves are neither infallible nor even necessarily law abiding. Sure, you may be doing nothing "wrong" (though, with the Christian Coalition and friends in power, this is an increasingly large category of activities), but that doesn't mean you won't get falsely accused because:

    • You happen to have accidentally matched someone in the database;
    • Someone doesn't like your opinions/manner of dress/color of skin and wants you punished;
    • Local business owners (or other interests) think that people like you are Undersirables, and are exerting influence to have you harassed (possibly illegally);
    • Some corrupt agent of the state has decided that you look like a good mark for harrassment (e.g., for lucrative property forfeiture, blackmail, etc.);
    • You have accidentally violated some ancient law which is still on the books (of which there are hundreds), and today someone just happened to decide to start enforcing it;
    • etc.

    The history of the United States (not to mention other nations) is filled with examples of people who had "done nothing wrong," but who were mercilessly hounded by the state. (I recommend books such as It Did Happen Here or Lies My Teacher Told Me for the uninitiated.) If you install a system such as this, in which people's identities are continuously "searched" by law enforcement authorities, then -- mark my words -- you have created a situation in which substantial abuse is all but inevitable. By a combination of technical error, maliciousness, bigotry, corruption, and good, old-fashioned incompetence, you're going to get a large number of substantively innocent people who will be harassed, charged, and jailed (or worse) because of this kind of omnipresent enforcement system.

    Those who consider such concerns to be "paranoia" are in dire need of a history lesson. Alas, I fear that they will suffer precisely the society that they deserve....

    -Carter

  • ...and you're NOT the $bad_person they think you are, can you sue for wrongful arrest, malicious proesecution or whatever? We have such a law in the UK; surely the US, where it seems people sue if they catch a cold, has something like that on the statute books?

    Oh yeah - another question - do you have a scheme like legal aid [legal-aid.gov.uk]? (that is, state funded legal cases where there's a reasonable case to answer)? I always wondered. If not, what prevents the police from using arrests as a form of harrassment of those too poor to afford the cost of a legal case?
    --
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"

  • Ugg...

    Why do people always seem to bring up the old,
    "If you have nothing to hide then hide nothing." non argument?

    People should have the right to be left alone.

    Privacy != criminality

    The only people who want you to have no privacy don't want anyone to know what they are doing.

    Why is it that everyone wears cloths, lives in non-transparent houses, uses envelopes instead of postcards? Perhaps it's because we are all criminals. After all, using onion2k's logic, what are we trying to hide?

    Luckilly it isn't a crime to want/have some measure of privacy, well at least not yet.

    Not having privacy is the mark of a police state, not a republic/democracy. Yes some people will commit crimes, but our lives shouldn't revolve around making it easier to be a cop.

  • Sounds like it's time for me to dig out my BB Gun of Camera Slaying.
  • yea and cop cars too...and their guns
  • Give 'em an inch and they take a mile.

    This is why privacy "freaks" are necessary. At least they believe strongly enough about something to fight for it.

  • I wouldn't necessarily be frightened over the mistaken-identity problem.

    #1 -- I think those face-rec algorithms are far better than humans at actually recognizing someone. I know they are better than I am. I would bet they are better than the police officers, too.

    #2 -- If you're that close of a match, you might have just discovered that you have a long lost twin wandering the streets.

    #3 -- Remember that most of the photos they are looking for are probably known criminals with prior records. If they arrested you, an identity check would probably clear your name. I think the worst you'd have to endure would be a couple hours behind bars while they verified your identity. Plus, you'd have the grounds for a really cool lawsuit (false arrest). IANAL!!

    #4 -- Face Rec is a really cool geek technology! Most /.'ers would be proud to say they were mistakenly fingered by it. :)

    Now, if they start using the system to look for people based on "artist sketches" or something stupid like that, I'd say we have real cause for worry.

    GreyPoopon
    --

  • by Kenyaman (458662) on Monday July 02, 2001 @08:41AM (#114551) Homepage
    Sure, *if* that's the way it works. I seem to recall a heated discussion with the discount store clerk over a pair of shoes that rang up $299.90 instead of the $29.99 they should have been. Miss "Smarter than the Average Bear" kept pointing at the checkout display, "proving" that the store actually sold shoes for $300 and that I must have misread the label. To add further evidence to her claim, she pulled the register receipt out and showed me that the paper printout agreed with the screen.

    That's irritating, but it pales in comparison with what happens when I'm heading in to work some morning and get pulled over, handcuffed, taken downtown and booked, locked up like a criminal because "the computer says" I look like a wanted felon? I call my boss and say, "I know it's 11:00 am and I haven't shown up yet, but don't worry -- I only got arrested."

    What happens when the local news gets wind that they've arrested this horrible fugitive and plasters *my* face all over the evening news?

    A basic principal of jurisprudence in a democratic nation is this: it's better to have a guilty person walk free than risk an innocent person losing his liberty. That's why we're innocent until proven guilty. That's why we throw out suspect evidence, severely weaking the prosecution's case, rather than risk bad evidence being used against a guilty party. This strikes me as a VERY risky thing to do, even if it's very reliable.
  • by vinnyr (459500) on Monday July 02, 2001 @07:20AM (#114553)

    These cameras are out in the public, not in my
    house.. If you're out and about wandering down
    the road ANYBODY can see what you're doing from
    their windows, cars driving by, people walking
    buy. They could be snapping pictures.. Hell, I'd
    rather KNOW that they have cameras then have a
    cop up in a window taking snapshots and not
    telling anybody...




    The argument that it's only used on criminals holds no water. Criminal is in the eye of the beholder. At any time a government can decide that it doesn't like a particular group or activity, and when that happens, there are years worth of tapes that can be face matched for the purpose of seeking that group out. Not to mention that criminals have rights too, and that principle is what protects all of us from unfair actions by the government.

    The difference is one of degree. Sure that guy walking behind you could be an undercover cop, but he can't see everything and he can't record everything he does see. He sees what he's looking for, that's his job. The same goes for a guy in a car taking pictures. The difference is that a video camera armed with face recognition software sees EVERYTHING and forgets NOTHING and it's recordings have the potential to last FOREVER. They can be stored indefinitely and used at ANY time by ANYONE for ANY purpose.

    It's fun to say "That could never happen" and call people kooks or freaks. During Hitler's rise to power the jews thought they'd be okay in Germany... things could never go as far as people were saying. But it does happen. More often than we'd like to admit.

    During the McCarthy Era, many many people's lives and careers were ruined because of who they had coffee with or called on the phone. Your private life was turned upside down if you talked to someone who talked to someone who once read a communist newsletter. Imagine how far they could have gone if only they had this face recognition/ubiquitous camera technology. And this all took placein the USA... land of the free. ;)

    Go back as far as you want and you'll find the same things happening. They call these things witch hunts for a reason. :)

  • A twilight zone where, apparently, Slashdot has no memory of previously posted stories.

    Who knows what other oddities we will see in the coming days now that Slashdot has the mystical power to repost stories in alternate formats!

    -NeoTomba

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