I think most people understand this concept at some level. This describes the same fundamental pattern as undercover officers and informants: a suspect is identified and assets allocated to the project of going after that person or organization. The scary thing isn't so much that surveillance tech exists, but rather the prospect of law enforcement (or others who can obtain access to their systems by various means) being able to select targets after-the-fact at little additional cost because of indiscriminate surveillance.
I speculate it has to do with police influence on the writing of laws.
Also this: https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780128028254/anabolic-st...
Chapter 3 has a lovely abstract:
The anabolic steroid abuse problem within law enforcement is straightforward. Police culture embraces images of aggression and masculinity, serving up both institutional and social rewards for those that conform. Denying this reality is not reasonable. Anabolic steroids help provide an easy path to those short-term rewards. However, these rewards are temporary, high risk, and illegal. Additionally, as with any form of illegal drug use, it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Anabolic steroid abuse requires committing any number of crimes and direct association with other criminals — including those who deal other illegal drugs.
Law enforcement has a professional obligation to public safety that includes employing and deploying only those officers that are fit for duty. It is not possible to use anabolic steroids and also maintain psychological or character-related fitness for duty. However, because of related performance- and image-enhancing benefits, in combination with ignorance of the law, anabolic steroid abuse is tolerated by some public safety agencies and many in the legal community. This short-sighted approach, which amounts to the burying of heads in the sand, ensures that harm will be caused and that legal liability will be incurred.
Is that actually true? I was under the impression that you could find a doctor that would prescribe them to you. Not the case with, say, cocaine.
Uveitis, Grave’s disease, gout, alopecia, systemic vasculitis & giant cell arteritis are some other viable reasons for being prescribed steroids.
Thr authors list the risk factors: employment as nightclub bouncer, professional male dancer, professional wrestler, or law enforcement officer. BMJ is highly reputable.
So the reason smalltown police act like BOPE in Rio is that they want to look buff like a male stripper! They don't want to be the arm of the law, such work is dirty, boring and tedious, their goal is to look sexy with their guns, their kink escaped from the bedroom into the streets!
No wonder that they have a recruitment problem, regular people won't join Anabolics Anonymous, only slightly troubled weirdos and high school bullies will come. It makes you very pessimistic about police violence and proper discipline in the force, they won't ever improve unless they solve their drug abuse problem first.
I certainly doubted the 'most' part of that statement but after looking into it, it really does seem like there is a problem with steroids and the police. Potentially still not 'most' police but certainly enough that it's an issue.
What made me even more angry then however was the fake camaraderie LEOs associations showed when protecting their colleagues; that's not camaraderie, that's collusion plain and simple, which is probably even worse than having the brain f'ed up by hormones.
No need to invent anabolic steroids as a cause.It's not like these things didn't exist before steroids were available.
And at least one book has been written on the topic.
Moreover, it's intellectually lazy: I could ask for sources after anything anyone says, ever. How does that advance any situation? Can you imagine the tone of those conversations?
Naturally, sometimes it's genuine curiosity. You can usually tell from the way it's phrased. "This isn't true. Do you have a source?" is not it.
But even in that case, I genuinely suggest people to take all of three seconds to type the keywords into Google. It's about as quick as typing that reply, and it frees up the comment section like a quick vick's vapo rub.
The original poster already went through the trouble of sharing the comment, and, presumably, their experience with it. The least you can do is help.
While that is a serious invasion of privacy, there is a far more critical issue of using this technology to suppress and abuse political enemies or those who are unable to defend themselves (minorities, undocumented people, the poor, etc.).
This seems like a bizarre way of thinking, that crimes should only be punished if the criminal happens to be caught in the act, or if law enforcement follows a trail of breadcrumbs involving unreliable eyewitness accounts and scraps of evidence.
How many people have been wrongfully convicted because the police needed to get the crime off the books, or evidence was misleading, or eyewitnesses gave false testimony?
You speak as if it's a forgone conclusion that this is the way things should be, but what's the basis?
Before any technology or policy is used, it first needs to be considered as a weapon, because the historical record shows that this is how powerful tools end up being used regardless of how they were intended to be used. Denying law enforcement any evidence that doesn't meet specific standards isn't the way it "should be", it's the least worst way we know of having functional law enforcement without letting it devolve into various types of oppressive police states.
> what's the basis?
"Innocent until proven guilty."
Whose innocence being questioned here? The quote is a non-sequitur in this context, unless you consider "being on camera" a punishment reserved for the guilty. I have bad news for you, if you've ever set foot inside a supermarket, drugstore, fast-food restaurant, corporate office, etc.
All of which require a warrant before they can be used as evidence against you.
You're conflating private recordings that are not generally available to the enforcement power of the state with the state regularly gathering evidence against you without cause. The entire point of "innocent until proven guilty" is that there must be an established due process of law in the application of the power of the state.
For supermarket cameras, that's the warrant requirement before police can look at the recording, which creates a legal paper trail documenting their justification for needing to see the recording (which can be challenged later in court), and limits the scope of seized recordings to those at lest theoretically involved with a specific incident.
If you are talking about the US, I think you are mistaken. While a warrant would usually be required to compel the store to provide the videotape to the police against their will, the store can always choose to provide it voluntarily. Once the prosecution has a copy of the video, they can use it as evidence whether or not there was a warrant.
Only if law enforcement wants to seize them. If the owner or representative of the business shares them no warrant is needed.
Some UK highways have so many speed cameras now that enforcement is close to 100%. Drivers complain, but they mostly obey the limits.
This is just an example, but improving the accuracy and coverage of surveillance materially changes the situation that the laws we're created in, in the first place
100% compliance of laws in a population of millions increases costs astronomicaly.
Assuming you are involved in building software if you are in, imagine it this way. It the difference in cost between Google garunteeing they have a 99.5% uptime vs Google garunteeing they have 100% uptime on a service.
That small difference in uptime percentage would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and Foogle is not even close to a national scale
Most of them deliberately over-report by about 8%. You can check this by comparing your car's indicated speed to the speed shown on your satnav.
Do you have a better example?
If you guys are going to harp on speeding cameras existing as well to invalidate the argument, how do you handle the fact that they have been shown to increase accident rates and many communities have pushed to get rid of them as a result?
> Red light cameras or speeding cameras on a few areas !== all encompassing surveillance that implements 100% compliance with the laws.
Who said there would be all-encompassing surveillance, or that 100% compliance with the laws would be enforced? That's a straw man that you created.
There are numerous cases where people have been wrongfully convicted even though the police and the prosecutors had evidence indicating that they were innocent. This is especially true for prosecutors, and has been hashed out so many times I won't even bother linking to any specific article - just google for "prosecutor withheld evidence of innocence", and read a couple of stories that pop up in search results. Worse yet, the American legal system refuses to acknowledge this practice as unequivocally wrong and a miscarriage of justice
Just because fraud exists, this does not mean street crime does not exist. What a strange argument.
Your argument is that if cameras don't help with fraud or wage theft or domestic violence, they serve no purpose.
Cameras may impact street crime, and street crime is rampant in many U.S. cities. White collar crime has no bearing on this, and it's irrelevant to the discussion.
Is it a bad thing though? Imagine that everything on all streets is recorded, and when an incident happens a cop goes to the judge and asks for a warrant to view the footage for "Pike St, between 1st and 2nd ave, between 13:00 and 13:35, on Jan 3rd 2019".
Technology changes the balance of power in different directions. The police used to be able to tap phones, but now whatsapp is pretty much out of reach, this hampers one of the venues. To keep up the police would need new methods, and it does not have to be phone intercept, maybe post-factum external surveillance would suffice.
That can't be why it's bad.
Because all power can be abused selectively.
The laws were written assuming that they wouldn't be perfectly enforced. We'd never have consented to many of them if we knew they'd be 100% enforced.
Increasing surveillance is a back-door in democracy that grants the government new powers w/o going through the legislature.
I think a lot of people forget what this means.
It isn't just domestic influence. It is foreign influence too. I'm sure (close to) everyone on HN realizes there is nothing that isn't hackable.
Domestic influence also includes malicious people, not just governments. You're telling me that this system isn't going to be exploited? That stalkers aren't going to use it? That syndicates aren't going to use it to track adversaries?
You're going to have a hard time convincing me that these perform more good than bad. That's even without the overhead for abuse by people that have legitimate access to these streams.
I don't like talking about our own government abusing its powers. Though it has, people seem to be complacent with this. But there is also just as serious of a threat from foreign powers and domestic criminals. Why isn't this also talked about?
It almost seems like that since it is not discussed, it is not important and as such it is not relevant enough to be discussed. Sort of Catch 22, I suppose.
I just don't think they think about it. At least from my experience talking to people in different agencies. There job is to catch people. So encryption is a barrier to them in that respect, so that's how they frame it. But they don't connect all the benefits that they themselves get from it because it isn't obvious. Most people don't realize when things are encrypted because a lot of times it is the norm.
Similarly I think people don't think about privacy in general because how it is framed. We are coming from a world where privacy was the norm. It is all about how the discussion is framed. We constantly talk about how encryption is a hindrance to police. About how more surveillance can help us catch criminals. And all this is true! But few people talk about the drawbacks (except specifically government overreach, but we're in a country where people trust the government). But you can't make informed decisions that way. You need to know both sides. Benefits AND detriments.
Arguably they would have an easier time with cameras in both laptops and cellphones.
Times change with technology, whether we like it or not. Thankfully, laws can adapt too.
The law can raise the bar for obtaining a warrant to an arbitrarily high level to cover minor daily infractions. For example, today police aren't allowed to stop a person for driving without a seatbelt, unless a more serious crime is being committed at the same time.
Search warrant requests rarely get denied, often the approving Judge isn't even capable of understanding the probable cause argument in the warrant (particularly in cases involving technology)
They rely solely on the sworn statement of the police office 'your affiant' and a rubber-stamp from the local State Attorney's office.
There is little incentive for the judge to deny the warrant, and, could face significant backlash if they do deny a warrant that may have enabled law enforcement to stop something from happening.
LEO would simply draft a warrant 'Your affiant has been in law enforcement for 25 years and has taken this training class and that training class and has this certification. Your affiant knows from his training and experience that a crime happened or likely happened at this date and time. Your affiant requests all video for the time period of 7 days from cameras 1472 - 1499 which cover a 2000ft section of Rodeo Dr.'
The warrant gets rubber-stamp approved, and, even if they don't find what they were looking for, they can single out anything of which the 'incriminating nature is readily apparent' that they observe, and go after that. And that 'incriminating nature is readily apparent' bar is pretty low and generally subjective based on the officer, or 'a reasonable person'.
How well has this 'dragnet surveillance' worked out in the FISA court? A system like this would be ripe for abuse. And what about securing it? So far our government has a pretty crappy track record for securing even info that is classified and top secret. How secure would this dragnet video surveillance be?
Still, one of the things to keep in mind about mass surveillance (or mass censorship) is that once the apparatus is built, policy can be changed relatively cheaply. And it's highly unlikely that law enforcement agencies are buying equipment that requires configuration changes to be signed by a court's or legislature's private key.
I don’t think these cameras require a warrant prior to “collection”. That’s the problem.
And before they were able to tap phones, a lot more conversations were person-to-person, and also out of reach in practice. So it was a venue that technological progress created, and further technological progress later took away. Why should we implicitly assume that its existence was a good thing?
1. No phones, no whatsapp. Criminal talk in person, police eavesdrop in person. Parity.
2. Phones, no whatsapp. Criminals talk on the phone, police eavesdrop on the phone. Parity.
3. No phones, whatsapp. Criminals talk on whatsapp, police eavesdrop in person. Imbalance.
Recommended solution to imbalance: counteract technological barrier with a different application of similar technology. E.g. dragnet video recording.
Listening devices have long been a staple of the police. The FBI took out many a mobster with a bug in a lampshade, say.
You don't need anything flying to do that. The location of evert cell phone is already tracked both by the phone's telemetry and deduction based on tower usage.
If there's "no expectation of privacy", surely nobody has any right to complain about it?
Whose property will the cameras be attached to? They will certainly have a right to remove them if they did not give permission.
I'm sure some already do.
Audio is rife with complications.
That's why discussions about privacy, surveillance and ethics are best had in a context where their significance is not diluted by conflicting personal interests. Posting about these issues is tech communities is like asking individuals rushing to the gold rush with dreams of riches to inquire about their thoughts on democracy. Pointless.
Individual US citizens are tightly restricted in what they can record and how they declare those recordings to targets, surely the state (without judicial wire tap authorization warrants about specific targets) should be in the same boat?
In Seattle area there was a story recently where police accidentally recorded audio along with video during a prostitution sting operation and had to drop the charges against the affected suspects. My guess is that they thought they only needed the video to convict, so they decided to not get the wiretap warrant
> “It basically has the ability to turn every streetlight into a surveillance device, which is very Orwellian to say the least,” Marlow told Quartz. “In most jurisdictions, the local police or department of public works are authorized to make these decisions unilaterally and in secret. There’s no public debate or oversight.”
Well there goes down the toilet all the sanctimony over Chinese street surveillance, when you realize they are merely more open and unapologetic about it.
It's not impossible to figure out, though, is it?
The article talks about a total of $50,000 of cameras. It mentions that these are pan-tilt-zoom cameras. Pricing this on Amazon, they seem to cost about $250 each. Assume the government pays twice as much. This tells you that they bought about 100 cameras.
There could be other suppliers.
And presumably large orders get bulk discounts.
What are the cartels thinking? Probably that they’ll just have to pay informats more money as the system becomes more complex. They’ll have to pay their tech people more for increased counter surveillance. And so forth.
I’m picking on the DEA but of course similar equations must exist for ICE.
What’s so dystopian about all this is not so much that the tech exists but that our tax dollars pay for these projects and we really don’t have much say.
Back of the envelope math shows that they can't be installed everywhere; not on that kind of budget. The only thing that one could do with 10-1000 cameras is install them at specific, targeted places where the DEA already has some reason to suspect that they'll find something.
>IMO What’s so dystopian about all this is not so much that the tech exists but that our tax dollars pay for these projects and we really don’t have much say.
I don't agree. Spending is controlled by Congress. If you and enough people who agreed with you combined your efforts, you could alter the law so that the purchase of this sort of technology was illegal. Perhaps you hold an opinion that only a minority of America agrees with.
If everybody movements are tracked, indexed and published on the Internet where people can look you up, is that acceptable?
If all our conversations are treated in the same way?
At what point the panopticon becomes incompatible with democracy and freedom?
This is in violation of HN guideline: "Don't be snarky" 
> Be civil. Don't say things you wouldn't say face-to-face.
> Don't be snarky. Comments should get more civil and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive.
In your case, you accused your parent poster of not thinking critically, instead of constructively saying "hey, here's a nuance of this issue that you may be missing".
Have you considered not being rude and insulting?
People who think critically about surveillance have a wide range of views on the topic.
I'm sorry you feel that way, I didn't mean for you to feel insulted.
>People who think critically about surveillance have a wide range of views on the topic.
Reciting the law is an act of recall, not exposition.
First off, this has to be some sort of stir the pot article. They spent ~50k... Think about that.
Beyond that I live in Houston. We have had cameras at intersections forever now. I am not sure they would need to conceal them when they already have them in plain sight in many cities.
That said, we do have a lot of "traffic cameras" mounted on poles, which presumably do record 24/7 and are archived for some period of time.
The police also use them as a time indexed source of evidence that can help stitch a timeline of events filmed on random security cameras. I know because they presented that in a case I was a juror on.
If an LED light is expected to be in the field of view they install diffusers over LEDs. Diffusers, however, absorb some of the light and spread the rest across wider angle, so they don't get installed unless needed. For the street light you'd want a narrow beam (facing straight down) and a maximum light output (to save energy along, which adds up quickly for long roads).
Assuming blue light is damaging, white LEDs need not have more blue in their spectrum than other white light sources such as incandescent, fluorescent, and gas discharge. Higher color temperate LEDs with more blue in their spectrum are commonly seen though, as their efficiency numbers are a bit better than lower color temperatures.