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View Poll Results: What do you think?
Yes - to enhance safety 34 80.95%
No - intrusion of privacy 8 19.05%
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Old August 27th, 2005, 07:15 AM   #1
hkskyline
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MISC | Security on transportation

LA Transit Agency To Add Cameras On Subway, Train Cars
26 August 2005

LOS ANGELES (AP)--Los Angeles is beefing up security on its subways and trains.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has voted to spend nearly $7 million to put closed-circuit cameras on subway and train cars.

Surveillance cameras are already in place on buses and in stations. But the present ones aren't high-resolution and aren't always on.

The new pan-and-zoom cameras should be in service by the end of the year. They'll still have to be monitored, but planned upgrades will automatically flash a warning if a camera picks up anything suspicious.

The funding will also go toward developing anti-terrorism training.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 07:30 AM   #2
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They're fine...Brisbane has them on ALL trains and are being introduced onto buses.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 08:10 AM   #3
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It doesn't bother me because they're ONLY looking for suspicous activity, not looking for someone to date! Everyone has eyes and look at each other, just like they do on the cameras. We already have closed circuit cameras on buses in Seattle metro area, too.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 08:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoias
It doesn't bother me because they're ONLY looking for suspicous activity, not looking for someone to date! Everyone has eyes and look at each other, just like they do on the cameras. We already have closed circuit cameras on buses in Seattle metro area, too.
Do you have digital camera? I believe that you have it.

Oop... sorry for off topic thread.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 10:32 AM   #5
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Definitely, if it improves my safety. I'm not doing anything I don't want others to see anyway!
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Old August 27th, 2005, 11:54 AM   #6
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I don't understand what the privacy complaint is all about, it seems quite irrational.
When you're out in public, PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU, whether it's an eyeball or a camera makes no difference to me.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 01:43 PM   #7
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Yes, if the improve safety and security!
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Old August 27th, 2005, 02:28 PM   #8
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Those surveillance cameras usually record the videos for a couple of days. I think it's a good thing for improving safety. It's not an intrusion to privacy because nobody takes a look at those recordings unless there was a criminal incident.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 02:40 PM   #9
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If you have nothing to hide to the police, you won't have any problems with cameras...
But of course, if you had something to hide....
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Old August 27th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #10
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They have them on most London buses and some of the undergrond I think. I definetely think they should have them as it makes you feel safer and can catch criminals or assaults on people using public transport. They helped catch the 21/7 failed bombers.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mock
I don't understand what the privacy complaint is all about, it seems quite irrational.
When you're out in public, PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU, whether it's an eyeball or a camera makes no difference to me.

But people, unlike cameras, don't record you and then play it back and analyze every micromovement you make -- where your eyes were staring, whether you have picked your nose, or whether you fit the profile of the 10 most wanted list -- possibly for years afterwards.

They will have the tape and "prove" that you did such and such, but you will have no recollection of that event (because it is years afterwards, and because you didn't have a camera to counter their evidence). There may have been a perfect explanation for what you did (or who you were) and that, if the camera captured it from another angle, would clear you. But you have no camera, and you didn't install the camera angles, so they have a seemingly compelling piece of "evidence" but you don't have anything to back you up. Clearly, the power shifts towards the people who have the tape.

Remember, the idea is to have the cameras recording every action and then to have software to scan it for patterns automatically. The software part doesn't work very well yet but no doubt the software will get better.

The ultimate goal of using cameras "real-time recognition and enforcement action activation" or "terrorism or crime prevention" may be quite elusive, but in the meantime, the real goal is to take advantage of heightened public fear to push and condition the public to constant monitoring without having a proper debate about the consequences.

I don't want to feel like I am living in a fish bowl all my life with eyes staring at me from everywhere. If some people volunteer to be zoo animals on display, it's their choice. But I don't want to -- I consider it to be an affront.

But when the cameras are installed, I don't have a choice in the matter whatsoever. It is like the "voluntary" model for flight security inspection -- you don't have to be searched if you don't want to, but you won't be allowed to fly. In a modern society, not being allowed to fly is a major inconvenience if not outright impractical. So you cave in, and subject yourself "voluntarily" to the inspection, and delude yourself into thinking that "I am contributing to greater security", "I do nothing wrong and have nothing to hide and therefore it doesn't matter", etc. -- all the while ceding your personal power, freedom and dignity and allowing monitoring and intrusion to advance.

So what next -- implanted RFID tags to track where you are, to prove that you were nowhere near the murder scene, to prove to your wife that you were really not having an affair on your business trips?

In a climate of heightened exuberance or fear, it is great and easy to push through a political agenda that would otherwise not be possible. But that does not mean that it is a wise or desirable agenda. History shows that cycles ebb and flow, but once you have chosen certain policies or started to go down certain paths, it may be difficult or outright impossible to turn back the clock.

An extreme example is the nuclear bomb -- once the technology was developed and once it has been used, then it becomes difficult to stop and impossible to carry on in the world pretending and behaving as if such a thing has never existed.

So it is with security and shifting power between the citizen and the state. The current climate of fear and panic is not a good one to make and entrench such sweeping decisions.

Last edited by TO_Joe; August 27th, 2005 at 05:31 PM.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 09:57 PM   #12
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I doesn't bother me because I probably won't even notice it.
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Old August 28th, 2005, 04:12 AM   #13
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Philly needs them on the subways
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Old August 28th, 2005, 08:03 AM   #14
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how could it intrude your privacy? its called public for a reason, and wat can u be doing on a transit system thats so private?
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Old August 28th, 2005, 10:25 AM   #15
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i don't get the intrusion and privacy thing, i seriously don't get it....it's ridiculous that they think so.
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Old August 28th, 2005, 12:13 PM   #16
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Sorry TO Joe, your argument is unconvincing. Most of it seems to revolve around having something to hide and/or being paranoid that the "look" you gave to the guy across the train who was murdered 2 minutes later would land you in jail.
This is North America, not Soviet Russia. Courts need a bit more evidence than some vaguely suspicious gesture or some other thing on tape to convict you.
If you're not doing anything illegal in public, you have nothing to worry about. Simple as that.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 01:54 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mock
Sorry TO Joe, your argument is unconvincing. Most of it seems to revolve around having something to hide and/or being paranoid that the "look" you gave to the guy across the train who was murdered 2 minutes later would land you in jail.
This is North America, not Soviet Russia. Courts need a bit more evidence than some vaguely suspicious gesture or some other thing on tape to convict you.
If you're not doing anything illegal in public, you have nothing to worry about. Simple as that.
I don't have anything to hide but nor should I be presumed guilty. That is the basic point.

And I don't see what exact it is that is made safer -- the tens of thousands of cameras in London didn't prevent the attacks -- it only helped to track down and piece together the investigation afterwards (that is useful, I'll agree), and it also embarrassed the police and prevented the cover up over the shooting over the wrong Brazilian man (that is also useful too).

But at what price -- walking around in London, it is estimated that you are photographed over 300 times per day on average. That is definitely big brother surveillance society if you ask me. And London's crime rate is about the same as New York's with far fewer cameras -- so it is right to ask exactly what the benefits are with the cameras.

Privacy has value. The next time you find your credit card and driver license number floating or your picture floating around on the Internet, then the value of the loss of privacy becomes clear.

I am not fearful, paranoid, or so risk averse that I feel that I have to be "taken care of" by some paternalistic state -- I can take care of myself and I will take the punches as they come.

That is why I view privacy as such as a precious if highly intangible quality to protect, and I am loathe to cede any privacy unless an absolute need, efficacy and true collective benefit can be proven outweighing the cost.

As for trusting the government not to abuse increasing power granted to them through increased surveillance, I wouldn't take things entirely for granted. Just ask our fellow Canadian, Maher Arar.

Last edited by TO_Joe; August 29th, 2005 at 02:45 AM.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #18
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Actually London's crime is lower than New York - the murder rate is half that of New York's for a start and assault on London underground staff has reduced as the repeat offenders have been caught and sentenced using video footage - eye witness accounts can be manipulated by lawyers, but cameras can't . As have crimes and the catch-rate of low-high rate criminals.

Also the cameras were NEVER going to stop the bombings that requires previous intelligence (I think you are unsure in the basics of CCTV - they don't identify individuals, they comb the area). Several plots though have been averted (shooting down of planes, ricin attacks, etc...) primarily due to intelligence - CCTV allows suspects to be monitoried without risking endangering the lives of civillians. They would alert us though to who might have commited them and allowed us to track their movements going back through tapes to their location, other people they might have contacted and their movements. Also where is the evidence to suggest that they have been used to aid say criminals?

Also in the UK you are innocent until proven otherwise - same with CCTV.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 04:03 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick-taylor
Actually London's crime is lower than New York - the murder rate is half that of New York's for a start and assault on London underground staff has reduced as the repeat offenders have been caught and sentenced using video footage - eye witness accounts can be manipulated by lawyers, but cameras can't . As have crimes and the catch-rate of low-high rate criminals.

Also the cameras were NEVER going to stop the bombings that requires previous intelligence (I think you are unsure in the basics of CCTV - they don't identify individuals, they comb the area). Several plots though have been averted (shooting down of planes, ricin attacks, etc...) primarily due to intelligence - CCTV allows suspects to be monitoried without risking endangering the lives of civillians. They would alert us though to who might have commited them and allowed us to track their movements going back through tapes to their location, other people they might have contacted and their movements. Also where is the evidence to suggest that they have been used to aid say criminals?

Also in the UK you are innocent until proven otherwise - same with CCTV.
1. I fully understand how the current generation CCTV and monitoring works and the requirements of human monitoring and what they are monitoring for.

But also consider how CCTVs are evolving -- face scanning and pattern recognition in real time. They tried a test in 2002 Superbowl in the US (and there are tests at various airports in the US); some of the analysis of the London bombings were automated (though it didn't work very well -- early generations of software).

I won't get into a debate about the nuances of crime statistics and enforcement policies -- that will take up an entire thread.

But I will point out one thing: If CCTV chills criminal behaviour, why won't it have an effect on other non-criminal behaviour (e.g., affectionate couple holding hands and kissing, etc.)? There is evidence to suggest that CCTVs chill this as well. And if CCTVs are so effective, then why isn't the crime rate much lower (or at least street crime).

2. Embarrassing leaks of CCTV abuse / inappropriate pictures appear regularly. One documentary I watched showed a bored London police operator turning the camera and zooming into a woman's apartment as she was undressing (CCTV monitoring, like any other "guard" job, is incredibly boring).

The entire Brazilian guy shot mistakenly in London affair shows how the CCTV images could be leaked to the media -- by whom and for what motive I am not entirely sure.

If these images can be leaked or can find its way to the public (and these are just some the ones I am aware of), then what else can happen? Nothing is ever "leak proof" -- ask anyone who has ever worked in the government.

And here we are talking about mass deployment of CCTV in transit -- many of these are not government entities or subject to internal government information controls.

3. The point remains: if we agree to cameras, we are ceding privacy and we are ceding person power.

Everyone is currently enthusiastic about "safety, safety, safety" and are screaming "protect me, protect me, protect me". And the unspoken premise behind all this is "trust the state, trust the state, trust the state (or at least western ones)".

No one talks about the price of it all -- the counterarguments are either automatically dismissed or is countered in coercive tones like "if you ain't got nothin' to hide...".

That to me is a hallmark of an emotion reaction with little proper debate. That alone suggests we should slow down, take a deep breath, and another sober look.

Last edited by TO_Joe; August 29th, 2005 at 04:26 PM.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 04:44 PM   #20
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But you confusing between someone raping/stealing/murdering and innocent couples kissing. The later is not and will never be a criminal offence. Also crime levels are lower - specifically in the violent offences area, ie rape, murder, etc. Also they help with investigations, less people who are innocent need to be brought in for question in the mistaken belief that they were involved. CCTV footage can also provide evidence for innocent people if anything was to come to court - it is another proof of their wearabouts other than word of mouth.

I somehow doubt a CCTV operator would just pan into peoples apartments. Also what was the name of the documentary - never heard of anything like it myself.

Of course nothing is leak proof but we don't live in a utopia where there is no crime. There has to be a balance between freedoms and security and currently the situation is about right. Fact of the matter is, they have aided in cutting crime by catching the whereabouts of suspects. They also act as a prevention when there is not the resources to continually have officers on the street.

Also if you have nothing to hide then there should be nothing to worry about! That is a fact and the only way you could argue against it is if you are either paranoid or have committing something wrong.
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