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Automated License Plate Recognition - Good ? Bad ? Indifferent? Answered

Is this a good thing? Does anyone see any possible bad in it (drawbacks, ways to abuse the system)?

One place the videos can be found

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Kiteman (author)2009-03-11

Bad.

In the UK, surveillance is overkill. A simple trip to the shops can get you recorded on over 300 different CCTV systems, most of them covertly operated.

The only excuse made for the first genuine "Big Brother" society? If you've done nothing wrong, you don't need to be worried.

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NachoMahma (author)Kiteman2009-03-12

. I don't have a problem with surveillance in public places, but that excuse is just plain stupid. . "Since you're not doing anything wrong, you won't mind if we put a camera in your living room, now, will you? That's a good citizen. BTW, you need to do the dishes."

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Kiteman (author)NachoMahma2009-03-12

It's not just the watching, it's the recording.

ALPR systems don't just watch for a select few plates, they record every plate they see, along with date and time. That record isn't discarded (in the UK), it is kept for years, "just in case". This gives the authorities a pretty detailed record of all your movements, even though you are a suspect in no crime. They also keep all the videos from street, highway and patrol-car video cameras for the same reason.

Whilst smaller shops tend to record over their CCTV tapes every few days, larger stores keep their records on DVD or computer file for years as well, without informing the subject of the record.

Not only is that a wholly unwarranted invasion of my privacy, and a threat to our future liberty, as laws can be written retrospectively (which contravenes the Declaration of Human Rights, but still happens), making the videos of my past activities potential evidence against me in future.

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NachoMahma (author)Kiteman2009-03-12

. I understand your point, but, even with my strong Libertarian leanings, I don't think anyone has a "reasonable expectation of privacy" when in public. The slippery slope effect does worry me, but not taping in public places itself.
. Just my opinion. As usual you have a well-reasoned position that I can not directly attack, I just don't agree with you. ;)

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Kiteman (author)NachoMahma2009-03-12

I believe (no evidence, just anecdote) that the problem is worse over here anyway - we've never had the national tradition of "liberty or death" that other nations (eg, yours) have, so we kind of sat back and let the government do it "for our interest".

For the record, I am quite happy with public cameras, it's the recording and purposeless archiving that gets me. A number of UK towns and cities have systems with 24/7 human monitoring, so that emergency services can be called quickly to disturbances. Some even have speaker systems ("Pick that litter up!", "Put that drunk back where you found him!"). Systems like that have undeniable public-safety benefits.

If those systems just recorded incidents when the operators pressed a button, I'd be happy as Larry

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NachoMahma (author)Kiteman2009-03-12

. Judging by what I've seen on the telly, y'all got a big head start on us, but, in typical American fashion, we're doing our best to catch up to, nay, surpass, you. Nearly all stores, auditoriums, stadiums, &c; have cameras and traffic cameras are becoming more and more common. I haven't noticed wholesale surveillance by the authorities, but it may be common in urban areas. . I guess I just don't grok why you think taping/archiving is any worse than just having the cameras. From my POV, it really doesn't make any difference. . I really don't think you Brits have the exclusive franchise on complacency. It's all too common for Americans to take the attitude "it doesn't affect me right now, so what do I care?" I'm sure it's the same in all societies that manage to reach a high level of security and a comfortable standard of living. Comfort and security are the parents of complacency.

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Kiteman (author)NachoMahma2009-03-12

The watching is the legitimate function - same as a policeman or community officer there at the scene.

When that officer is physically there, in the street, he doesn't write down everything he sees, descriptions of every person who passes, their clothes, car, shopping bags, whatever. He discriminates.

A video recorder does not discriminate, not in what is recorded, not in who is given access to that knowledge, nor in what that information is used for.

I have a right to privacy, and recording my movements without my knowledge or permission denies me that right.

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NachoMahma (author)Kiteman2009-03-13

. For me, it's just the opposite - I prefer the cam/recorder that doesn't discriminate. The impersonal, no subjectivity involved, non-discrimination of the cam/tape. I've been sticking up for you and the scientific method and you come up with something like that. <snicker>
. Certainly, the cops on the beat, with their ability to reason and fit pieces of the puzzle together, are invaluable, but they're only human. With human biases and all the attendant problems when trying to determine The Truth.
. I don't like the fact that I'm probably on tape when I'm in public, but I just don't see where I have any right to privacy when I am in public. Why do you think they call it "public"? heehee In my home, yes, I (should) have the right to the ultimate in privacy, but not in public.
. I'm a bit surprised that we have diametrical opinions on this on this one. Other things I can usually chalk up to geography/culture, but this one confuses me. We're usually no more than about 45o off.
.
. You're just getting old and don't like the fact that technology is moving faster than you are. Welcome to the club. ;)

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Kiteman (author)NachoMahma2009-03-13

There are levels of privacy, though. My movements are only visible in their entirety to those who accompany me the whole way. That which is hidden is, then, private, unless I choose to reveal it.

When my movements are recorded, and made accessible to people who I do not know, for reasons they need not reveal, then my privacy is infringed.

There are some laws in the UK which are only enacted if your actions are observed by a policeman, such as "behaviour liable to cause a breach of the peace". That can mean things as trivial as walking a bit close to the curb, or running on the pavement ("sidewalk"). Add a camera to a normal street scene and you create hundreds of potential criminal records.

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NachoMahma (author)Kiteman2009-03-13

. You make some very good points, but you're still wrong. heehee . I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree ... again.

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Kiteman (author)NachoMahma2009-03-14

Ah, but this is the best kind of disagreement - we both know we are being subjective, and coming from different contexts, so we can both disagree and both be right at the same time.

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Kiteman (author)Kiteman2009-03-12

(And you may be the only other person here who groks at all!)

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NachoMahma (author)Kiteman2009-03-13

. For some reason, I didn't discover that book until I was about 19-20 yo. It came along when I was examining The Big Questions and it had a big impact on me. Some great philosophy and enough juicy bits to keep a horny teen interested.

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PKM (author)NachoMahma2009-03-13
Huh. To me "grok" is hacker slang for "deduce the meaning of from context"- if you see
if $@ then   print "Oh no terrible things happened"else   print "Everything is fine"end if
you could grok that $@ means "did terrible things happen?".

Great philosophy and a juicy story? I'm just embarking on my second reading of ZATAOMM, if you have recommendations for any similar books (combination philosophy-and-ripping-yarn literature) I'd love to hear them.

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NachoMahma (author)PKM2009-03-13

. Just about anything by Robert Heinlein. I really liked his Future History and Lazarus Long series.
. Then there's Ray Bradbury. Fantastic imagery - he can suck you right into the story. Fahrenheit 451 is obligatory. His first four books are among my all-time favorites.
. Isaac Asimov has written in just about every genre there is - from bawdy tales to college textbooks. Excellent SciFi and the best Explainer-Of-Any-Subject of all time. "Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books..." - Wikipedia. He's written something you'll like.
.
. Grok, in Heinlein's world, is complete and total understanding. I've always thought of it as something just slightly beyond the reach of humans. The current "intuit" seems like a reasonable evolution of the word.

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Kiteman (author)PKM2009-03-13

It's a reference to Stranger in a Strange Land. Great book.

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PKM (author)Kiteman2009-03-13

"Pick that litter up!" --> "You- citizen. Pick up that can. Now throw it in the trash"

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2009-03-12

Oooo, maybe I should change my plans to someday visit England, and make it Japan instead? :-)

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Goodhart (author)NachoMahma2009-03-12

Living room? Didn't they tell you about the mandatory ones in the bedroom and bathroom? ;-)

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NachoMahma (author)Goodhart2009-03-12

. I thought about using your first example, but this IS a family-friendly site. The second one is just sick, ya old perv.

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Goodhart (author)NachoMahma2009-03-12

What, I didn't extrapolate further on the subject, just that it would be even more intrusive when they get around to it... ;-)

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whatsisface (author)Kiteman2009-03-11

Cory Doctrow's book "Little Brother" deals with that issue quite well, really is worth reading. And the price is right.

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Goodhart (author)whatsisface2009-03-11

yeah, I have downloaded it.....I really have to get to it one of these days....

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2009-03-11

I see both here, good and bad. In a sense, the one illustrated will only warn of those that are already on the data base and one of the bad parts would be that one can, out of spite manually place a plate on the system.

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yourcat (author)2009-03-12

BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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fwjs28 (author)2009-03-11

Meh...its has its good things and bad....i personaly think that, if you are doing something bad and you get caught then its your own damn fault....besides, if you aren't doing anything wrong, you really have nothing to worry about....

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Goodhart (author)fwjs282009-03-11

Well, as I listed as one of the bad parts about it, not all police are angels and someone with a grudge can put you in the system manually. They can cause a heck of a lot of disturbance to one's life if they wanted too.

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