Entries Tagged "cameras"

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Security Risks of Street Photography

Interesting article on the particular art form of street photography. One ominous paragraph:

More onerous are post-9/11 restrictions that have placed limits on photographing in public settings. Tucker has received e-mails from professionals detained by authorities for photographing bridges and elevated trains. “There are places where photographing people on the street may become illegal,” observes Westerbeck.

Sad.

Posted on July 13, 2005 at 8:38 AMView Comments

Surveillance Cameras and Terrorism

I was going to write something about the foolishness of adding cameras to public spaces as a response to terrorism threats, but Scott Henson said it already:

Homeland Security Ubermeister Michael Chertoff just told NBC’s Tim Russert on Meet the Press this morning that the United States should invest in “cameras and dogs” to protect subway, rail and bus transit systems from terrorist attacks.

B.S.

Surveillance cameras didn’t deter the terrorist attacks in London. They didn’t stop the courthouse killing spree in Atlanta. But they’re prone to abuse. And at the end of they day they don’t reduce crime.

Posted on July 12, 2005 at 8:13 AMView Comments

Speeding Ticket Avoidance

This is a very popular security-related field, and one that every driver is at least somewhat interested in.

This site is run by an ex-policeman, and feels authoritative. He places a lot of emphasis on education; installing a fancy radar detector isn’t doing to do much for you unless you know how to use it correctly.

Here’s a product that seems to counter the threat of aerial license-plate scanners.

This spray claims to make your license plate invisible to cameras. I have no idea if it works.

One final note: the ex-cop is offering a $5,000 reward for the first person who can point him to a passive laser jammer that works.

Posted on June 21, 2005 at 9:15 AMView Comments

Surveillance Cameras in U.S. Cities

From EPIC:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested more than $2 billion to finance grants to state and local governments for homeland security needs. Some of this money is being used by state and local governments to create networks of surveillance cameras to watch over the public in the streets, shopping centers, at airports and more. However, studies have found that such surveillance systems have little effect on crime, and that it is more effective to place more officers on the streets and improve lighting in high-crime areas. There are significant concerns about citizens’ privacy rights and misuse or abuse of the system. A professor at the University of Nevada at Reno has alleged that the university used a homeland security camera system to surreptitiously watch him after he filed a complaint alleging that the university abused its research animals. Also, British studies have found there is a significant danger of racial discrimination and stereotyping by those monitoring the cameras.

Posted on May 16, 2005 at 9:00 AMView Comments

License-Plate Scanning by Helicopter

From TheNewspaper.com:

The fictional police spy helicopter from the movie Blue Thunder is taking a big step toward becoming a reality. Police in the UK have successfully tested a 160 MPH helicopter that can read license plates from as much as 2,000 feet in the air. The Eurocopter EC135 is equipped with a camera capable of scanning 5 cars every second. Essex Police Inspector Paul Moor told the Daily Star newspaper: “This is all about denying criminals the use of the road. Using a number plate recognition camera from the air means crooks will have nowhere to hide.”

The use of Automated Plate Number Recognition (ANPR) is growing. ANPR devices photograph vehicles and then use optical character recognition to extract license plate numbers and match them with any selected databases. The devices use infrared sensors to avoid the need for a flash and to operate in all weather conditions.

This is an example of wholesale surveillance, and something I’ve written about before.

Of course, once the system is in place it will be used for privacy violations that we can’t even conceive of.

One of the companies that sells the camera scanning equipment touts it’s potential for marketing applications. “Once the number plate has been successfully ‘captured’ applications for it’s use are limited only by imagination and almost anything is possible,” Westminister International says on its website. UK police also envision a national database that holds time and location data on every vehicle scanned. “This data warehouse would also hold ANPR reads and hits as a further source of vehicle intelligence, providing great benefits to major crime and terrorism enquiries,” a Home Office proposal explains.

The only way to maintain security is not to field this sort of system in the first place.

Posted on April 15, 2005 at 12:10 PMView Comments

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.