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

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  •  Those are to watch for traffic incidents... (8+ / 0-)

    ...like backups and accidents.

    •  Some freeways now have digital signage (4+ / 0-)

      projecting how many minutes travel time to various key exits, based on real-time feedback and current conditons.  Where slow-downs start to become the norm, people find those projections very useful.   The mother of them all is on the ring roads of London, England.

      "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 09:46:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But, at the same time, (9+ / 0-)

      the possibility that they are ALSO hooked up to license plate readers cannot be discounted.  It varies, right?  Some municipalities are doing that (mine is) and others are not.  It is a hodge-podge and an evolving area.  Which is why the ACLU's proposed regulations NEED to be heeded by policymakers at every level.

      I think these ACLU recommendations for use of plate-reader technology are sound ones:

      License plate readers may be used by law enforcement agencies only to investigate hits and in other circumstances in which law enforcement agents reasonably believe that the plate data are relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.

      The government must not store data about innocent people for any lengthy period. Unless plate data has been flagged, retention periods should be measured in days or weeks, not months and certainly not years.

      People should be able to find out if plate data of vehicles registered to them are contained in a law enforcement agency’s database.

      Law enforcement agencies should not share license plate reader data with third parties that do not follow proper retention and access principles. They should also be transparent regarding with whom they share license plate reader data.

      Any entity that uses license plate readers should be required to report its usage publicly on at least an annual basis.

      https://www.aclu.org/...

      "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 09:52:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes it can. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, ladybug53, TexasTom, chantedor

        The traffic cameras are typically low-resolution, and designed for roadway condition monitoring (i.e. watching for congestion, accidents, or other roadway incidents), and simply can not do what you are suggesting.

        Here's a local (for me, at least) example: http://transview.org/...

        Go ahead. Try to figure out a way to pick out a license plate from that video. It's just not possible. Heck, getting anything other than  a vehicle type (car, truck, van, bus, heavy) and color would be a bit of a stretch.

        This does not, however, discount the possibility of police departments from ALSO setting up readers like you suggest (I suppose the enforcement cameras could be set up do do so, for example). They would, however, have to be a separate system. DoT budgets are thin enough, without dumping even more money into overdesigned cameras. We don't need the super-high res video, so we don't get systems that can provide it.

        "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 10:36:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if we know the specs of the cameras (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LibrErica, Simplify, jrooth

          on any given roadway, that would help us predict its probable uses.  

          But to most of us, they just look like an oversize webcam-on-a-stick.  As a non-expert, most of us can't tell if they are high-res or low-res just by looking.

          I was very surprised when our local ACLU got the police department to acknowledge their plate-reader program.  I had honestly assumed the cameras were for traffic automation or at most speeding enforcement.  The follow-up-for-potential-terrorism-investigation-six-months-later  angle was truly a shocker.  

          "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 10:44:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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