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Privacy Technology

Manhattan 1984 545

Etherwalk writes "The New York Times is reporting on developments in the quest to charge driving fees for all vehicles headed below 86th Street in Manhattan. Notably absent from any part of the discussion is that a record is made of every car or truck that enters, together with the vehicle ownership information and the date and time of travel — either as part of EZ-Pass or in license-plate photos taken for subsequent billing."
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Manhattan 1984

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkIye ( 875062 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:20AM (#20233983) Journal
    Jesus. Ok, it's all right to have a little bit of suspicion with regards to motives here, but "Manhattan 1984"? That's a bit much, isn't it?

    Also, how does this qualify as having to do with Our Rights Online?
  • London 1984? ;) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hanners1979 ( 959741 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:32AM (#20234019) Homepage
    We've had a similar system running in London for a while now here in the UK.

    Now you too can look forward to people using fake license plates to avoid charges, or people who have been nowhere near the area being charged and/or fined because the number plate recognition software read a letter or number wrong.
  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pimpimpim ( 811140 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:35AM (#20234033)
    If there ever was a treshold that would stop this due to privacy reasons, it has long been passed. The German Autobahns have a huge system covering almost all the Autobahns tracking trucks for billing reasons. It is now still forbidden by law to use the system for law enforcement, the tracking is done independently from police databases. Though, as recently one police officer got killed at a tank stop, for which the offenders could have been caught using this system, and with the paranoid Schäuble as minister of interior, it will probably not take long before the police gets full control over that database. Face it, registrations like this are pretty harmless on itself, but also a part of the slow and seemingly unstoppable, erosion of privacy.
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:36AM (#20234037) Homepage Journal
    In the old days, a stalker had to take time off work to follow a victim and find out every place she went.

    With comprehensive vehicle tracking, all he has to do is suborn someone with access to EZ-Pass records.

    Too hypothetical? Then consider something that's already happened, divorce lawyers using EZ-Pass records [].

    Agreed, though, calling it 1984 is hyperbole as long as there are feasible alternatives to having an EZ-Pass.
  • by golodh ( 893453 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:37AM (#20234041)
    The general idea is that road authorities should be able bill people for their actual use of the roads, with the price depending on when and where they drive and the characteristics of their vehicle.

    Technically this is already feasible by ensuring that every single vehicle is equipped with a GPS receiver and a transponder that transmits its identity and its itinerary (in time and space} to collection stations.

    As long as there is no congestion, and there are sufficient funds to keep all roads in good condition, the question doesn't appear. It becomes very different however when congestion starts blocking the grid, and when it's hard to find enough money for maintenance (of bridges for example}.

    Under current conditions however, there is a strong incentive to toll. And yes ... there are privacy aspects.

    Where electronically transmitted itineraries could be encrypted to prevent eavesdropping, someone has to do the billing ... and that someone can only do that if they can link the vehicle with a driver. And hence they will also be able to link vehicle, diver, and itinerary.

    It's not quite there yet, but the signs are that it's only a matter of time. Unless someone can come up with a fool-proof alternative way of putting up the money *and* ensuring an acceptable level of service. In other words: don't count on it not happening.

    After all ... what's privacy in the face of financial incentives?

    But rest assured ... there probably will be a capped-fee paying option for those who really don't want their movements tracked and who can afford to pay the national maximum road price per mile where- and whenever they drive. Those subscribes don't need to submit their itineraries ... their subscriber ID will do.

    The only snag is that the maximum road price will be about 20$ per mile. If your car does 50 mph, that would be 1000$ per hour maximum. So anyone willing (and able} to pay 365 x 24 x 1000$ per year would be allowed un-metered driving any time and any place. Anybody else will have to submit their itineraries and pay a road-use charge.

    Oh yes ... and don't bore us with complaints that you already pay gasoline tax. What you *pay* in unimportant. What counts is the difference between what's needed for upkeep and congestion management and what's currently available.

  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Professor Mindblow ( 1142939 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:40AM (#20234059)
    If it keeps the paranoid from driving their cars around Manhattan, that's a bonus reduction in traffic. I'm all for it. In fact, publish the data if you can't satisfactorily explain why you need to take your car in. Make it hurt to not take public transport.
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angstroem ( 692547 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:48AM (#20234101)

    Jesus. Ok, it's all right to have a little bit of suspicion with regards to motives here, but "Manhattan 1984"? That's a bit much, isn't it?
    br> Also, how does this qualify as having to do with Our Rights Online?

    Ignorance is bliss, Darklye, isn't it?

    You just may want to have a look at Germany. You might or might not remember the fuzz about the German "Toll Collect" system introduced a couple of years ago. A definitely overblown system being able to measure the car, count axles, shooting fotos, talking to board computers etc.

    Everyone thought that this was a crazy amount of technology thrown at a problem so simple as collecting toll. Everyone laughed at the tech consortium which was not able to deliver in time

    First voices arose why the contracts were not publicly viewable. No freedom of information for this very contract... Still everyone insisted that this technology will solely be used for collecting toll.

    Meanwhile, things changed. A total surveillance infrastructure being able to track individual cars not only with the help of the installed board computer, but just by mere picture recognition (mind you, Germany introduced machine-readable using OCR fonts -- of course all for the sake of increased security against plate counterfeiting -- plates already in the 90s). And while the law still is active that the infrastructure may be solely used for toll collecting, it gets constant fire -- and it will probably only take another legislature period until it falls and finally, all the authorities will also have access to this data.

    Your turn, Mr. Spock.

  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:49AM (#20234111) Homepage
    Manhattan is full of niggers

    Clearly you meant "the working class", and you're correct. Manhattan is full of working class individuals who clearly have an interest past that of which is providing the employment. If you meant otherwise, then your conflation of racial division with division in class and/or earning potential is the point of discussion, at which point any rational individual would have to disagree with your assessment.
  • by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:50AM (#20234113)
    I find that most people who reject number plate tracking, CCTV cameras, automatic logging and vehicle license MOT test (legal UK vehicle check to ensure it is road worthy) and the like generally have something to hide.

    Whilst I agree there must be safeguards, it seems that every day there are crimes solved, prevented or swiftly responded to by this kind of technology.

    See: sion#Crime_registration []

    from the FA above:
    "Claims that they reduce or deter crime have not been clearly borne out by independent studies[2], though the government claims that when properly used they do result in deterrence, rather than displacement. One clear effect that has been noted is a reduction of car crime when used in car parks. Cameras have also been installed in taxis to deter violence against drivers, and also in mobile police surveillance vans. In some cases CCTV cameras have become a target of attacks themselves. Middlesbrough council have recently installed "Talking CCTV" cameras in their busy town-centre. It is a system pioneered in Wiltshire which allows CCTV operators to communicate directly with the offenders they spot. This idea is first known to have appeared in George Orwell's famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    The use of CCTV in the United States is less common, though increasing, and generally meets stronger opposition. In 1998 3,000 CCTV systems were found in New York City. There are 2,200 CCTV systems in Chicago.

    The most measurable effect of CCTV is not on crime prevention, but on detection and prosecution. Several notable murder cases have been solved with the use of CCTV evidence, notably the Jamie Bulger case, and catching David Copeland, the Soho nail bomber. The use of CCTV to track the movements of missing children is now routine.

    After the bombings of London on 7 July 2005, CCTV footage was used to identify the bombers. The media was surprised that few tube trains actually had CCTV cameras, and there were some calls for this to be increased.

    On July 22, 2005, Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by police at Stockwell tube station. CCTV footage has debunked some police claims. Because of the follow-up bombing attempts the previous day, some of the tapes had been supposedly removed from CCTV cameras for study, and they were not functional. The use of DVR technology may solve this problem."

    In the UK the police are building up a large DNA database from everybody charged with a criminal offence (now nearly 5m entries) this solves crimes regularly. See [] as an example.

    Bottom line, I have no problem with this technology if safeguards are in place and it makes the streets a safer place to walk.
  • The problem is .. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @05:05AM (#20234159)
    This consolidates power in the hands of government. Right now, the UK government can be offensive, inappropriate, incompetent, all the traditional sins of government, but they do stop short of being outright openly evil. Alas, government is not a static reliable thing. Many of the functions of government are being gleefully handed over to corporations, either by market-worshipping dingbats who genuinely believe that the market can regulate itself, or by corrupt arseholes who just want the stock options.

    Now, imagine the same systems in the hands of a major corporation. Now imagine that the corporation has very few legal restrictions on what it does. Now imagine you have pissed them off.

    If that didn't scare you, you have a serious lack of imagination.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mr_matticus ( 928346 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @05:22AM (#20234229)
    Because it's just like driving through any other toll plaza anywhere else. I've not heard of any that don't use cameras to track cars or give away the fact that you crossed the control point with your ETC transponder. How this information is any different from going through other toll plazas or border crossings is beyond me. Moreover, why it matters is also a puzzling thought. So a computer knows you drove into Manhattan. It's not like it would have been a secret without these toll plazas.

    If "they" want to watch you, they can do it. That ability is not new, nor is it going anywhere. Attempting to attribute some lingering fear to the fact that you're visible to others in public is paranoid.
  • Re:Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Datasage ( 214357 ) <`Datasage' `at' `'> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @05:40AM (#20234287) Homepage Journal
    Privacy? Most Americans will give up their privacy for a discount card at the supermarket.
  • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by @madeus ( 24818 ) <> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @06:00AM (#20234357)
    Hello Mr Troll,

    No big deal?? I moved out of London because of the cost

    Uh-hu. If you lived in London, you'd appreciate how expensive living here is, and that the congestion charge is inconsequential compared to the cost of a mortgage, or even renting a decent place. It's a paltry 8 quid a day and that's only if you happen to drive in to zone 1 (which is up to 20 GBP an hour for parking, and there are bugger all spaces, god knows why you'd even try) - and that's not including discounts.

    It did noticeably cut congestion initially, but it's crept right back up again because the charge is so low (it costs far more if you actually want to park your car). Frankly, as Jeremy Clarkson has noted (tongue in cheek) it would need to be about 50 GBP a day to hold any hope of getting city boys to take any notice whatsoever. Even then that's going to be about the same as getting Taxi's about the place, and many will prefer the car.

    I think it ought to be increased significantly (and given the narrow streets and the volume of people, closing off some of the road to traffic (or at least to buses only) would be a step in the right direction.
  • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrNaz ( 730548 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @06:02AM (#20234375) Homepage

    Agreed, though, calling it 1984 is hyperbole as long as there are feasible alternatives to having an EZ-Pass.

    Well, no. That's like saying the sentence "Microsoft is a monopoly" is hyperbole while alternatives to Windows exist.

  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @06:04AM (#20234381)
    I've got a simpler solution: all road maintenence funds should come from gas taxes. If you use more, you pay more, pretty easy.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Starayo ( 989319 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @06:15AM (#20234409) Homepage
    It's treatment like this that makes me currently hate most people here in Australia.

    Most of the so-called "western world" (I abhor that term... how do you divide a sphere in east and west?) needs a real kick up the backside.
  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @07:05AM (#20234553) Homepage
    will give up their privacy for a discount card at the supermarket.

    There is a big difference between voluntarilly giving up your privacy and being *required* to do so though.
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rizzo420 ( 136707 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @07:20AM (#20234611) Homepage Journal
    so now you just walk or take public transit. last i checked there was no toll for walking or taking transit to enter manhattan.

    you have to understand that driving is not necessary in places like new york. don't want to be tracked, don't drive. people who use the ez pass do it out of choice. you aren't required to use one on the highways. you can just pay cash at the tolls and not be tracked. or if you're still worried, take the bus or train. driving a car is not a necessity or requirement, it's a luxury.
  • Re:Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @07:23AM (#20234621) Journal
    I don't mean to go against the grain of what are some interesting and reasonable concerns regarding personal liberty, but not all efforts to track the comings and goings of vehicles are a danger to our freedom as citizens.

    I'm as averse to surveillance as anyone around here, but there are certain places, certain densely populated places that are so valuable to our existence as a country, that it makes sense so be aware of who's moving multi-ton machines through there. It's not like we don't know that there are folks who will create mayhem, given an opportunity.

    I don't have a problem with TSA checking IDs of people who get on planes, and I don't mind records being kept of who's driving in lower Manhattan.

    If they start checking IDs of people riding bikes or walking south of 86th, then I'll start throwing bombs, but this isn't that. We just have to remember that we're the ones giving permission to our government to do certain things, not the other way around.
  • Re:Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JamesTKirk ( 876319 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @07:48AM (#20234703)
    I really don't understand why people keep pointing to privacy issues when it comes to your PUBLIC movements. Tracking your phone records and such is a different story, as that information is actually private. Where you go in public isn't private to begin with. It's PUBLIC, get it? That information is already out there for everyone to see. Not to mention the fact that if you're driving in a car, you're on a road, which is a government controlled area. I can't believe anyone thinks they should be able to drive in Manhattan, and their whereabouts should remain private!
  • Toronto (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Serengeti ( 48438 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @07:49AM (#20234711)
    Toronto has had a system like this in place for years, on its only toll road, Highway 407. If you don't have an 'EZ Pass' transponder in your car, then a camera snaps your license plate.

    How else would they bill you?

    Well, I guess they could open toll booths and slow traffic to a creep, but I think this is a good progression. Besides, they aren't tracking You, they're just tracking customers. Which is you. Yes. You.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by reddburn ( 1109121 ) <> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @08:18AM (#20234889)

    There's a difference to being in view in public, and having your whereabouts noted, and retrievable for all of eternity

    Sorry, but here in the States, anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place, as long as there is no specific statute or ordinance in place prohibiting such activity (military bases, etc.) Property owners can prevent you from taking pictures while on their property; however, they cannot prohibit you from photographing any visible part of that property while on public land. Literally, I could stand on a street corner and photograph every license plate that passes, every person, etc., and nothing could legally be done to stop me (some cops don't understand this). I could also set up a camera to record a public street and capture everything going on.

    Most tollbooths are already recorded to make sure that they can collect from people who pass without paying: if you don't pay the requisite fee, you get a bill. This is the same damn thing: a state (or in this case, a municipality) is charging for the use of the roads that it has to fund.

  • Re:Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @08:28AM (#20234971)

    Face it, registrations like this are pretty harmless on itself, but also a part of the slow and seemingly unstoppable, erosion of privacy.
    This is exactly why things like this are a problem -- and one would think Germans, of all people, would recognize the potential for abuse. All it takes is a new leader with popular support and a few minor legal changes to launch a fascist regime. That's exactly what happened in Germany before -- millions upon millions of people died because of that.

    Germany, Britain (especially), are only a few very thin ice changes away from that possibility happening again.

    Americans, you need to uphold your constitution. Never trust your law makers. Stop these cameras now while you can. For all the nearly 5 million cameras in the UK, there's just as much crime and and just as much of it unsolved. The road pricing schemes don't reduce traffic, nor pollution.

    It's already too late for much of Europe -- it's not yet too late for you.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CmdrGravy ( 645153 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @08:31AM (#20234995) Homepage
    Classic, first of all you denounce the entire UK as a bunch of right wing Sun reading racists and then in the very next sentance you moan about people making sweeping statements about sections of society. A case of double standards here perhaps ?

    The majority of people in the UK are not right wing Sun reading racists, although some of us are and some of the more religiously inspired members of the Muslim community are really not interested much in integration.

    If you actually want to do something to help both the right wing racists and the isolationist muslims it's best to see people as they actually are rather than relying on broad caricatures.
  • papers, please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roesti ( 531884 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @09:02AM (#20235275)

    Oh, and if you're going to give me the "if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear" line, please don't, I've heard it many times before and it sounds dumber each time I hear it.

    I would love it if someone said that to me.

    If someone did say that to me - a man, in this example - then I could ask him what his wife's favourite sexual position is, or which co-worker he would turn gay for, or which one person he would kill if he could get away with it.

    I don't really care what his answers would be, but that's not why I'd want to ask. I would want that person to decide for himself whether he would tell me or not. If he doesn't feel comfortable telling me, or feels offended that I'd ask, he won't answer, even if he can. That's exactly the point.

    If you've got nothing to hide, you really do have nothing to fear. This is true, for as far as it goes, and I'm sure the people who say it believe it. The catch is simple: everyone has something to hide, and not everyone realises it.

  • Re:Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Steve525 ( 236741 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @09:38AM (#20235701)
    Traffic is for all intents and purposes, a crawl during the day.

    This is why anti-conjestion schemes such as this won't work. If traffic is already so horrible, anyone is has an easy option to avoid the area is already doing it. Adding an $8 charge will provide only a little additional motivation. Many people have no choice; they are in that part of town and they need their car or truck for a good reason. The rest have already decided that the cost of sitting in traffic (and probably parking) is still worth it. $8 isn't going to change many of their minds.

    In addition to the privacy concerns, the waste of setting up the system, the confusion for any poor soul who is visiting Manhattan, all that this is going to do is add another tax to a large number of people who have few realistic options to avoid it.

    (There may be a few exceptions. I used to take Canal St. from the Manhattan Bridge to the Hudson Tunnel when travelling from Long Island to Hoboken even during rush hour. Despite how slow going it was, it was still much faster than going around the city. Since I was a broke student at the time $8 may have made me change my mind. Still, cases like this are the exception, not the rule).
  • by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @10:03AM (#20235989)
    I really don't get it.

    Its a tool, like any other tool it throws up a number of false positives, to use it properly is to then screen the positives eliminating them one by one.
    - this man has an alibi
    - this man died last week
    - this man was pictured on CCTV (!) somewhere else
    - this man's DNA was found on scene, new the victim, blood on his clothing, he has motive, refuses to disclose his movements and recently washed his car seat. lets investigate him a bit more. A DNA match does not mean his is guilty, but he might not of been located without one.

    Nowhere did I suggest that you say "this man was found on the scene of the crime, therefore by laws of probability you must be guilty" that would be insane. Neither does the home office in the UK. But the database has an uncanny track history of providing the clues to solve crimes, some even ~30 years old.

    For every crime scene you would no doubt flag up a number of people who could then be interviewed to determine if they are worth following up as with witness, perp or non-connected to the crime.

    Its a bloody tool. It is not a smoking gun. Much like witness statements, number plates, CCTV, resturant bill, credit cards and any other traditional detective method - why, oh why, does this one subject raise such foaming at the mouth objections and irrational thought?

    In the UK, in 2001 they changed the law so that if you were even cautioned then they could keep your DNA and add it to their database of 5% of the population. There was an outcry, but since then 200,000 samples have been added and 8,000 matches have been made to 14,000 crimes. Thats 1 in 25 people cautioned for an offense linked to outstanding unsolved crime. Also it is generating 45,000 matches a year to crime scenes. That is why there is a database - because as a tool it bloody works.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cbreaker ( 561297 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @10:10AM (#20236065) Journal
    I've got to say here that I agree with your sentiments about Islam and Muslims. While I have nothing against these people personally, I don't like their religion and the societies it creates. It IS oppressive.

    I think that "Western" civilization is better. Sure, not perfect, with room for improvement. Still, it's better. We have more freedoms, we have more wealth, and we have a better morality. Most people in Western culture believe in freedom and equality, and want the citizens of our society to also believe in these values.

    Agreed; just because it's a "religion" doesn't mean we should be forced to accept it whole heartedly.

    On your last point - I do care about being tracked and I do value privacy. I actually read privacy statements on things I sign, and I don't sign things that I don't agree with. I don't buy into the "if you're not hiding anything, then you shouldn't care" thinking.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halber_mensch ( 851834 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @10:30AM (#20236381)

    "I find it kinda disconcerting that I could one day be confronted by police with an exhaustive list of my movements for the last 10 years." I could care less. It would establish my innocence. I don't find it intimidating at all.
    I think you've missing the bigger picture here. In a free society information about citizens isn't arbitrarily stockpiled for potential criminal investigations. In a free society, information for a criminal investigation is gathered once a citizen is officially suspected of a crime. The purpose of a free society's law enforcement is not to preemptively scour the populous with microphones and video cameras for all lawbreakers and dissenters, as you would see in a totalitarian state, but to respond to visible breaches of the law. In America, we're headed down a slippery slope - letting our congress sign away our traditional rights and liberties, because we're afraid that the "terrorists" are going to get us in our sleep. Eventually, we'll have no liberties to be abused by the "terrorists", and we'll simply trudge through servile lives anxiously avoiding any "suspicious" activity or thought deemed dangerous (read: independent) by the government, lest we be whisked away in a black van paid for by our own tax dollars to an offshore unsupervised prison we opted not to care about when it was erected, to be interrogated through torture we legalized to get information from terrorists, out of sight and mind of anyone that might care but now can't do anything without being locked in the cells next to us. Maybe that's a paranoid rant, but that's how I imagine a life lived in "safety" in exchange for liberty.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wishlish ( 581421 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @10:44AM (#20236583) Homepage
    How the heck did this get modded as insightful? This is a positively xenophobic interpretation of Muslims and Islam.

    I've worked with many Muslims over the years. I've enjoyed working with them as much as I enjoy working with anyone. In *my* country, Muslims are certainly welcome. Are there murderous, extremist Muslims out there? Sure. And there's murderous, extremist people in every religion. (For example, see

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:12AM (#20237007)
    "But Christianity and Judaism are okay, despite following the same "God"? I say we get rid of them all, since they've been making countries less free since their conception!

    In the real world, Christianity and Judaism have been usefully weakened so they don't pose as much of a threat. (I'm an atheist so I like none of them.) The idea that we should strive equally for some impossible ideal outcome as a matter of principle does not make intelligent social policy.

    In which society, right now, would your rather live given the choice between predominately Christian, Jewish, or Muslim countries?
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CowTipperGore ( 1081903 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:13AM (#20237011)
    Wow. I can't believe this was modded up (Insightful?) on Slashdot. What a bunch of drivel - replace every occurrence of Muslim with Jew and see how well it is received.

    There is no reason for non-Muslims to want Muslims, because as believers they spread Islam.

    Because all Muslims are just like those crazy brown guys you saw on 24 or Fox News. All Muslims do nothing but plot then act on plans for converting the world to Islam. There are no "normal" people who also happen to follow the faith of Islam. Of course, the same is true for all other religions. We don't want Jews because they spread Judaism. We don't want Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, or any other Christian denomination because they spread Christianity. But why stop there? Let's make sure that those with different skin colors or culture heritages are kept the hell away too. My Daddy already taught me anything worth knowing and I don't need someone who looks, talks, or thinks differently putting confusing thoughts in my head.

    The spread of Islam cannot be considered desirable by non-Muslims because of the societies it creates.
    You mean like the cities of Spain and the Middle East a thousand years ago? Those Muslim cities that happened to be centers of enlightenment and scientific learning, while Christian Europe was in the midst of the Dark Ages? Or perhaps you mean the secular democracy in Turkey, a Muslim nation?

    Islam is an exceptionally oppressive religion in practice, and practice trumps theory.

    Religion is an exceptionally oppressive organization in practice... Fixed that for you. Islam is not special.

    I've seen the best you can do even with massive wealth (KSA, and the Gulf Emirates) and do not want MY country to be like them.

    I agree on this point, but I've also seen what has happened and continues to happen in the best "Christian nations" and do not want MY country to be like them.

    Many of us don't care about political correctness, and don't want even "reasonable" Muslims in their midst.
    Sure. You are of the same lot as the whites who don't want blacks in their neighborhood, heterosexuals who are afraid they may catch Gay if a homosexual lives near them, and men who understand that women are subservient to them. You need the world to be divided into neat classes and you know that the bucket you are in is the best. In fact, your group (gender, culture, race, sexual orientation, religion, political party, etc) is the only correct one and has inherent dominance over the lesser groups.

    If Muslim society is good and righteous, Muslims might prove their loyalty by moving back to the Caliphate.
    This statement doesn't even make sense.

    I don't need them. I don't want Islamic changes in MY society. I don't want Muslims to have leverage by increasing their population in MY country.
    To reiterate, Different is bad and Same is good. I suppose you're okay with the Muslim influences that pulled Christian Europe out of the Dark Ages and lead directly to its scientific and industrial revolutions?

    Just because Islam is a "religion" doesn't mean it should not be viewed as a political ideology. I am free to oppose Islam (everywhere but Islamic countries) just as I am free to oppose Maoism or Stalinism. To the extent my country becomes Islamic I will be less free, so anything that induces Muslims to leave suits me fine.
    The Ottoman empire began creating a constitutional democracy 150 years ago and secularized their government fifty years later. There have been hosts of authoritarian and autocratic nations through the centuries, some religious, some secular, and some adamantly anti-religious. Just like every organized religion, there are political movements within Islam but that does not make it a political ideology. All major religions can be separated into the faith and organized religion, you are opposed to the organized religion but lumping the faith with it in your fear and ignorance.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <[ku.oc.dohshtrae] [ta] [2pser_ds]> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:16AM (#20237055)

    The general idea is that road authorities should be able bill people for their actual use of the roads, with the price depending on when and where they drive and the characteristics of their vehicle.
    Unfortunately, such fine granularity costs.

    Back in the 19th Century, there were plans to set up an elaborate system of charging people to post letters according to size, weight and distance travelled -- until someone worked out that all measuring and calculating would actually end up contributing more to the overall cost of a stamp than the actual business of delivering the letter. Thus we ended up with the Penny Post (and, as an aside, a "penny black" stamp isn't anything like as rare or valuable as some people imagine.)

    This principle -- that any extraneously-complex attempt ostensibly to increase fairness can end up having the opposite effect -- seems to have been forgotten today as we push for ever-more-complex solutions to the problems created by the last, failed attempt to solve a largely non-existent problem with too much technology.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by soupforare ( 542403 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:23AM (#20237163)
    Why just tax the specific people that use the road when you can tax both?
  • Re:Funny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zenslug ( 542549 ) * on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:36AM (#20237369) Homepage

    If they do not think I am a criminal, why should they follow me?

    So they can charge you money.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vigmeister ( 1112659 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:39AM (#20237409)
    This mod needs to be meta-moderated. Actually, I'll go ahead and earn some karma for myself by saying the following:

    "There is no reason for atheists to want religious people, because as believers they spread religion.
    The spread of religion cannot be considered desirable by atheists because of the societies it creates.
    Religions are exceptionally oppressive in practice, and practice trumps theory.
    I've seen the best you can do even with massive wealth (the WORLD) and do not want MY world to be like that.
    Many of us don't care about political correctness, and don't want even "reasonable" religious people in their midst. If a religious society is good and righteous, religious nuts might prove their loyalty by moving back to wherever their religion started. I don't need them. I don't want religious changes in MY society. I don't want religious people to have leverage by increasing their population in MY country.
    Just because something is a "religion" doesn't mean it should not be viewed as a political ideology. I am free to oppose religion (everywhere but non-secular countries) just as I am free to oppose Nazism. To the extent my country becomes religious I will be less free, so anything that induces religious people to leave suits me fine."

    I hope the OP was being sarcastic and the moderator who modded him up and the replier who 'agreed' construed it as sarcasm.

    I am a from a Hindu family who lived through riots in my town and I have seen the kind of inhuman behaviour that can be triggered by such views as your own. I am not defending Muslims, but am preaching acceptance of people's faith and beliefs.


  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:46AM (#20237475) Homepage Journal
    personally i think they should turn a random town in new jersey into a parking lot, and force people to take trains into the city. cars ruin midtown. i hate cars. all streets should become pedestrian thoroughfairs. make times square a permanent street fair. turn the taxi fleet into a bunch of pedicabs, scooters, and small european style microcars. make all truck deliveries during a certain hour of the night

    and then i turn to slashdot, and i find a bunch of spin that frankly doesn't get the situation at all. a lot of the discussion here is about accepting a loss of freedom

    loss of freedom?! you mean GAIN of freedom. the oppressive fascist presence here being CARS, not the government!

    hello, i live here, i think i understand better than the average slashbot about what is going on with this plan. i don't see it as mourning a loss of freedom. i see it as celebrating a loss of CARS

    let's put it this way: in the fight against what you perceive as an intrusive government and loss of privacy, try to understand what people on the ground are actually thinking about the situation, and pick the right fight. don't misinterpret the situation and come charging in horns ablaring about this issue or that issue that frankly, no one is actually concerned with and doesn't even apply

    or rather, for the sake of argument, let's take the absurd position that the slashbots here are correct about this being an intrusive government issue and not a clogged traffic issue. ok, well then, now you understand that those who live in midtown manhattan welcome the devilish scheme of emperor palpatine to take away their freedoms under the guise of a bait and switch maneuver that the issue is something else entirely. fine: now try to understand what emperor palpatine is baiting us with, and use that issue as a starting point for your own words. the point being, it doesn't pay to march into a situation with the discussion already all figured out in your head without any input or attempt to persuade the people who are actually the targets of the plan in question

    know your audience, speak to their concerns. or don't bother speraking at all. because they're not going to listen to you if you don't try to understand where they are coming from
  • Re:Funny (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Kreisler ( 992371 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:51AM (#20237551)
    Nobody seems to mind giving up their privacy for a drivers license, though, so why not abide by a few rules to make the world a better place? Besides, nobody is required to drive in lower Manhattan except delivery trucks. Everybody else can walk or take the subway.
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:58AM (#20237631) Homepage Journal
    People should not be allowed to reference 1984 (or say "Orwellian") unless they've actually read the thing []. It describes a totalitarian state that makes Stalin look like a libertarian. It's not just about a government that spies on its people (though only the upper classes). It's about people willfully changing their own memories of the past and a ruling party that claims to control reality. All of this is set in a world of permanent war and grinding poverty for almost all of humanity.

    People are right to be concerned about the government spying on them. But most of the intrusions that people are up in arms about is a long way from "1984" territory. Being added to a database every time you drive into Manhattan does raise privacy concerns, but it's many orders of magnitude away from the nightmare Orwell described.

    Warning: it's illegal to follow the above Gutenberg Australia link if you live in the U.S. or some other country that has effectively made copyrights permanent. That's a bad thing, but it's not "Orwellian" either.

  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @12:12PM (#20237811)
    I grew up in NYC. Used to be so much more interesting. Now it's just money. The seedy parts of the city had character.

    Mod parent up. And give Rudi "Disneyland" Guiliani a hard kick in the butt when you see him for making NYC what it is. I still love the town, and there are still interesting parts but some neighborhoods have lost their charm.

    Ah, just wait till the economy isn't so great again...


  • Re:Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dfghjk ( 711126 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @01:48PM (#20239029)
    "...taking photos of people driving to make sure they're not driving to [sic] fast, thus saving lives, ... are good things"

    On the surface that's a true statement. In reality it is not.

    First off, at least in many states in the US, a person has a right to face his accuser and his accuser cannot be a machine. Machines would be presumed to be correct unless a malfunction could be demonstrated and it's far too easy to prevent such a demonstration. Furthermore, machines are too easily rigged to generate false accusations. There is ample evidence where, in states that allow photo radar, companies are given financial incentive to cheat on light cycles in order to produce more cases of red lights being run. In a country where we (supposedly) value the presumption of innocence, allowing machines to testify against us is no different than presuming guilt without recourse.

    Second, your claim is problematic because it assumes that "too fast" is a known thing. In the US it is customary to set speed limits artificially low and defer to police officers for selective enforcement. Doing so provides an ample supply of "speeders" and makes cases against them easier to argue. Combining this inherent corruption with the inflexible enforcement of an automated system is not a "good thing" but, more to the point, it does not "save lives" as you asserted. All it does is increase revenues for the state.

    If such a system could be made foolproof, deliberate manipulation of the system prevented, and the corruption in traffic laws eliminated then I might agree with you. As it stands, it's far more important (to me) to limit government power and intrusion than to give any consideration to questionable claims of life saving. Frankly, there are many things to attack to make our roads safer than to further slow down vehicles. Roads are for getting places, and further limiting their effectiveness while ignoring greater issues (such as cellphone use and alcohol) is essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
  • by EgoWumpus ( 638704 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @06:19PM (#20242283)

    First of all, lets go over some terrorism we've been exposed to in the last thirty years that aren't Muslim; The IRA, Timothy McVeigh, Christians who shoot abortion doctors, Japanese who gas subways - and lets not get into what sort of fear-mongering, heavy-handed threats and bombing that the current Administration has engaged in which could easily classify as 'terrorism'.

    I mean, clearly you're flame-baiting - else why are you anonymous? But it's a bald-faced lie that Islam is any more terrorist than any other demographic. Propagating that lie is as immoral as any act as I can think of. I mean, really, think for yourself - stop listening to the propaganda that is being fed to you.

    And before you respond; Islam is not at all about violence, or about hate. In fact, if you knew anything at all about it's origins, you'd probably recognize the perversion that it's being put through to serve the ends of people who don't have religious enlightenment in mind at all, but their own lamentable ends.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Omestes ( 471991 ) <> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @06:27PM (#20242371) Homepage Journal

    SOME Muslim people have committed heinous acts of terror in the name of Islam against Western targets, and some Muslims have come right out and said there will be no peace until all the infidels are gone. It's not that Some Westerners feel threatened by Muslims, it's that we are threatened by some Muslims. Some Muslims are threatening our lives, our society, our way of life. Is it a surprise that you don't feel welcome?
    Fixed it for you, seems you confused a group for a whole there for a bit.

    This is the rational that got us into this whole damn mess in the first place, confusing whole swaths of people for small groups.

    Some westerners do want to destroy the Muslim way of life, thus all westerners are a threat. See the fallacy?

    Every group has a lunatic fringe who is hell bend on destroying all out groups. Does this make the superculture bad? No, it means the lunatic fringe is bad. Though I agree that the superculture should be trying to quash the violent, ignorant, morons within it too. So all muslims do own their extremists to a limited extent. But then again us Americans own our warmongering, bigoted, fundamentalists too, and we're doing nothing to stop them either.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.