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Australia Privacy Transportation Your Rights Online

Global Mall Operator Starts Reading License Plates 301

Posted by timothy
from the well-aren't-you-lucky? dept.
First time accepted submitter skegg writes "Westfield Group, one of the largest shopping centre (mall) operators in the world, has launched a find-my-car iPhone app. The system uses a series of license plate reading cameras dotted throughout their multi-level car parks. Westfield said police could also use it to find stolen or unregistered vehicles. (Hello, slippery slope.) Initially launched in just one Sydney centre, it will be rolled-out to others if the trial is successful."
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Global Mall Operator Starts Reading License Plates

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  • Slippery slope? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @11:14PM (#37365654)
    How is this a slippery slope? The cars are parked in a public place, with license plates easily viewable. There is no expectation of privacy in this case.
  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RobinEggs (1453925) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @11:30PM (#37365724)
    Seriously. Cars, their registrations, and the license to drive them all involve no reasonable expectations or implicit rights to privacy whatsoever (the contents of cars are obviously a different issue).

    Cars are extremely expensive in multiple ways, for the individual, the society, and the human race at large; they're statistically more dangerous than all weapons, wars, and natural disasters put together; they're a million different costs and dangers in addition to their many obvious conveniences.

    Yet people persist in thinking cars are strictly personal possessions, which the state nor the public have any cause in tracking, taxing, or restricting in any way.
  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 10, 2011 @11:58PM (#37365864)

    ah, the legal apologist. to them, as long as it's legal, it's moral, just, and completely harmless to the freedoms and civil rights of citizens. as we all know, the legal system in this country (and others) is completely flawless when it comes to social justice and health of the human psyche. there are no psychopaths at the top manipulating the whole mess to their advantage by passing laws which are psychologically and sociologically unhealthy for individuals as well as society at large.

    case in point, there's a big fucking difference between no expectation of privacy, and having your license plate number used to track your every move from place to place. yes, there IS a slippery slope here.. it starts with the parent companies which push their surveillance policies out to the rest.. eventually, the government just mandates it everywhere .

  • by millsey (1987618) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @12:03AM (#37365888)
    Use the app at the touch of your fingertips to see if your neighbor is out and take what you want!
  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @12:17AM (#37365944)

    The cars are parked in a public place, with license plates easily viewable. There is no expectation of privacy in this case.

    Ah, but there [i]is[/i] an expectation of privacy.

    The general population does not expect that the mere act of going shopping will cause the date, location and duration of such normal activities to be permanently recorded by a large, well-funded organization in a database with practically no access controls.

    Furthermore, the american jurisprudence (Katz v United States) which established the concept of "no privacy in public spaces" was written in 1967 - a time when wide-spread surveillance and, more importantly, essentially infinite-sized databases were only the stuff of science fiction.

    Technology has progressed and the law needs to catch up.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by inkscapee (1994086) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:05AM (#37366116)

    Actually, this isn't a public place. You're parking on their property. Don't like it, don't go there. It's that simple.

    Just walk away has always been stupid advice. It doesn't change anything. Why are there always a bunch of dummies who preach this? We should always speak up and protest abusive practices. Following your 'don't go there' advice doesn't improve anything, it just narrows our options and encourages this sort of crap.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:37AM (#37366200) Homepage Journal

    The thing is, you accept that surveillance is acceptable, and normal. Some of us do not. It is none of the police department's business where I go, what I do, who I see, or how long I might meet with any person. None of their business. Basically, widespread surveillance relieves the police of doing real police work.

    I can justify surveillance inside of a business place that is commonly subject to armed robbery and/or shoplifting. I cannot justify surveillance of public streets, parking logs, and business places that aren't commonly targeted by thieves.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:03AM (#37367202) Homepage Journal

    The thing is, you accept that surveillance is acceptable, and normal.

    Accepting reality is a sign of sanity and intelligence.

    Some of us do not.

    The converse is also true.

    It is none of the police department's business where I go, what I do, who I see, or how long I might meet with any person. None of their business. Basically, widespread surveillance relieves the police of doing real police work.

    No, no it doesn't, because in and of itself that should not be enough to convict you of anything. Also, this is not the police knowing where you are, but a mall knowing where you are. You're on their property and they want to be able to find your car. I personally want Trek-esque location services in my house... you know, "computer, locate Runaway1956." And if you don't like me knowing what room you're in, don't come into my house. And if you don't like me knowing where you're parked, don't park on my property. It's my property, and I have a right to know what's going on there.

    Now, I would be quite upset to learn they're giving this information to the police without a subpoena, and I wouldn't want to shop there in that case.

    I cannot justify surveillance of public streets, parking logs, and business places that aren't commonly targeted by thieves.

    Oddly, public streets, parking lots, and business places are all commonly targeted by thieves. I know that's now how you meant your sentence to be parsed, but I have a logical parser, not a directed one.

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