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The Future of Video Surveillance 38

An anonymous reader writes ""In heavily monitored London, England...the average person is filmed by more than 300 cameras each day." Technology Review outlines what we can expect from the eye in the sky in the near future."
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The Future of Video Surveillance

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  • by Stinson ( 564450 ) <> on Monday March 17, 2003 @09:32PM (#5533622) Homepage Journal
    traffic camera can do face recognition in cars driving by at 25 MPH... Well around my area, they do have cameras that are high enough quality and quick enough for taking pictures of license plates and faces in the car for running red lights, so it wouldn't be too hard to use that input for some of the new face recognition systems (like the one that uses a 3d face 'fingerprint')
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @09:46PM (#5533675) Homepage Journal
    Because its none of their damned business where I'm walking. Private citizens should not be under constant investigation.

    And no, the argument ' if you aren't doing anything wrong' is not acceptable. Its my life, they can goto hell they don't need to be watching me buy a damned burger or walk to my car.

    Basic privacy is part of the rights of all people. This violates it.. but you people allow it in the name of 'safety'.. its not the governments job to take care of you , its YOURS.. get it straight and do it. This all has to stop.
  • by geekwench ( 644364 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @05:38AM (#5535321)
    Video surveillance, especially in public areas, is one of those sticky subjects that invariably provokes a strong opinion. Surveillance cameras are bad, but the footage that leads police to a serial rapist is not. If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear. OTOH, do you want a record of your weekly routine filed away somewhere; and why is it anyone's business when and where you pick up your dry-cleaning?

    As has been already said: like it or not, the cameras are here to stay. They serve many truly useful purposes. (The jury is still out as to whether tracking red-light scofflaws is among those useful purposes.) However, as we have seen many times, any useful technology can be abused. The only thing that will keep the Total Information Awareness project from becoming an Orwellian nightmare is the public's insistance on accountability. As an aside: Just don't ask me right now if I believe that the public is capable of insisting on any such thing. The short answer is cautiously optimistic, but not before we're slapped repeatedly in the face to make us aware again of why accountability is a Good Thing.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @07:46AM (#5535553) Homepage Journal
    Just beacuse its public, and we have never had true privacy doesnt make it right to invade it.

    Its no one's business. Peroid.

    There is a difference between being seen by a person on the other side of the street and recording your activites. Think about it really hard and you will also understand.

    If you dont see it as being investigated, then you are part of the problem, for allowing it to happen.
  • by symbolic ( 11752 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @04:32PM (#5539092)
    I think you're forgetting that when you walk out in PUBLIC (it's called that for a reason) you are no longer PRIVATE.

    You are taking a situation of necessity, and turning it into a justification for something that isn't correct, ethical, or warranted. If I want to get from my home to another location, I have no other reasonable alternative than to use the public roadways, walkways, and other areas. I believe these are often referred to as the commons - that is, resources available for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone. One of many problems that exist with modern-day surveillance it that government agencies have engaged in a massive usurpation of the commons, turning them into their own, private, often unsupervised, playground for spying and profiling, and all, I'd argue, in violation of the 4th Amendment.

    On another note, just because I am in public does not mean that I relinquish any and all rights to conduct my life without intrusion or interference. It does not bestow upon anyone any more right to know who I am, what I am doing, or why I am there - the only difference is that when I am in public, I am at a location that is equally accessible by everyone. That's ALL. Nothing more.
  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:42PM (#5541784)

    I don't even know where to start attacking this post, so I'll just go through it piece by piece.

    You are not being treated like a criminal when the government puts up traffic cams to monitor intersections,

    I drive safely and, by and large, legally. And yet, I have been flashed by speed cameras on several occasions now when I wasn't going over the limit. Maybe they were the fakes with cheap sensors, maybe they were misconfigured, who knows? It was certainly very unnerving at the time, and I spent the next two weeks wondering if someone's error is going to result in a fixed penalty notice arriving on my doorstep that I'd then have to defend -- probably unsuccessfully, because the machines are all but assumed to be infallible. "Man shall not be judged by machine" is a fundamental principle that is easily forgotten, but sound nonetheless.

    Ok then, let's keep the government out of ALL your business, like maintaining roads, catching traffic offenders and criminals, providing emergency services, funding public utilties like water and phone in remote areas, etc. - yeah that'll work.

    Strawman. The only one of the above where cameras can be argued to be relevant is in catching criminals, and there is precious little evidence to support even that claim, since the systems go wrong so often that frequently they aren't of any use when they should be anyway. The fact that they are widely abused is beyond dispute, however.

    But seriously, you have to realize that we live in a society: a group. You are not and cannot be a lone individual unaffected by rules that arise out of necessity when living in a (rather large) group.

    There is nothing necessary about the cameras invading my privacy. Mankind has survived quite happily for a very long time without such devices. We live in a society that is governed by a few in a system that fundamentally encourages them not to act in the best interests of those they represent. You have only to watch the news this week to see how much several western governments care about the views of those they claim to represent.

    Also, to imply that putting up cameras in public places is equivalent to "waiving all right to privacy" is a groce exaggeration. This doesn't give anybody permission to stop and search you, interrupt you in any way, or prevent you from doing anything (unless what you are doing is illegal, in which case your argument is no longer about privacy).

    Ah, but in case you hadn't noticed, there are already legal bases for stop and search, arrest on suspicion and restriction of freedoms in most western countries, particularly the US and UK. Hell, we've all been merrily introducing laws in the interests of "counter-terrorism" that have eroded our civil rights more in the past few years than in the previous several decades. Just this weekend, there was a fabulous story in the news about a guy who was arrested under recent anti-terrorism legislation in the UK because he had a Muslim-sounding name and happened to have bought a book or two from Paladin Press [].

    No, this is not solely due to the cameras, but the arguments you make in their favour are exactly those that are regularly used to support all the other slow-but-sure evasions of our rights to privacy and freedom that have been occurring ever faster since 911. At the risk of a terrible misquotation, for this shit to succeed, all that is necessary is for thoughtful men to stand by and do nothing.

    And lastly, try not to mix the issues of surveillance, and security of the accumulated data. Of course any government database that's not protected sufficiently (by laws and security measures) is somewhat of a threat to privacy, but that is IMHO not a reason to say that surveillance in public places is bad.

    Governments have no secure databas

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