Mobile speed displays are filming plates and faces

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I’m going to have to start shining laser pointers at these now?


Why is this really an alarming thing? Many traffic lights have cameras. You’re in public. Your license plate is public information.


Was there a referendum about this that I missed? This isn’t a change that should be made without significant public consultation. And I’d vote no.


It can get creepy.


Nothing that a bit of masking tape over the camera can’t take care of…


The DEA?? What, are the cameras good enough to tell a tobacco cigarette from one made with illegal substances now??


Quit thinkin’ and just be afraid.

Those cameras you see on traffic lights are usually just for traffic monitoring or vehicle detection to trigger a light change. It’s more reliable than metal detection loops in the road and doesn’t require as much upkeep.

While police can review the footage, they aren’t designed to read plates. Some of those cameras are even on the web, check your local traffic agency’s website.

Those speed signs have always had cameras to deter vandalism. The LPRs are new.


You can theoretically blind a LPR camera (at least at night) with high-intensity IR LEDs in the plate frame.


Red light camera don’t work according to science:

They’ve also been tools of abuse by municipalites and police:

There’s also a consituional issue with red light cameras, since there’s no way to confront one’s own accuser, and that’s being raised in court:


Well, I do not know what your area uses them for…but in my state…if you run the red light, they snap a pic of your vehicle and plates coming and going and you get your traffic ticket via mail. They seem to work just fine @AnthonyI

So to @RickMycroft 's point…I concur it can get creepy and feel very big brotherish. But my point still holds. You are in public, so photographing your face is not illegal or uncommon/out of bounds. The police photographing your license plate is also perfectly legal and acceptable. Is it another level/added block to the police state mentality, sure. But of all the steps that lead there, this one is low on the totem pole.

And to be perfectly honest, as someone who drives within the speed limit and has a fairly impeccable driving record; I am all for using this sort of technology to either monitor and potentially change traffic signage and speed limits (there are some roads labeled as 35 that should be higher) or to potentially prevent/punish people from going dangerously over the limits. The camera on the machine is more impartial than the trooper…and there is zero chance the ticket issued from that process will result in someone being shot dead in a routine traffic stop.

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There’s nothing some spray paint can’t fix


Being a former citizen of Philadelphia:

  • The cameras worked well enough to catch me. 4am on a Federal holiday, I was the only car for miles, illegal right on red, no cop in the world would give a ticket, but the machine never sleeps.

  • There may be constitutional issues, but there has never been a successful challenge. I think the same might be true of Virginia’s ban on radar detectors. Who’s going to fight a $100 ticket all the way to the Supreme Court?

  • Red-light cameras measurably increase accident rates… but the cars are going slower when they crash. Silver lining!


Okay; using a traffic camera to monitor driving is one thing, but how do you feel about the DEA doing this?

I kind of agree - solely in the context of road safety - but I get twitchy when I read something alarmingly close to “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”. :wink:


No doubt they nab people who run red lights, but I think it’s important to look at the big picture of public safety, which should always be the primary focus of traffic enforcement. The question is, do these things make the roads safer?


I don’t think so many are concerned about having a picture taken in public. Like you said, you’re in public.

It’s the ever present surveillance creep that sucks. It may be a low step on the totem pole, but it is a crucial, infrastructure-y one. What happens to the data? All these LPRs out there - there’s a record of your car at that specific location at that specific time. Multiply that by ever increasing numbers of them and it’s a full record of everyone (well, every vehicle), everywhere, at any time. Apply algorithms (as folks owning large datasets with a mind to make money are wont to do) and now predict where people will be at some time in the future, then run it some more and predict personal info about them, etc. Some of it’s collected by private groups, others public, probably all with tech from the same few vendors all competing for the biggest database of info.
Best case result? - targeted advertising.

If certain restraints are in place governing the retention of the data captured, then sure, I’m all for the uses you put forward, but I can’t help feeling that it seems naive.

This is starting to rhyme with “well, if you have nothing to hide…”

  1. A camera that snaps a photo of the licence plate of speeders or red light runners is a very different thing from a surveillance network that tracks everyone who passes by. Speed cameras are irritating; DEA cameras are Orwellian.

  2. The USA is controlled by an increasingly fascist government. Any expansion of the surveillance state is cause for alarm.


I know it’s different when the government does something rather than a corporation or person (is that redundant?), but one of my neighbors built their own ALPR machine. He logs every car into and out of our neighborhood. He did this after some package thefts.

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  1. I agree. 2) is some next level paranoia that I just don’t adhere to.

You don’t need massive data collection to observe/know the driving habits of the majority of people in the US. Just map where they live. Where they work. Where their kids go to school or significant other lives. And find out what their favorite bar or restaurant is. Humans are creatures of habit.