Surveillance by Driverless Car

San Francisco police are using autonomous vehicles as mobile surveillance cameras.

Privacy advocates say the revelation that police are actively using AV footage is cause for alarm.

“This is very concerning,” Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) senior staff attorney Adam Schwartz told Motherboard. He said cars in general are troves of personal consumer data, but autonomous vehicles will have even more of that data from capturing the details of the world around them. “So when we see any police department identify AVs as a new source of evidence, that’s very concerning.”

Posted on May 12, 2022 at 1:07 PM35 Comments

Comments

Mark Atwood May 12, 2022 1:33 PM

So? They use ATM camera footage and store security camera footage already.

I think most people’s objection are not that this happens, but that all the footage exists and yet cops and prosecutors cant be bothered to use it unless the victim can force the issue.

Clive Robinson May 12, 2022 4:51 PM

@ ALL,

Re : evidence or not?

From the article a quote,

“So when we see any police department identify AVs as a new source of evidence, that’s very concerning.”

What do people think the “evidence” that can be gathered and used is?

It might come as a surprise to many, but a Law Officer who “views a tape” and then signs the paperwork for proceedings and appears in court and teatifies to the details from the tape is in many parts of the US is not presenting “evidence” but is technicaly committing perjury.

Yet hundreds of US Drivers get convicted each month this way.

It’s a point that people need to consider more closely.

The point of “evidence” is that it passes certain requirments.

A video recording on a tape from a VCR or an equivalent file on a hard drive does not meet those requirements. Nor does the output of most electronic instruments, such bio-bands and similar, nor does data in chips in even embedded medical electronics.

As most here will realise they don’t pass being “tamper proof” or any “chain of custody” requirments, nor more importantly can they pass any authentication tests.

Oh and if you don’t immediatly see why –and you might not if you have not thought about it before– have a think about why “Code Signing” fails. Also why supposed “One Way Functions”(OWFs) will always fail to the equivalent of “Dictionary attacks”.

As I’ve indicated in the past the judiciary have no actual concept of evidence. All they see or hear is,

“Sworn statments”

They will accept any lie deliberate or accidental that appears on a piece of paper with a signed declaration. Similarly any oral submission after an oath.

They fight very hard to stop that cozy little daydream that protects them from responsability and the consequent liability being disturbed. It is by the way the reason for a “jury of your peers” they are the ones that decide on what is “presented” which is a cosy excuse as the Judge very much controls what the jury gets to see.

So this “Autonomous Vehicle”(AV) camera footage, will not meet the standards laid down for evidence to be presented in court, nor can it be.

However that will not stop three things happening with such recordings,

1, Being used as a lead in investigation.
2, Prosecuters trying it on with courts claiming it meets evedentury requirments when it does not.
3, Judges turning a blind eye to what they know can not be “evidence” for their own reasons.

As has been noted by others in the US you have two cohorts of judges, those that get “elected” and those that do not. Thus studies can be carried out on what judges will or will not accept… On balance it does not look very good for either cohort, but there is clear indicators that being elected has a noticable difference on the judicial myopia.

Steve May 12, 2022 8:08 PM

While the privacy issues are certainly of note, I found, in reading the linked article, the following rules relating to police interactions with AVs to be rather curious:

… It outlines basic procedures such as how to interact with the vehicles (”Do not open the vehicle for non-emergency issues” and ”Do not pull vehicles over unless a legitimate law enforcement action exists”) as well as whether to issue a citation for a moving violation for a car with no human driver (”No citation can be issued at this time if the vehicle has no one in the driver’s seat” but an incident report should be written instead). …

Make of that what you will.

Joe Trott May 12, 2022 10:05 PM

I noticed that as I was updating the missing location on Google maps from my cellphone.

Ted May 12, 2022 10:39 PM

It seems like Alphabet’s Waymo is saying they require lawful requests (ie: warrants) to release AV footage to police.

GM’s Cruise appears to track that position, adding that they will voluntarily share information if public safety is at risk.

First off, how does law enforcement coordinate a specific request? Do they have any idea what surveillance an AV has picked up?

Beyond that, I’d like to see some solid and creative risk assessments – including where the activity is technically legal. Props if someone could get some dishes from multiple stakeholders.

MikeA May 13, 2022 9:56 AM

@Ted

I’m not Steve, but the part that looked a bit curious to me was:

”Do not pull vehicles over unless a legitimate law enforcement action exists”

Why does this have to be added to “how to deal with AV”.

Does this mean that the default rules for vehicles with drivers is “Pull over anybody you want, whenever you want, with no legitimate law enforcement action whatsoever”?

Gert-Jan May 13, 2022 10:07 AM

It seems like Alphabet’s Waymo is saying they require lawful requests (ie: warrants) to release AV footage to police.

Say what? They don’t own the footage! That is, the owner of the car should own the footage.

Perhaps the owner has granted the manufacturer access to the footage for analytical purposes or service improvement. But we’re talking about a different purpose here.

JonKnowsNothing May 13, 2022 10:49 AM

@Gert-Jan

re: They don’t own the footage! That is, the owner of the car should own the footage.

iirc(badly)ymmv

Nearly ever car of this type, Tesla and others, are not “sold”, they are “leased”. The person taking it home, plugging it in for recharge(1) and driving it is not the owner.

In addition, there are separate portions of the contract that allow telemetry to be sent to and from the car. In theory for software firmware updates but also for watching streaming movies, while auto-piloting from SF to LA. RT telemetry for GPS Map updates are part of those systems (2).

Also, both the true car owner and the providers on these services have agreements to provide their data to LEAs and most of them do not require a USA warrant, which won’t help you anyway if you are driving the car in China.

Anything that traverses the cloud, becomes the property of those services (Apple, Google, FBM etc). While some of these require official documentation, others (Ring, Clearview) do not.

===

1) In California our northern public utility has been approved to use Time of Day Use pricing. The most expensive time of day uses are 4pm-9pm 7 days a week. This is the time when most families are home, fixing dinners and plugging in their electric cars. Some car charging stations have timers so it doesn’t turn on until the cheap rates but if your battery needs 10 hours charge and you need to leave at 4am to drive 3 hours to work…

If you are driving at $200,000 leased car, time of day pricing probably won’t affect you much.

2) GPS Maps both Off Line and Real Time updates. fwiw I would not recommend any one trust GPS maps or directions unless they have previous experience driving the same routes. There are many reasons why the maps maybe out of date or incorrect but the bottom line is: blindly following the voice prompts can get you seriously injured.

In my local area, there are lots of places the GPS maps fail, in the cities and in the country side. At best case they may have you driving in circles on the wrong side of town, looking for the street that is 5 miles in another direction. In the worst case they can take you right off the highway down a cliff into a ravine.

If “You know the way to San Jose”, you don’t need to rely on faulty tech to get there.

ForestRanger May 13, 2022 11:13 AM

personal “Privacy” versus personal “Security” is the root issue here.

but extremely few people understand the bare basic socio-political principles that would dictate their desired balance of Privacy vs Security.

Why have “Police” at all ? (a much more complex question than it seems)
What powers should the Police have OR be forbidden to them ?

the acceptable “Surveillance” powers of Police can not be determined until one figures out the overall principle of acceptable Police Powers — which is a tradeoff with personal privacy and liberty.

seeing the Forest from the Trees ain’t easy

Quantry May 13, 2022 12:37 PM

@SLF, re #comment-404706 (“Wear a mask…”)

Veils (with eyeballs painted on) allow you to breathe more easily, and

h–ps://windowtintlaws.us/

Regarding Public Key Protocols:

“it is prudent to reconsider our strategic approach to the protection of data”

-NSA
(h–ps://media.defense.gov/2021/Sep/27/2002862527/-1/-1/0/CNSS%20WORKSHEET.PDF)

Which when interpreted means, “PKI is a huge joke: Use pre-shared key asap”.

This applies to much much more than your data, your phone, and your face.

You trust, even “respect” vultures, vampires, voyeurs, vipers, and vigilantes who employ “extrapolative connect-the-dots mind reading”, now CREEPING AROUND MY BACKDOOR !?

Which tax payer is guiltless here? You’ve done this to yourselves, authorizing TRILLIONS in spending…

Ted May 13, 2022 2:36 PM

@MikeA

”Do not pull vehicles over unless a legitimate law enforcement action exists”

Good thoughts on that bullet point. I’m glad I’m not a police officer. I might pull a driverless car over just because it looks so weird. I’m still startled by the driverless floor cleaning robots at our big box store.

@Gert-Jan

Say what? They don’t own the footage! That is, the owner of the car should own the footage.

I was just thinking, could the police request footage if the driverless vehicle is involved in an accident? You don’t know if warrants are public records do you? If not, Alphabet and GM should a least do some kind of transparency reporting on AV information requests.

XYZ May 13, 2022 3:22 PM

@JonKnowsNothing
Nearly ever car of this type, Tesla and others, are not “sold”, they are “leased”

? Looking at the title deed on a Tesla it seems ownership is not different from a Toyota

SpaceLifeForm May 13, 2022 3:24 PM

”Do not open the vehicle for non-emergency issues”

Think outside the box. Enhanced Summon. Spoofing.

Steve May 13, 2022 3:56 PM

@ted: “What in particular do you find curious about it?”

The light touch as opposed to a sometimes more heavy handed approach when it comes to some groups of citizens.

Clive Robinson May 13, 2022 5:59 PM

@ ForestRanger,

Re : seeing the Forest from the Trees ain’t easy

Your first statment of,

personal “Privacy” versus personal “Security” is the root issue here.

Is wrong, I think what you are actually thinking is,

‘”Personal-Privacy” versus “Societal-Security” is the fundemental issue”‘.

Otherwise what you go on to say about the “Societal-Guard-Labour” which most call the “Police” makes no sense.

Which brings us to,

which is a tradeoff with personal privacy and liberty.

I’m realy not sure you and I are using the same dictionary when it comes to the word “liberty”.

Peter S. Shenkin May 15, 2022 11:29 AM

I cannot understand how anyone can consider this unseemly or inappropriate in any way. Any surveillance method that is legal when carried out by human-driven vehicles is rather obviously legal when carried out by driverless cars.

Activities carried out in public carry no assumption of privacy. Plus, surveillance cameras in stationary positions are recording this sort of thing all the time.

Equally obviously, surveillance that is illegal if carried out by human-driven vehicles is still illegal if carried out by autonomous vehicles. For example, surveillance that requires a warrant.

JonKnowsNothing May 15, 2022 3:15 PM

@ Peter S. Shenkin, @All

re: I cannot understand how anyone can consider this unseemly or inappropriate in any way

There are a number of areas to consider and some have already been before the US Courts. Courts and laws in other countries will be facing similar concerns.

  • Mounted stationary video: Normally on private property, used by the owner-renter for personal security. (Ring, Mall Cams, Trail Cams)
  • Mounted stationary video: On public access paths and power poles, used by LEAs to record images for potential prosecution. (Red Light Cams, Cams mounted on utility poles in utility easements with the cam pointed at the home of a targeted person filming any actions within camera view: interior and exterior)
  • Moving cams: Normally by 3d Party MegaTech for the ostensible reason of updating GPS maps (Google Streeview 3D Map Cars, Google Drone Cams, Google Air Cams)
  • Moving cams: Mounted in Tow Trucks and Mechanical Towing Trucks used with License Plate Readers (LRP) and cross referenced in RT with stolen car or repo car lists to ID the car, follow the car and when the driver parks the car to Boot The Wheels and claim the car.
  • Moving cams: Mounted in police cars and Body Cams. To record legal interactions between LEAs and the Public.

It’s one more condition for surveillance.

The potential scope is large as there are many planned autonomous devices planned, often in the delivery industry, replacing Gig Workers with Robotic Workers. Those uses are in the public sphere.

It will boil down to Where You Pick Your Nose and on which films will it be recorded, and then if Picking Your Nose In Public or Picking Your Nose in Private are defined as illegal actions.

  JDoe-1…JDoe-9999: Arrested for egregious trophy hunting…

Clive Robinson May 16, 2022 2:56 AM

@ Peter S. Shenkin, JonKnowsNothing, All,

Activities carried out in public carry no assumption of privacy.

Actually they do.

It’s the LEO’s and Security Industry that are pushing the opposit and incorrect view.

The result if it is alowed to happen is the destruction of society as we currently know it.

Ask any person who lived in the old East Germany what 24×7 lack of privacy ment.

At least they had the advantage that mostly the surveillance was back then ephemeral as it was carried out by imperfect and thus limitied humans.

One of the reasons behind “record it all” is to “shift the tax base”. Governments are not raising taxes from large businesses, and increasing taxation on individuals in the lower 3/4rs of the personal tax payers is not practicle any longer.

With more and more corporates “off shoring” this is leaving a significant fall in tax revenue.

So what to do about it?

Well we’ve already seen it, with LEO’s getting “a percentage of the take” that is they get 20% or there abouts of any seizure or fines etc.

We are also seeing legislators increasing the number of “fine crimes” to assist the LEO’s in their money raising schemes…

As @JonKnowsNothing points out whilst it might not be a crime at the moment “picking your nose” may very soon become one of many “public disorder offences” if they can make money out of it.

It’s all part of society being pushed into “rent seeking” method of splitting the population back into the “old order” of “Estates of man” where the majority will not be alowed to own anything, but pay for everything. Call it neo-serfdom.

The stupid thing is that people will actually vote for it, as they are too dumb to realise that whilst the tag will be the usual “tough on crime” the “Make them pay” tag will actually be directed at those voting for the legislation, because they are where the money is…

Yes even the fatest of Turkeys will vote for Christmas if it’s sold to them with the right lies.

Winter May 16, 2022 4:39 AM

@Peter S. Shenkin, JonKnowsNothing, All,

Activities carried out in public carry no assumption of privacy.

That is a USA perspective. This does not hold in non-USA jurisdictions. An example would be publishing photographs of two persons meeting in a park. Or how Google Street-view was forced to remove all license plates and faces from their photographs.

For instance, the EU sees this differently from the USA:
ht-tps://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs/2021-2027/horizon/guidance/ethics-and-data-protection_he_en.pdf

[Box 4] Using ‘open source’ data The fact that some data are publicly available does not mean that there are no limits to their use.

On the contrary, if you take ‘open source’ personal data about identifiable persons and create new records or files/profiles, you are processing personal data about them and must have a lawful/legitimate basis for
doing so.

You must ensure that the data processing is fair to the data subject and that their fundamental rights are
respected.

If your research project uses data from social media networks and you do not intend to seek the data subjects’ explicit consent to the use of their data, you must assess whether those persons actually intended to make their information public (e.g. in the light of the privacy settings or limited audience to which the data
were made available).

It is not enough that the data be accessible; they must have been made public to the extent that the data subjects do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy. You must also ensure that your intended use of the data complies with any terms and conditions published by the data controller.

If you are in any doubt as to what you can and cannot do with this kind of data, you should seek advice from your DPO or a suitably qualified expert and include their opinion in your proposal.

For a more in depth analysis of the problems with expectation of privacy see:

Is Society More Reasonable than You?
The Reasonable Expectation of Privacy as a Criterion for Privacy Protection
ht-tps://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=116006

James Monroe May 16, 2022 2:34 PM

People are in the public, so they have no expectation of privacy. Now with that, the issue here would be: Is LE redirecting these vehicles into areas they would like to get surveillance on? At that point, it would be more akin to a drone or person surveilling a property, which has varying points of legality based on where they are at.

Clive Robinson May 16, 2022 5:00 PM

@ James Monroe, ALL,

People are in the public, so they have no expectation of privacy.

I do not know who brain washed you but you are wrong, very wrong.

Of course people have an expectation of,

1, Privacy
2, Ephemerality

In public places as you do as well, and it’s easy to demonstrate.

The restroom urinals are in a public space and in most places they are no enclosed in individual cubicles or stalls.

If you use one you do not expect someone to “look you over” nor do you expect them to use the equivalent of a concealed camera to record you and put it in a database along with other facts and figures about you to be sold or put out for public titilation at some point in the future.

I do not know why Americans have this stupidly naive notion that

“In Public = No Privacy”

It certainly did not originate with the founding fathers, who used to regard walking into a field as a place to achive privacy from eavesdropping and been over seen by others.

I just wish Americans would get it into their skull, that,

Loss of privacy in public places will destroy society as you currently know it.

In fact America is a “glowing example” akin to that of “nuclear fallout” of what happens as privacy in public is taken away. Yet most Americans trot along like “lambs to the slaughter” almost sleepwalking into the slaughter house.

Unless Americans “wake up” and start asserting their right to privacy then they will loose what they will find to late is the most important thing in their life, which is the freedom to be alone in one’s thoughts, writings, deeds, and interactions with others.

A lot of Americans in living memory fought for the right of “free association” the right to learn the right to be treated as equals…

Yet we get this mealy mouthed nonsense about “no expectation of privacy” pushed by those who seek to strip you of every right. They do this to make money, gain status, and worst of all gain control over others. They are selling and using technology that Stalin could only dream about and as it’s used bit by bit the society it is used upon will be destroyed.

For some reason I can not fathom too many Americans want to live in a 24×365.25 surveillance society. There is absolutly no evidence it will bring them safety or security or stop them being harmed. In fact the evidence is very much the opposit.

Well pardon the rest of the world being a little more alert and less naive to this nonsense, and insisting that we do have expectation of privacy in our activities in public. From simply walking from place to place, associating with others without fear to spend our money without knowledge of it being passed to others and having privacy in our medical and other personal records.

Many European and other Nations learned the hardway during what led upto and became World War Two and for decades aftarwards the danger of “recorded information” that alowed death, torture and worse to be used against people for “political reasons”. Yet North America appears to positively desire the prelued and one presumes the actual acts that follow…

JonKnowsNothing May 16, 2022 7:36 PM

@Clive, @All

re: I do not know why Americans have this stupidly naive notion that “In Public = No Privacy”

There are probably more reasons than the following:

A) When the USA was just another colony expected to fork over taxes to help fund wars between England and Europe, there existed a document called a General Warrant. In short, it allowed “others” to do whatever they wanted to you and your stuff and you couldn’t complain about it.

It’s one of the items listed in our early documents as being a No-No, however in the intervening years, LEAs et al, discovered just how useful such a document was and they have rebuilt it, line by line, concept by concept.

Every time one of the frogs begins to wiggle in the frying pan, they shout “Nothing to see Here, Move along” and if too many frogs begin to jump about, they trot out the “If we stop what we are doing and something bad happens, something catastrophic… ” story line.

Something perhaps noticed by other countries is the USA has a very short attention span. We like things wrapped up nice and tidy and everything back in place without too many distractions from the Sports News. So, the LEAs figured out that they could make a big hullabaloo about something, toss some patriotic bunting rolls about and convince 50+% of the population that “Fast Policing Saves The Day” and “Who Needs To Follow the Rules When There’s a Shoot Out At The OK Corral”.

So, the functions of General Warrants are B A C K but not necessarily under that name.

B) Perhaps more influential in modern times… iirc(badly) Mark Zuckerberg.

===

Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
General Warrant

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

  • The gunfight at the O.K. Corral was a thirty-second shootout between lawmen led by Virgil Earp and members of a loosely organized group of outlaws called the Cowboys that occurred at about 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, United States. It is generally regarded as the most famous shootout in the history of the American Old West.

Clive Robinson May 17, 2022 6:52 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

I’m not trying to appear snarki or anything like that, but at a very early age I got the impression US law and law enforcment was based on “Cowboy and indian” movies.

So in effect the “OK Corral” incident was the founding moment of US Style policing in US “cultural memory”. Confused in with “Lone Ranger” and similar as the “White Night” that rides in from fairytales.

It must be nearly fourty years ago I was first involved with US business via the petro-chem industry. One person I worked with who was nearing retirment back then and had worked in the US and with US businesses from the early 1940’s. He kind of acted as a mentor and he pointed out a few salient points to me. The most important was that America had no deep history, and that it was still a young and growing nation.

He would say that you would be hard pressed to find anything like a building three centuries old in America, something that is a common sight in most of Briton where in some places three or more millennia was not exactly uncommon. He pointed out that much of South London had hundreds if not thousands of houses and buildings still very much in use from the 1780’s onwards[1], that is earlier than most of the US. He sumed it up by saying that to most young kids in the US the oldest person they could name was probably “Billy the Kid” who had the equivalent folk law status as King Harold[2] or Robin Hood.

He pointed out that it was the reason the US criminal law was based broadly on English law, but US civil and business law was wildly different.

He also knew the truth behind what went on in Boston and why it was not what it was oft taught to be. He also had quite a bit of fun with the events of the US invasion of Canada in 1812, something that back then had been left out of both US and UK history teaching.

[1] I’d actually gone to a school that for a while had de-camped to older school buildings in Cheam on the edge of Nonsuch Park[3] in Surrey. The newest building in use was a “Civil Defence” mini bunker, the next oldest was a large WWII air raid shelter, and the oldest bits of building going back to before 1530. When young I thought Nonsuch House / Mansion was built by Henry VIII as part of Nonsuch Palace, it was not. The reason for my mistake is that it has the date 1543 inscribed foundation and some other stones and brick work taken from the remains of King Henry’s palace and was built in the same style. It was however built in the 1730’s and even though rebuilt in part in the early 1800’s. Later in life I had a girlfriend that lived in the old coach house in Hampton Court, that likewise was older than the most of the US.

[2] Harold Godwinson, Anglo-Saxon English King who alledgedly got an arrow in the eye at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

[3] Nonsuch Park was originally a very large place, and had many farms and villages in it. It’s history is very long and things “disappeared” in it some by design like Cuddington village and church that Henry VIII leveled, and some by nolonger being used getting grown over for two or three centuries and just forgotton.

My mother being a historian took quite a bit of interest in it and in the 1960’s and 1970’s she and I investigated some of the dark woods to find lost historical places including the gun powder mills at Ewell and the historic lime pits. In the case of one of the mills I literally tripped over the doorstep that was buried under decades of leafmould and such like, and clearing it away with grubby little fingers showed it to be a laid stone, rather than just a lump of rock. Back then fixing a location was actually quite hard especially if you could not see in a straight line for more than five to ten meters it ment taking the likes of “sun sights” over several periods of days.

JonKnowsNothing May 17, 2022 7:17 AM

@Clive

re: buildings three centuries old in America

Your friend was very perceptive with the caveat that the buildings were made by US businesses and construction.

I was totally shocked at how “old” the buildings were in Europe and not only were they old but people still lived in them and there were House Mortgages that were Generational (3 generations 99 years) to buy a place.

In the USA since WW2 when the GI bill flooded the country with money for WW2 veterans to buy homes on the cheap and pay for education on the cheap, the housing industry made a number of alterations to the Long Term Usage of Housing.

1) Nothing is built to last more than 45-50years
2) It’s cheaper to bulldoze it than repair it
3) Everything breaks in 10 years (white goods aka washers, ovens etc)
4) Cheapest is Bestest
5) Buy and Hold is bad economics
6) Buy, Sell, Resell, Churn every 3-7 years makes RE valuable
7) Specific Tax Benefits to both the building and buyer fuel the concept of home ownership
8) Marketing UpSelling of Bigger is Better means people “want” bigger house because that’s what TheOprahsHave
9) Why build small when you can make significantly more money from the same plot of land and a bit more in construction materials by building something 3x-5x bigger
10) Last Owners need to be pried from their homes by any means possible: reverse mortgages, forced sales by “care givers”, theft by “legal methods: power of attorney”. Last owners are people who do not plan to sell and buy another house.
11) Legal limitations and restrictions on the definition of “housing” restricts market competition.
12) The best place to build a subdivision is on Ag Lands, particularly orchards or row crops because a) the land is already level b) who cares about carrots when we can make more money by covering it over with asphalt and cement.

There are buildings many centuries old in the Americas but they are not build by the Colonial European diasporas or Modern Architectural Extravagance pass off as Elegance. They are still here and Seven-Deer showed when they were built (2,500yrs)(1).

===

1) Seven-Deer is a piece of plaster with that Mayan Glyph, found at the base of a temple complex. It is a date on the Mayan Calendar. There are buildings older but we cannot read the glyphes for those inscriptions.

MarkH May 18, 2022 12:04 AM

@Clive, re age of structures:

When I was a kid, I saw on the TV a stand-up comedian from Scotland. He said he was from Newbridge (which I take to be the village near Edinburgh), and that it had gotten its name from the construction there of a new bridge …

… many centuries ago, which got a good laugh from the U.S. audience.

He got an even better laugh, when he added that people were (as of about 1970) still using the old bridge the “new” bridge was intended to improve upon.

SpaceLifeForm May 18, 2022 1:37 AM

@ Clive

I have to apologize for parsing closely. But I am laughing.
I’m sorry, but tears funny to me.

Later in life I had a girlfriend that lived in the old coach house in Hampton Court, that likewise was older than the most of the US.

Winter May 18, 2022 2:11 AM

@JonKnowsNothing

I was totally shocked at how “old” the buildings were in Europe and not only were they old but people still lived in them

Makes sense. A house that still stands after a few centuries can be expected to withstand another century.

One of the places I worked was a 4 centuries old canal house. It was actually two houses combined. It’s interior reminded me of the old Labyrinth mythe. Even telling which floor you were on was tricky (elevators? You must be joking). It sold for $1M+ a decade ago. I am sure it will be $4M+ (or maybe double that) by now.

Clive Robinson May 18, 2022 5:04 AM

@ MarkH, ALL,

He said he was from Newbridge (which I take to be the village near Edinburgh)

Sounds about right… Back when working in the Petro-Chem industry when “Brent-Spar” went walk about, I had to visit it a couple of times.

It would once have been called a “one pub village” as it had less than a thousand inhabitants, in fact the Idustrial estate is about the same size as the village and there is an old dolamite quarry that is now flooded that is also about the same size. It’s famed for the Newbridge Chariot that got dug up there along with other signs that indicate humans have lived there for oh about 8500-9000 years one way or another and some jokes infer some are still living there on the local council.

Because as you would see from a map I would say it’s not in Edinburgh, more Edinburgh is growing out to meet it… As you might know Airports are placed ouutside of cities by about thirty miles well lets just say Newbridge is one of the best connected villiages, as it has more international flights a day than it does busses being less than a mile from the airport terminal…

The sort of place where if you are sitting in the pub garden you might get “blue ice”[1] in your drink. Kind of like under the Forth Rail Bridge where lumps of bridge get served for free to those beneath.

There are jokes about the A8 road having served it’s purpose in that all that are going to leave have now left. But the jokes about 10k year olds in local politics got raised again by the Edinburgh Tram debacle (worthy of several “How-NOT-To” posts on it’s own). After the original plans went from dual track from the airport right into the heart of Edinburgh went to single track just about on the outskirts, the question of what to do with the trams going back came up. Some dangerously liberal thinkers campaigned for the end of the tram line to come to Newbridge… This was not popular with the more conservative types still rumoured to live in “lean-to of stone” accomadation and secret hobbet hole like barrows… Let’s just say the lack of peace and harmony in the area is due to things other than aircraft a few hundred feet overhead. Uterly surprising is “new build housing” going up, some have plans to build a few houses and kind of tripple the population of Newbridge, if they can find enough deaf people to live in them… But with housing in Edinburgh costing more than in parts of London…

[1] Blue Ice also called a “Soft Body FOD” is a polite name for frozen water from aircraft that supposadly originates from the aircraft sanitation systems. It’s been rumoured for over four decades that aircraft toilets are a bit like those on old trains and boats, where the flush goes directly back to mother nature, and why you should not use them close to disembarkation points (the old “Please do not flush in the station” notices).

Clive Robinson May 18, 2022 5:31 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Re : But I am laughing.

Remember, I’ve been likened in the past to looking like an overly large Klingon with a Karl Marx beard and hair do, and a bullish temprament to suit. Not helped by photos of me running down a rugby pitch with people hanging off of me.

It’s rumored, that as long as I’m smiling a little… You might be safe 😉

But yeh the joys of the english language you can hide more in a single sentence than in a “dead dogs pelt” all waiting to jump out and bite you =(

You’ve heard about the “why of the six foot pole” caution, lets just say english needs an 18ft barge pole and then some.

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