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View Diary: Traffic Cameras: Don't watch me, bro! (97 comments)

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  •  I am pleased to know that SOME usage is benign (6+ / 0-)

    and actually I am among those (probably a minority here) who believe that there is a valid place for enforcement cameras if appropriate checks and balances are maintained.  

    However just because traffic cameras, as opposed to surveillance camers, are sometimes used and can save laves without privacy instrustion ... does NOT mean that what Joe Citizen sees up on that pole is NOT for surveillance.

    Because, in my city, they are.   Our police department admits that they can and do capture and read license plates.  And, they don't JUST check in real-time for a hotlist of stolen vehicles or manhunts.  The data is RETAINED, for a period of many months, for potential analysis at a later date.  

    That's going way too far.  Even a fan of red-light cameras can't get down with unrestrained retention of that data on mass scale.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 09:27:49 AM PST

    •  Here's the local story (6+ / 0-)

      Our ACLU chapter is seeking the extremely reasonable limitation that the data be retained for no more than 1 week.  6 months retention is excessive and offers too much potential for abuse.  

      Is the data necessarily being mined and abused?  Probably not ... usually.  

      http://www.koat.com/...

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 09:31:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  To clarify (0+ / 0-)
      Because, in my city, they are.   Our police department admits that they can and do capture and read license plates
      Is the "they" the PD, or the traffic cameras?

      "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

      by Hayate Yagami on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 10:38:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Both (0+ / 0-)

        The cameras they have are equipped with optical-character-reader processing, and translate the image into an alphanumeric string representing the license plate number.  That goes into a database and police have access to the data.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 10:46:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And these are the regular cameras? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp

          As opposed to additional ones that the PD set up?

          After some googling, while I did find a number of stories about license plate reader cameras being deployed, they were always being deployed by the PD's, not by the DoT's.

          "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

          by Hayate Yagami on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 10:55:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Around here (SF bar area) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lgmcp, Hayate Yagami

            the police in some municipalities have started using License Plate Readers, but the usually seem to be mounted on patrol cars. The one exception is Tiburon, a wealthy community north of the Golden Gate, which mounted LPR's on poles at the entrances to town so that they can keep track of the riff-raff entering and leaving.

            I must say, though, that as a motorcyclist I appreciate the signal cameras replacing sensor loops. In this state, the loops are required to be able to detect motorcycles (and I believe bicycles), but in these tight budgetary times, keeping them adjusted is real low on cities' priority lists.

          •  Definitely deployed by our PD (0+ / 0-)

            probably with Homeland Security funding.   We do have the national labs here with all kinds of classified and nuclear programs, so probably considered more of a terrorism target than other mid-size inland cities.  

            Also, due to local geography with large blocks of land off-limits as part of Indian reservations, federal labs, air force, and national forest, there are only about 1/2 dozen roads that lead in and out of the metro area.   The cameras are clustered along these arterials, particularly near the limited number of river crossings.  

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:31:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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