On a night out in a city, myself and my friend were walking home from a club about 3.30am. We were joking about me being from the North and him being southern (a common UK joke), this was unfortunately overheard by someone nearby who took it personally and started punching my friend in the head, I managed to break it up and the other chaps mates pulled him away as his was rather inebriated. A girl nearby ran over after seeing this and called the police and within a minute a police officer had arrived - the most interesting and relevant part was that the officer had been dispatached by CCTV operators who had seen the whole incident. The policeman was being relayed that the perpetrator had been already arrested by a colleague down the street (after CCTV identified him), the officer with us knew it was an unprovoked attack as the CCTV operator saw at no point did we interact with the assailant, so treated us with respect and started explaining the options for prosecution.
I appreciate the flip side of the coin but personally now feel much safer when in an area with CCTV.
Unfortunately, our society, where people can be denied tourist visas or arrested because of twitter jokes, where pregnant women can be charged with attempted murder (of the unborn baby) for falling down the stairs, where police can enter homes to remove "illegal" advertisement on your window or to arrest your 12 year old daughter who was downloading movies, is not sensible.
Also, as someone who lives in Chicago, I can tell you that a lot of crime is caught on tape, but only crime that is politically convenient for the police to go after. There's no shortage of stories of homeowners or landlords with videos of vandals and robbers only to be told to piss off. The police don't want to mess with the gangs unless they have to or it looks bad if there are too many minority arrests that month.
It seems the surveillance state is more often used against us than for us for a variety of reasons, mostly due to corruption, which we still don't have a fix for. In some weird way it has empowered the criminals, because it's a long way with lots of roadblocks from a face on tape to an actual arrest. We put up cameras instead of tall gates and guard dogs or gun ownership and think we're safe. We're not.
Not to mention, the criminals aren't stupid. They pull a hoodie down over their face as much as they can, and in the dark, can't be identified on tape. All the success stories I've heard seem to focused on crazies and idiots who more or less would have been caught with old fashioned police work. Holding up footage as the be and end all of police work really just empowers the worst kinds of people in law enforcement and fools the electorate into handing over powers that law enforcement has historically been shown to be irresponsible with. I just read that the PATRIOT ACT is now used on drug offenders. The slippery slope in unfortunately real in this case.
There is no fix for "corruption".
Imagine there's a ruler with only one subject. Would someone inevitably ask him for a favour? "Could you have your peon mow my lawn? -I'll buy you a beer some time!"
Would the ruler want more subjects? -Of course! It just means more benefits for him, more opportunities for making money at his subjects' expense! The possibilities are limitless!
Now take a bunch of rulers with 320 million subjects. Would Comcast ask them to make it difficult to compete with them? Competition is bothersome you know. It forces you to provide better quality at lower prices, even though you'd much rather just fleece a captive audience!
"Corruption" is a bit of a misnomer. It sounds like something is wrong, but actually it's just an element of a system with rulers and subjects working as intended.
> There's no shortage of stories of homeowners or landlords with videos of vandals and robbers only to be told to piss off. The police don't want to mess with the gangs unless they have to or it looks bad if there are too many minority arrests that month.
You're seeing another aspect of the system working as intended.
If you're a ruler, do you really care about your subjects' well-being? -Of course not. You'll pretend you do because you need them to refrain from overthrowing you, but your subjects are just tools to you.
Your "Royal Guard" (=the police) are meant to protect your power and to enforce your edicts, not to help your subjects. They behave accordingly.
> There is no fix for "corruption".
But not the whole truth, as the West is far less corrupt than, say, Bangladesh. We're under the impression that it's all because of our political systems and so are eager to teach the rest of the world Political Science 101 at gunpoint, convinced that if they only understood then they'd all be liberal democracies. But it's not their understanding of game theory that's flawed, it's ours.
As we've found out, it's not just a systems problem. Western Civilization? We didn't build that. There is, at least, a lot of residual faith in institutions built up over the last 800 years ago. And also some unabashed patriotism---the quiet kind that has you pay your taxes fully when you could perhaps pay a bit less and get away with it.
The current degree and overtness of corruption in a particular area is completely irrelevant. The point is the very nature of political power: Its only use case is to gain at other people's expense.
That's it. Political power implies intervention in what people would otherwise do in their mutually beneficial, voluntary exchanges and arrangements.
Want to charge a fee for driving people from A to B? -You have to get a $X-hundred-thousand license to do that. If you don't, you will be punished, by force if "necessary". Who benefits? -The state-supported taxi cartel of course: now their drivers are debt slaves and profit margins remain higher than otherwise.
Note all those foreign governments protecting their taxi-cartel buddies from Uber.
Rulers want subjects because they benefit from them. Subjects are resources, like human livestock to be milked. And oh boy, milk us they do.
Sorry but I'm not sure how to address the rest of your post. Feel free to ask something or make some specific claims.
If only they understood that! That would not be the worst case( http://unqualifiedreservations.wordpress.com/2007/05/20/the-...)
>That's it. Political power implies intervention in what people would otherwise do in their mutually beneficial, voluntary exchanges and arrangements.
Remember, though, that not all voluntary exchanges and agreements are mutually beneficial (paycheck advances); or if they are, there may be an unknowing third party suffering some nasty externalities (I will sell you an extra-polluting car for only $1000!). Is this not a non-exploitive use case?
Please make a specific claim. I don't know how to address the nonsense you linked to.
> Remember, though, that not all voluntary exchanges and agreements are mutually beneficial
They are, to both parties involved in them. Otherwise they wouldn't go through with the exchanges, assuming no coercion of course.
> there may be an unknowing third party suffering some nasty externalities (I will sell you an extra-polluting car for only $1000!). Is this not a non-exploitive use case?
If you sell me an extra-polluting car, you're not exploiting anyone. I value the car higher than the money I'm parting with, because otherwise I wouldn't buy it.
Well, in Nofunspeak: People take care of the things they own. Cows have done pretty damn well considering their spot in the food chain. Much better than, say, tyrannosaurs or Bengal tigers. Were I reincarnated and given the choice between a cow and a tiger, would I pick the cow? Of course not. But realistically (I use the term loosely given that we are talking about reincarnation), the tigers would all have been taken by nobler and more deserving souls than I, and I would have the dilemma of, say, a cow and a flea. Ah, I forgot: this is nofunspeak. So: tigers are independent, fear-no-man humans innately sovereign, cows are their slaves, employees, mistresses, and children, and fleas are property of the horror-state that would be erected if the real estate were not currently occupied (this is likely to be our point of supreme contention, which I must confess boggles my mind. It seems perfectly obvious that states of some kind are a naturally occuring phenomenon. I mean, they're all over the place. It also seems obvious that they are easier to get wrong than right. If only the criminals are allowed to set up states, all the states will be run by criminals.) Or, in today's boredom-state: tigers are whoever you think of as bogeymen, cows are the virtuous economic producers industrially farming their villes, and fleas are their unkempt IT guys, anarchist commune residents, and (shudder) idealist college students (Reader's note: I have been all three of these at some point in my life, so I have some flea cred).
Shall we aphorize? Who is more free, my dog that's dumb as a rock and I don't allow off my property, or the dead one euthanized as a puppy because I didn't adopt it? I mean, the second one can sit on whatever dog heaven couches it wants, but this seems small consolation.
Now at this point it must be addressed: yes, my dog, by rights, ought to be allowed to fulfil her noble duty of guarding Tibetan shrines. It's good for Lhasa Apso health, according to that article in Nature. But didn't we go over this? In our bleak world, there are not many shrine-guarding, tiger, or free-from-political-power spots left.
Clearly I am treading in moral gray area, because I am contradicting the central dogma of the (world-wide! Tip your local Peace Corps Rep!) American religion, which is freedom ueber allen. Choice, man! But I have just demonstrated a scenario that is beneficial enough that both parties would voluntarily agree to it (cow doesn't get eaten by wolves, human gets milk), but limits the freedom of one party. Behold! Political power, ex nihilo! And so we see that choice is very easy to lose: give everyone the same amount today, and tomorrow most of it will be in the hands of a few. This makes voluntary beneficial exchanges rather tricky. Of course you could periodically reset the amount of choice people had, perhaps by cancelling contracts (Jubilee!), but that reeks of rules, and political power.
And as for the car: you and I may be happy, but Joe down the street has to breathe the same air. Was our exchange beneficial for him?
As for most of the rest, I don't want to fish for meaning in a pond of analogies.
I found something that's actually addressable though:
> It seems perfectly obvious that states of some kind are a naturally occuring phenomenon.
Yes, in the sense that psychopaths have existed for ages, have always wanted power over other people, and have always been exceptionally good at manipulating people to get it.
> It also seems obvious that they are easier to get wrong than right.
Oh they're functioning perfectly well. In other words, they've been "gotten right". It's just that their purpose is not what we imagine. It's not to "maintain order" or to "protect our rights" or other brainwashospeak people spout.
Nation-states are a vehicle for a small elite to exploit everyone else.
> If only the criminals are allowed to set up states, all the states will be run by criminals.
If most people are evil, then they clearly can't be allowed to rule over others.
If only a small percentage of people are evil, then states are a bad idea because they'll be run by the power-hungry evil minority. Strangely enough, our governments are run by psychopaths.
> And as for the car: you and I may be happy, but Joe down the street has to breathe the same air. Was our exchange beneficial for him?
I haven't claimed anything about Joe. Do you want to make a claim about voluntary exchanges, based on what happens to Joe?
On a related note, if you've ever bought a pair of sneakers, you've motivated China (etc) to cause externalities. Was it immoral for you to buy sneakers?
There is no fix for anything by that reasoning; we'll always have illness, accidents, crime, and browser crashes. We can improve those things significantly though, and we have and we can improve corruption.
Well, the fix for corruption is for no one to have political power. Would you say the fix for illness is to be dead?
Again, I consider this quite a stretch of your vision. But, imagine having supervision include things such as:
- ...Vehicle sensors. Exceeding the speed limit, making an illegal turn, failure to maintain safe distance, littering or any other violation automatically relays infraction details to relevant government agency and ticket is automatically issued
- Direct supervision of every trade (whether monetary or barter) for taxation and violation purposes
- Supervision of normally private / personal (i.e., at home) things for medical, safety and potential criminal behavior
I am not sure where the line should be drawn, but I would not feel comfortable with pervasive, unlimited supervision.
35,000 people die every year on our streets because of careless driving. There's no right to privacy in what you do in public that endangers the lives everyone around you.
Killing a cityfull of innocent people every year is not some kind of civil right.
People who can't drive safely and within the law don't have to drive at all. Those who do have a responsibility to comply with public safety measures, including traffic laws and enforcement tracking. It makes little difference if that means cops or electronic tracking, except that electronic tracking can do a better job keeping us safe.
"supervision of every trade (whether monetary or barter) for taxation"
I don't know why you're shilling for tax evasion, either. And I'm a libertarian: I don't like the taxes, but that's no excuse to cheat while they're still the law.
"People who can't drive safely" and people who can't drive "within the law" are two separate groups with limited overlap. And I 100% reject to your idea that they "don't have to drive at all." Driving is a necessity. (And if it isn't, let's get those idiot drivers off the road...)
Complying with "public safety measures" is not the same as driving safely. Everyone has a responsibility to do the latter and should not be penalized for it for not doing the former. I keep away from other cars and stay with the flow of traffic. That makes me a safer driver (even if traffic is doing 5-10 mph over the limit) than the guys who drive right next to each other doing the speed limit or less.
Electronic tracking doesn't keep us safer. Case in point: The shortening of yellow light timings beyond legal limits in order to increase revenues from red light cameras.
And even those red light cameras we have now have humans making all the decisions. I've triggered those cameras many, many times while making perfectly legal right turns on red.
All, one-up that one. How about someone merging into a 60 to 70 mph highway flow at 40 mph with three cars behind him that also need to merge and are now stuck behind someone creating an incredibly dangerous situation because they are (conjecture) afraid of the accelerator. I have see potentially horrific situations just like the one I described on the California 5 freeway. This is a major trucking route which is full of 18 wheelers. They, of course, keep to the right-most lanes. I saw a woman (sorry ladies, it was a woman) merge onto the freeway at what had to be 35 mph and get right in front of a semi doing at least 60. Right behind her two cars who were just stuck there desperately trying to figure out how not to get killed by this semi that had to lock all its breaks.
Nah, give me someone with years of experience (not a teenager) driving fast any time. They are generally much safer drivers than the fools who are afraid of going over the posted speed limit. I've never had a problem getting on the freeway behind someone who's got the pedal to the metal and knows how to match traffic speed and merge safely.
Drivers behind me often misunderstand this.
We have judgement for a reason. I also feel like the current fines associated with various law breaking have the expectation that not all of the behavior will be captured and thus it's rather high. If I got an automatic $5 fine every time I went 10 mph over the limit I might be more amendable to it than if it was $300 each time (as it is now). Again, if I am speeding 15 over in the middle of a deserted highway it's different than doing so in a residential area.
Also per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_i... I would not say ALL of those deaths are caused by "careless driving". In fact the majority is probably due to alcohol, falling asleep, etc. although I suppose you could consider being drunk while driving "careless".
I have driven after working 30ish hours straight and think it's something best avoided.
The idea that people balking at fines will cause the fine amounts to drop is equally silly. Consider the times the (local / state / federal) government introduces a temporary tax ... or builds a road that will only at first be a toll road. All too often, these temporary things become permanent fixtures.
And who said that amount is big?
Perhaps it goes with the territory -- driving machines that weight a ton for hundrends of miles with 70 mph, and it's not just the driver going 5 miles over the limit, but other factors that could be statistically inevitable despite any surveillance.
>I don't know why you're shilling for tax evasion, either. And I'm a libertarian: I don't like the taxes, but that's no excuse to cheat while they're still the law.
So do you do immoral things to if they are "still the law"? Slavery was the law too at a not too distant past, as was segreggation (and some of us lived at that time too).
It's pretty terrifying to see that argument in favor of the government tracking everyone's detailed vehicle statistics.
I have to agree here, I'd have less problem if all camera feeds that the gov't has access to are available for all citizens, including police cars, etc.. at all times.
Also, the fact that discretion is rarely something one thinks of when it comes to the police or prosecutors lately with nearly 1% of the U.S. population in prison.
Remember that stalkers exist. Madison, WI did this momentarily a year or three back, and a lot of abusers and such used it to stalk and harass other people much more consistently than they could have otherwise.
I am afraid that this is already happening with trackers fitted by insurance companies. Going over the speed limit, or flooring it from the traffic lights is not going to get you a ticket, but your insurance premium will go up(and that can hurt more than a ticket). I hope that there always will be a choice of policies without trackers.
I realize that there are voluntary tracking programs in-place for insurance purposes. That is the reason I specifically mentioned the somewhat fantastical thought of an automatic ticketing system for every type of vehicle-related infraction one can imagine (e.g., littering, endangering for lack of maintenance).
From what I've seen on the roads, something like this would mean crushing financial burden for many people for the first few days, weeks and months of operation. On the flip side, I think we would see a welcome change on the roads.
Wouldn't that be something? On second thought, maybe that is not such a bad idea.
We have a very real privacy issue with potentially tracking vehicle movements by authorities and/or private companies. I think somehow there can somewhere be a middle ground that makes the roads safer while preserving some privacy. Perhaps?? I personality think there isn't nearly enough to deter dangerous driving at the moment.
Hopefully we just will all have self driving cars in a few years instead.
In theory we would have safety experts analyze each road and come up with an effective speed that would be safe in optimal conditions. We don't have that unfortunately. Speed limits can tend to be somewhat arbitrary. This is unfortunate.
The other issue is, yes, it is safest when drivers are mostly operating at the same speed. How do cars all communicate with each other to set the speed? That would be issuing a speed limit. Speed limits are unfortunately set at a maximum which means driving below the speed limit is legal and potentially make the roads unsafe when everyone else is driving at or near the maximum.
It is a difficult problem that probably won't be solved until we have self driving cars. But for now i think we are not taking the human element of road safety as serious as i believe we should be. Road accidents are a MAJOR cause of death in people under 25. On the engineering side we have made huge strides in engineering safer cars and roads.
That would be nice, but it's important to recognize that 1/4 of accidents are weather related. Often that is because they were going over the maximum safe speed at the time, even though it was below the posted speed limit. Per the NHTSA only somewhere around 10 to 15% of accidents are directly related to speeding, the most likely cause of an accident is inattention.
I know HN is extremely anti-car sometimes, but there are people(like myself) who enjoy driving. And by "enjoy" I don't mean going 100mph on country roads and overtaking like a maniac. I just like the physical act of driving, and I feel like having every one of my reactions judged by an insurance company to penalize me would kill any enjoyment I might have had left.
People could pick and choose where to move depending on what they like. One state could be mass surveillance and one could be anarchy. Or you could stay in a moderate state that is centrist and acts a lot like what modern states do.
It would be a lot better than the broad supernational control states and companies can have over policy and society. There is no political experimentation anymore and that really sucks.
People may be legally free to move between states, but certainly very many are not economically free to move between states.
> There is no political experimentation anymore
There certainly is significant political variation between the states, with some of those single-state variants becoming popular and spreading.
There may not be changes in the direction you want or on the issues you care about -- but that's different than an absence of political experimentation.
Most financial transactions that hit the banking system at some point can already be tracked and audited. Arguably many people who elude that are basically ripping off the rest of society. As far as banks cheating people, maybe that kind of surveillance could help curb that?
Definitely would need to be careful about how far it pervades in to private life. Maybe it's impossible to limit, in which case it's probably a bad idea.
The only hope I see is new social rules. Can't stop people from peeking into everything; but CAN have taboos against mentioning it. So the illusion of privacy maintained, which is all people need to keep sane. Already cultures have rules like this, especially where folks lived in close confinement.
Don't forget the enforcement of laws. In my estimation, the entire legal system of a 100% supervised society would have to be significantly better than any legal system that has ever existed for the advantages of surveillance to outweigh the disadvantages.
Surveillance may result in more evidence that could potentially allow for better enforcement. However, people run these systems. Centralised surveillance gives a minority of people more power. As seen in the article, this power is abused, because there is nothing else to balance this power.
All these arguments talk about the benefits of surveillance without looking at the social relationships of how real-world surveillance is implemented. Like privacy tools, surveillance is just a tool. Without looking at the social relationships, one can make any argument in favour of, or against, these tools.
Centralised surveillance run by security forces, by nature will overestimate what crimes are being done, and allow the people in charge the ability and incentive to overinterpret innocent acts inappropriately.
CCTV rescuing you from drunken arguments is only one very small part of what CCTV can and will become.
A free society is one where people are free to question social norms, express themselves, and act in ways that don't violate others' rights. A society with ubiquitous surveillance is no longer a free society because people cannot freely and openly question social norms through action, express themselves, or act in ways that may be annoying or unbecoming but which do not violate others' rights. In a surveillance society, even one where "everyone knows", these behaviors are implicitly and globally discouraged by the act of recording all behavior and saving it in perpetuity.
I recommend reading about chilling effects < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilling_effect >.
If you read the wikipedia article, you will find that chilling effects are not only the result of vague laws and inconsistent enforcement but also the result of any legalistic behavior that might cause others to self-police or self-censor.
As for your assertions about universal surveillance, I find your position has a number of serious conditions:
1. It requires total surveillance of everyone.
2. It requires totally unambiguous laws and norms.
3. It requires total stasis of society.
4. It requires total faith in system by the governed population.
There are two major issues with this position:
1. Society must transition to this system somehow and survive.
2. People and systems in the material world are imperfect and we have no existence proof of any social system which achieves anywhere near the requisite levels of assurance.
I can only see this kind of system working in a society with 0 or 1 people in it. That is to say, I believe what you propose is impossible to enact by its very fundaments.
However, you continue to argue that attempting to create such a system is desirable. Due to this, I can only fathom that either:
1. You are a naive totalitarian.
2. You are a long-playing troll.
Because of this line of reasoning, I must conclude that the attempt to bring your proposed social system into being will not succeed and that the intermediate state will be much worse than the present state as totality will never be reached but concentration of power will corrupt.
If you insist that your proposed system is possible, how will you deal with dissenters such as myself who will refuse to live inside such a system? Doesn't the existence of dissent mean that you cannot reach totality? Or perhaps you believe that such a system can be made to accommodate dissent? What if the resistance is violent? Should the surveillance state kill anyone trying to resist its total surveillance, total laws, total stasis, and total faith? That would surely solve the dissent problem but perhaps the result would be neither stable nor pleasant...
In the real world, there is lots of asymmetry. This asymmetry is absolutely critical when making ethical considerations.
Obviously it will take some time. Even if we recorded everything everyone ever did starting 50 years from now, which is still quite a stretch, it would likely take another 150 before we could be certain that every living person had been under surveillance for their entire lives.
So one is a harder nut to crack.
Until we solve the "laws are now all good" problem, is better to have some breathing space ("at least we can bypass some").
To put it in another way, they estimate that each of us commits three felonies per day (from obscure BS laws, edge cases etc).
Not sure if accurate, but even if it's one per year, would you want to go to prison now for that shit in the hope that there would be some backlash and those laws will change?
Well, yeah, obviously. In a year, everybody would be in jail, so I assume that, "yes", the laws would change. That's the point: if even absurd laws are 100% enforced, we'll soon realize how absurd they are, and repeal them!
For one, 100% enforcibility due to technology, can also just mean 100% enforcibility to THOSE persons those in power don't like. If, for example, you can know immediately when someone violates law X (because of advanced technology), you can still select to apply that to those you want to target only. (One can imagine the McCarthyism government using that knowledge to target "commie sympathizers, or the apartheid govervnemt against blacks, dissidents etc).
(a) some violations being 100% detectable (which is what technology can offer) and (b) fines/jail being enforced to 100% of the violators (which is a policy issue) is a totally orthogonal thing. And since we can't trust policy
decisions, I wouldn't like having (a) either.
Second, even if we have (a) and (b), how about when it's not for all laws? (which realistically, it wouldn't be).
If any drug use is immediately detected with some future technology and its use punished, for example, tons of heroin users, who otherwise have done nothing wrong besides possession, would go to jail. And it's not necessary that this will have a big enough backslash to repeal the relevant law (after all, all the marijuana laws that affected millions weren't repealed for decades). To continue with this example, I'd still like most drug addicts to be free, even if the occasional unlucky one is caught.
I don't like perfect 100% systems -- I prefer things to have cracks, is what I'm saying. It's more human.
Wow, just wow. It boggles my mind how anyone could say that. So you'd really rather live in a world where you're under constant surveillance, your every move, word, action, behavior constantly tracked and recorded for all perpetuity? If so, I just have to say, I can't even begin to imagine the thinking behind that.
Personally, I would consider that world to be completely evil and dystopian, and would work to undermine, destroy, damage and subvert the "supervision" in any way I could.
Basically, I reach this conclusion from my desire to have robots that would assist us. Obviously, to have omnipresent AI that can help you with your life, you need to have it "perceive" the world - i.e. 100% surveillance. Furthermore, you wouldn't want this AI to just "forget" stuff, so you want it to remember things forever. As I said, this doesn't work with our current repressive political system that prohibits many victimless activities, but it could work in a different world (e.g. the fictional Australia in the story Manna ).
Also: If technology improves over time, and cool technology increases willingness to give up personal privacy, we have a bit of a situation brewing:
The US and England are leading the charge to show the Western world that having rulers is still a bad idea, just like it was when Stalin was in power. Will we ever learn?
Never seen or heard of anything like that happen.
I lost my phone two years ago on a railway station in the city of Frankfurt (Germany). Two guys forced it from me with one pointing a knife at me and ran away. Three levels up through hallways full of cameras. I waited for an additional ~20mins (collecting information from bystanders). Nobody appeared. Not even the police one of the bystanders called...
The situation we have here is exactly what the CCC and all the anti-surveillance movements said when the hype for cameras all over began. They said back than that we'll have less police and security on the streets and we'll lose the control of the data recorded there.
Today even the smallest bus company has cameras in their bus. Even if they can't afford to clean the bus properly. Open drug market places have been moved to shady side roads where crime rose. Videos of people being beat up in front of cameras became popular and seem to become popular until media stopped reporting and playing the videos. And so on.
I don't see the whole thing work out. Cameras create a false security hole that allows to cut down money where it would have been better invested: in police officers on the streets. What happens to all the collected data, I don't even want to know anymore. Btw I've heard a polish city is recording audio also. Isn't it nice? They even prevented some crime with it...
Btw. the Police was unable to get the videos from my robbery. "Technical reasons".
There are actually a lot of benefits to surveillance like this, but we need to be able to watch the watchers, so to speak.
Edit: Earlier story with original street video:
Don't worry, it was in the fine print somewhere.
The second paragraph is apropos:
> A woman snatched off the streets was rescued with the help of a GPS tracking device that had been installed on the suspect's car by the dealer in case it needed to be repossessed, authorities said Thursday.
> It was just the latest arrest made possible by the surveillance technology that is seemingly everywhere nowadays. And it involved not just GPS but surveillance video, traffic-camera imagery and a left-behind cellphone.
Edit: Also from the above article regarding traffic-cam:
> Her rescue came after authorities spotted the used-car dealer's name on a traffic camera photo of Barnes' vehicle and recognized the dealership as one that routinely puts GPS devices on its cars, said sheriff's Capt. Jayson Crawley, of Charles City County, Virginia.
> "We called the dealership, and within five minutes they had the location," he said.
That reassured me it couldn't at that point be used as a dragnet. Obviously there is a slippery slope issue involved though (the article claims congestion charge ANPR cameras are being used by the police indiscriminately because "terrorism"), so I'm not sure if I'm totally happy with it.
Two things that are protective in the CCTV case are:
- Policy: having police and CCTV operated separately is protective - both have to collude for things to go badly, like any government separation of powers.
- Technology: one example of this is the cameras had preprogrammed "no-dwell" zones - areas the pan/tilt/zoom of the camera is not allowed to stay in (e.g. windows of residential buildings). Although this could be overridden, there was an operational log where such overrides had to be justified, which feed back into oversight policy above. (They demoed this, then had to write into a logbook that they had done so.)
In general, CCTV is a force multiplier, but not excessive - the council could pay people to stand around in the street taking notes for example. The use of unmitigated ANPR with permanent recording – that is something else.
> That reassured me it couldn't at that point be used as a dragnet.
Who gave you the tour? How do you know those procedures are followed? Is there any reliable oversight on what they actually do?
There are many cases of procedures like that not being followed. In fact, most organizations I've worked in, in any field, have a difficult time following procedures.
Note that the precept is set by the police, not by the council - the councils have no authority over police spending.
When council tax has an earmarked additional portion specifically noted to be for police funding I think you're clutching at semantics. UK Police are in part funded from council tax garnishing, a precept as you say.
Where I am at least [in the UK] the police commissioner details a request based on a proposed budget which is put to a panel "the police and crime panel" which sit to set the funding that will be made. The panel comprises members of the local councils and they must vote as to whether to endorse an agreed budget and so collect the tax to pay for it.
The distinction you seem to be making doesn't appear to be there. The police and council set the budget between them effectively, councillors having veto powers, the council collect the money as part of council tax.
Considering what British city centers are like around chuck-out time, why can't we have some police out on foot patrol around that time? It's not that the areas around the lager palaces are no-go zones, but then I'm not that comfortable around lagered-up yoof either.
With CCTV cameras you have a better chance of arresting a drunk hool after he has committed an assault, but with police out they will think twice before picking an argument. Cameras might help solve crime, but proper policing is preventing crime before it occurs. Besides, I don't appreciate having my every movement stored on tape.
Most of the time they're just hanging around chatting to people, or making sure people are ok. With the added fun of making sure nobody gets run over when the clubs close and people spill into the road.
Despite the jokes (Croydon has a bad reputation; mostly undeserved these days), Croydon is about average for London boroughs when it comes to crime, and far better than Westminster (which has the biggest concentration of London nightlife).
Basically in boils down to whether or not the local forces choose to prioritise presence at night, since it's obviously more expensive.
It also very much changed the officer handling us behaviour I would imagine, as usually in such brawls they detain everyone then get he said/she said stories. Instead he knew the guy had run across the street after we hadn't even acknowledged him, so knew my friend was the "victim".
At the same time, all problems are never solved. Crime exists and it demands a response from police and courts. It's very "let them eat cake" to suggest that crime in Soho next friday be addressed by dealing with drinking culture and making sure no one is allowed to leave Manchester.
We can do both at the same time, but we can't not respond to a bottle attack with police.
Second, it prevents the wrong person from being treated as the problem. Without immediate hard evidence that video gives police, both men could easily treated be treated the same. They could all spend a couple of nights in jail. That's a good win.
I think it's silly to have such a black and white view. Whether it's a good thing or not depends on the actual situation, that is, if it's actually likely to have a positive effect on people's lives.
That doesn't mean the cops shouldn't have arrested him - it's their job to uphold the law - but I don't think much was gained by having him arrested, no.
Well, sure, we can invent hypothetical scenarios to justify anything. But if imprisoning everyone when the situation is not clear is a method frequently employed by the local police, I'd argue that you have a different problem to fix.
All I can say is that I'm very glad you're not in charge.
Well, we can agree on that :)
But I'm not saying he shouldn't be arrested, or that it isn't a net positive to send a message to violent aggressors. I just think what will actually happen is that he'll pay a fine and possibly spend a night in jail, control himself for a month or so, and then carry on as usual.
And even that is still a positive effect, I just don't think it justifies pervasive surveillance of the streets. It's not like it actually prevented to guy from getting beaten.
There it little evidence that it does. Punishment in general has extremely low utility when it comes to changing behaviour.
There may be value in some degree of punishment to satisfy societal needs, and there may be some value in incarceration to keep some particularly dangerous people off the street, or if the incarceration is used to enable training to reduce the chance of re-offending, but punishment alone is not an effective way of reducing negative behaviours - criminal or otherwise.
In some situations it's even directly counter-productive.
Yeah, we're gonna need a source.
One of the things police do is keeping the peace. Getting in fights outside of bars at 3am is disturbing the peace. IE, people don't feel safe when that is common. When police show up, most everyone is drunk, angry, scared, etc. They don't know what happened. Sometimes they can work it out from talking to people but a 4 minute investigation and witness statements from a bunch of drunks is not all that reliable. They need to do something to keep the peace. So, they might arrest all involved or some or sternly send them all home. Video solves that problem. They know how done it.
On the philosophical note, I think outcomes are important. Prison systems producing 80% re-offence are a failure. That said, I also believe in justice. I want rapists, murderers and assailants to go to jail regardless of harm reduction or rehabilitation. If there were 10 of us on a deserted island and number 8 beats up number 6 because he's angry or drunk or somesuch, coconut hull lashings would ensue.
People on HN may insist that the way the rest of the world acts is silly, but that says more about HN than the rest of the world.
I can see the difference if I feared he was out to get me; I certainly would feel safer with him caught. But a drunk guy who punches you because of a joke you said will still punch you the next time he's drunk. I just don't see his night in jail as fixing the issue in any way.
In the States it seems that far fewer people trust their government than those in the UK. I know there are areas of serious distrust with the police in the UK, but I feel that the majority of the population still have the perception that the police are to be trusted. I honestly don't have that same feeling about Americans...
Of course, that opinion is largely biased by the media. As are most of my perceptions about America/Americans - but then, perhaps Fox News/CNN and other partisan media (which appears to engulf more and more American media by the day) aren't the best choices to form clear objective opinions about the environment and the world around me. It becomes harder and harder to watch American TV and remain objective about life. It's no wonder the NRA are so fearful about their guns being taken away. Perhaps if media sensationalism (driving almost constant fear uncertainty and doubt) weren't so pervasive, people would spend less time living in fear and be more trusting of the government oversight... like the British.
In the UK, CCTV has largely been seen to be a good thing. The corrupt are eventually found and dealt with - well, enough to keep the public placated to allow the remainder of the corrupt to continue unabated; that is, until the next can no longer be swept under the rug and hidden from public purview and they too are dealt with.
So the question really comes down to trust. The British media doesn't tend to sow the seeds of distrust and fear into the British people... and so we don't really tend to fear CCTV like Americans do. 1984 and Animal Farm didn't appear to have the terrifying impact on our psyches that they did with Americans. I am skeptical I would feel the same way if I were brought up in America.
Little Girl: "Do people love the government here"
Father: "Yes, they do"
Which is very very far from the truth, we are a highly cynical country... sure we like the NHS and BBC, but certainly not the MPs that run our country.
Outside the UK it appears a lot of people imagine CCTV in the UK is pretty much a massive network of police/authority monitored cameras.
But the vast majority are privately owned, non-networked cameras exclusively monitoring private property, with no operator paying attention, and where the chance anyone will ever see you on the recording is pretty much nil. If the camera is even recording properly in the first place.
The use of actually live-monitored CCTV under police or council control is mostly limited to small portions of city centres, and even then mostly in larger towns. For the simple reason that it is too expensive and inefficient to use outside of certain types of "hotspots" which frequently have large crowds of high numbers of easily spotted crimes.
Outside of those areas, it's not uncommon for police to be totally uninterested in even trying to obtain the footage, because the odds of actually managing to identify someone are fairly low.
In your case the camera not working doesn't seem to have caused any further harm (which is how I'd interpret "the flip side of the flip side" in this context).
It not working isn't helpful of course, and I can think of possible circumstances where it might have made things worse (removal of guards because of the camera etc), but these appear somewhat marginal (and are missing from your comment). One could equally argue that even a non-working camera provides a deterrent effect (eg, the "dummy" cameras one can buy).
What am I missing?
As an aside, and being from the UK, I wouldn't say it's common to make jokes about being from the north or south. It's also not a very good "joke".
With that said, would you like to take your camera for a stroll by the Grosvenor Park Hotel?
How about Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians?
it reminded me Benjamin Franklin's quote: "He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither."
despite it's arguable that we are giving up freedom with more CCTV, but it scary what will happen if (when) Google Glasses will be more popular.
There are few references to it online, other than a planning permission application  mentioning five roof-mounted satellite dishes and an oil fuelled generator, and a mention  that the property was bought by investors in 2006 for £45m and leased to the government.
I wonder what it's used for and why it's such a secret.
Quoting the article:
"Surveillance images attain the status of evidence for unknown crimes the moment they are created, and merely await the identification of the moment they were created for."
Ofcourse a plod watching a CCTV camera is a good thing.
A network of cameras that tracks my car as it passes down every street, and stores that data in police database forever without any suspicion against me? That is a totally different thing.
You will not have the same expectation of privacy as in a private location, but most legal systems recognise that walking out your front door does not mean you automatically give up all expectation of privacy.
Should all of your server logs be manually reviewed by hand for intrusion detection vs. allowing software to do it? You are both trying to track down and also stop criminals...
Your server analogy is badly flawed because it is analogous to your cop/intersection example. A more appropriate analogy would be universal connection/request logging at the ISP level. It's not OK to have all of your society's unencrypted Web requests recorded and correlated by your government. Do you think it's OK? Why? What benefit does it confer to the people?
No one cares or looks at the tape of you walking around the store unless there is a reason to do so. Should all passive recording cams also be stopped?
If no historical data is recorded, I report car stolen, my Car registration is added to a "Something has actually happened to this car" list. Cameras start actively looking for my car's reg, cameras find my car. Done?
In the case of a chop shop the criminals might know they'll be picked up by cameras straight away, so when they steal the car they whack some fake plates on it, and we're back to not knowing anything.
What it is good at doing is tracking individuals, without any suspicion attributed to them.
I've gotten into arguments about this before, but I still fully believe that any long-term security measure requiring secrecy is bound to fail and/or be ineffective.
It's another step of security theatre; they need to look like they're doing something otherwise if something happens they're afraid of looking like idiots (despite their measures being completely and utterly useless).
Well especially when the secrets are revealed to anyone stood on the street looking / taking photos...
Agree with the sentiment, especially when applied to computers, though i'm not sure how it applies to non-IT based security, because I just don't know enough about the subject.
> It's another step of security theatre; they need to look like they're doing something otherwise if something happens they're afraid of looking like idiots (despite their measures being completely and utterly useless).
Agreed. On a slight tangent, base jumpers are more than able to gain illegal access to tall buildings in the city, with all their secretive security measures. There are a couple of documentaries out there on this, one I'm confident was shot post 9/11.
My greatest concern when reading about or watching these incidents is the poor treatment of those non-violent citizens taking the photos. Ok, you have to do your job and check their photos, but why not crack a joke, apologise for the inconvenience, and check the photos quickly as possible.
Why do they have to check their photos? That's private property.
In the UK and US at least, you do not need to show your photos to a person that tries to detain you, and you do not need to delete any photos. If you are arrested and charged with a crime, then they can inspect the photos as evidence, but not before. They still are not permitted to delete any.
Also, in the UK if someone who is not a police office tries to detain you (and this includes security guards and PCSOs), then they must be relying on the law of citizen's arrest, which means that they must have seen you in the act of committing an offense that could be tried at a crown court - in other words, something worthy of half a year or more in prison. If they have not, then they are liable to prosecution for false imprisonment and may have to compensate you.
Not a lawyer, by the way.
My understanding is different for the UK. If you refuse to show a police officer the photos, they have the right to take you to a station, where they will examine the photos. Like you, i'm not a lawyer.
>Also, in the UK if someone who is not a police office tries to detain you (and this includes security guards and PCSOs), then they must be relying on the law of citizen's arrest, which means that they must have seen you in the act of committing an offense that could be tried at a crown court - in other words, something worthy of half a year or more in prison.
What you say is true about the citizens arrest, but as was mentioned in the article, my understanding was that they are able to call the police because you've been acting suspiciously, and that they have that 'right' to call the police if you are seen taking photos. They can't hold you, but then most people stay, because leaving is seen as an admission of guilt/being a terrorist. Would be nice if this was tested in a court of law, or to hear from someone who knows if it has. Even then i'm not convinced a Judge won't just say "Well, in this post 9/11 time, people should be expected to be stopped if they take photos of high value targets."
EDIT: Taking photos of a building == Acting suspiciously. Not what I believe, just what I understand is argued, often, when security guards call the police because you've been seen taking photos of their building.
It doesn't say so there, but other advice I've seen the Met. issue explicitly states that taking pictures of a building in and of itself isn't sufficient for a police officer to 'reasonably suspect' a person to be a terrorist, and taking pictures of the police definitely isn't.
The Met. keep publishing advice telling their army of goons to leave photographers alone, while at the same time winding up said army to catch terrorists. It's a farce.
Notice the weasel words on the page you linked, which states "The power to stop and search someone under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 no longer exists" - not mentioning that it was not merely repealed, but found to be an illegal violation of human rights.
OTOH, if taking a picture of the outside of your building gives away secrets, you should probably rethink your threat model.
A security system needs to be effective against attack. That's simple and obvious. But beyond that I think there's a very big difference between 'requiring secrecy' for the effectiveness of a system and wanting to keep something as secret as reasonably possible. Hypothetically, it could be that people attacking a system would harm civilians while capturing attackers in their planning stage (eg while they're investigating the system) would prevent danger to the public. If that was the case then keeping the system secret might well be worthwhile.
You shouldn't immediately assume that an attempt to keep something secret is 'security through obscurity'. It might be obscurity with no regard to increasing security.
I suspect this is also true for the FVEY dragnet surveillance.
Those terrorists who are vulnerable to such surveillance are unfit and will quickly be removed from the population, perhaps before having the opportunity to reproduce their broken tradecraft. The population of terrorists who remain adapts to evade the surveillance measures (for anecdotal data, see ). The result is the dragnet primarily entraps average, everyday citizens, and not terrorists.
EDIT: I'd like to clarify that this is purely speculation. Also, even assuming my thesis is correct, this does not mean these surveillance measures are useless; on the contrary, such surveillance can push their communications to other surveillable channels (e.g. tactical radio that can be picked up by NRO sats), or simply deny terrorists the "cyber"/electromagentic domain, which impedes their reaction speed and effectiveness.
So I would argue that it's not really a tough choice in many cases. Don't, in the name of terrorism deterrence, harass people for doing things that don't impact the odds of a terrorist attack being carried out. All you end up doing is highlighting to the public the downside of terrorism defense, which ultimately probably lowers its approval of those defensive measures general in the long run.
Terrorism is an enduring threat, and to defend against it in the long run to the extent that is even possible, authorities need the public on their side. Hurting public sentiment for terrorism defensive measures increases the odds of the success of future terrorist plots. It's important only to do so when you get enough return in terms of lowering the probability of the success of future terrorist plots to compensate for the cost.
And this doesn't even take into account other factors outside of terrorism defense. Single factor cost benefit analysis should be enough to dissuade anyone who actually cares about deterring future terrorist attacks from frivolously harassing the public in the name of terrorism deterrence.
There's the thing. We're really inconveniencing and harassing actual people based on a unproven, half-baked "what-if".
What I'm saying is, no matter how many cameras you install, a random guy with a backpack full of explosives or poison gas or whatever won't be detected by it.
google maps makes a mockery of their photography paranoia.
"Ok, you have to do your job and check their photos, but why not crack a joke, apologise for the inconvenience, and check the photos quickly as possible."
The sad thing about all of this is that the dinguses on the police state side are not evil monsters, they think this is the only way to protect us from some undefined attack, and if a few rights are trampled on the way, well you are going to break a few eggs to make an omelet.
It practically encourages bullies in the police force to take their will out on the people, and there is no real mechanism for justice for the citizens affected. The constant excuse "but it will make you safer!" or "think of the children!" is chanted while more and more of your privacy is eroded.
Any terrorist could simply use non-human intelligence to gather information on most structures of import, or if needed, would have a much better plan to deal with the problem of being identified as someone casing the place.
In socialist times the citizens of my country said the same for secret police which was doing the same - and history has proven that resistance there was neither futile nor ineffective.
Worse still are the comments, featuring gems such as:
> The terrorists of our world must be patting themselves on the back. This sort of “mentality of fear” is precisely what they are working towards and we are playing right into their hand.
Tens of thousands of cameras have been mapped already, I would urge anyone who studies surveillance like the author to put their findings in a public database so efforts will be collaborative.
More info on how to add cameras to OSM here: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:man_made%3Dsurveilla...
Currently it tends toward the Platonic 'Polis' model with a distinct class of people (The "po-lice") given sole responsibility for enforcement and access to the omni-panopticon(while being themselves above the law.)
However if we apply Linus' Law (with many eyes, all bugs are shallow) it makes much more sense to give access to surveillance back to the people being surveilled.
Considering how heavily license plate scanners are deployed with inconsistent protection of privacy there should be work done at a national level to regulate the gathering and retention of the data.
Edge cases and any Hollywood movie-plot contrivance can be easily solved by cheap backup batteries and backup cameras, as this kind of technology is inexpensive. The very-rare and unusual situation where an officer has some legitimate reason for a camera failure, the officer can be given the benefit of the doubt an should not be prosecuted for what was clearly not his fault... if-and-only-if the incentive to cause8 that situation is removed as well: we also mandate that "no camera" means no evidence in court*
To put it another way, we simply place the court's trust in the witness less likely to be in error: the camera. Without that recording, the officer's testimony should be considered hearsay. This will, of course, make it harder to prosecute in a few rare and unusual cases. That difficulty is the entire goal, as an application of the principle that it better to let the guilty go free than prosecute an innocent person.
the situation that will emerge is as follows, if the cops cannot subvert or work around the camera tech to their advantage the cameras will be "left behind" and any excuse for that will be accepted.
that is unless one of the cops rats another out but the culture actively prevents that.
Failure to follow means they should find a new job. If they decide to make a habit of "forgetting" their badge (aka camera), then they have no authority, and are not doing their job. Charge them with [attempted] murder if they shoot [at] anybody.
Compare the camera requirement with any other job's requirements: retail employees are on camera when on the job almost 100% of the time. If a an employee at the US Postal Service decided to regularly "leave behind" mail, they won't keep their job. If "mens rea" can be shown, they might even face charges.
No, the opinion of the cops was not asked for. The people that we would need buy-in from (not counting the usual politicians would need to be included to get anything passed) are the prosecutors and regulators, not the cops. The local prosecutor needs to actually go after the nastier charges whenever they might happen, or they are really just aiding-and-abetting original crime (willingly choosing to not report a felony that you have direct knowledge of is itself a felony).
The cops need to be given a choice. They can:
(1) use the cameras (and the implicit attitude changes that would require)
(2) face charges for acts that require certain additional powers while willfully ignoring the the mandatory requirements of those powers
(3) have fun on the unemployment line and/or explain to the prosecutors why they screwed up their evidence collection
While I would agree that getting the DA to prosecute is currently an issue, even a usually pro-cop DA is going to be very annoyed if all the evidence is regularly thrown out due to improper collection.
Put it to you this way, if I were a cop I would resign sooner than work under those conditions.
What I'm suggesting that a necessary step in the basic concept of having a police force. The nature of the job by necessity requires us to grant some extra powers and exceptions in law to the people we hire to enforce it. Unfortunately, history shows that not only can we not trust that those powers will not be abused, we also cannot trust that the usual check against abuses of power will be implemented (or even attempted at all). Various types of regulatory capture, institutional corruption, and far too many people choosing to look the other way have demonstrated very clearly a list of methods that do not work.
The key problem in all of that tends to center around someone being able to abuse their powers freely while retaining a very high level of trust. Tying police powers to the camera separates these issues, and might be the start of a much-larger plan to fix this mess we're in. I don't expect that the people currently benefiting from the situation will like it. In fact, as they are (by definition) violent criminals, I expect the people committing the worst abuses will fight back. Hard.
I suggest we start solving that problem now, regardless of the difficulty. Power accumulates, so this will only be harder in the future. I don't have a miracle solution for how to enact these ideas - that is going to be hard regardless..
in other cases it will not be available, and obviously it will be framed to look as if it wasn't sudden. it won't be thought of as suspicious in the slightest.
i can see footage being faked also but that's probably further into the future than it simply being disappeared, it's all covered under tampering with evidence laws but you don't see those get used very often.
here's some more, you give these guys way too much credit.
However, every one and their mom has smartphone with a camera attached. Yet it's the people who've invested money in more "professional" cameras that we have to be scared of (even though they are the more conspicuous users of photography.)
”The poor are collectively unseizable. They are not only the majority on the planet, they are everywhere and the smallest event speaks of them. This is why the essential activity of the rich today is the building of walls — walls of concrete, of electronic surveillance, of missile barrages, minefields, frontier controls, and opaque media screens.“
— John Berger “Ten Dispatches About Endurance in the Face of Walls” (October 2004)
Interesting idea. Personally, I think CCTV does more good than harm. There's no right to privacy in public places.
intitle:â€i-Catcher Console – Web Monitorâ€
There are many more. What's going to stop the police, or anyone for that matter, from using those?
No, cameras aren't increasing security in those societies.
Sometimes, HNs political naivety deeply undermines their technological contributions.
What if your firewalls cost each about £30,000/yr (plus benefits), have only 40 hours weekly uptime, and you need like a bunch of them around in the city all the time for this to work at all?
Go ahead. Disable SSH, firewalls, and VPNs and just run loggers all day. I'm sure you'll feel super duper secure then. Heuristics never fail!
My rate is $150 an hour and I will create the most perfect and secure and tiniest attack surface for your brand new logging cluster.