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Burnham Lad

Yet more snooping....

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This came in on a news feed from Guardian Unlimited. There is a clear admission from the powers that be that cameras are there to raise cash......


"Drivers talking on mobile phones or failing to wear seatbelts could find themselves tracked down through a widened use of road surveillance cameras, under proposals due to be floated in parliament tomorrow.


The plans would form part of a major expansion of camera surveillance which critics say is already transforming Britain into the most watched country in the world.


The case for cameras to be focused on people using mobiles as they drive is made by the independent adviser to the transport select committee, Robert Gifford, of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (Pacts).


He argues that automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology should be applied in new ways to help defray costs of cameras and to catch offenders. "One of the good things about ANPR is that people are often multiple offenders so it would provide useful intelligence," he said. "Those responsible for 7/7 got to Luton station by car."


Mr Gifford said expanding the use of technology for tracking the movements of cars could lead police to people who had committed other offences in the same way that Al Capone was eventually caught through his income tax evasion. He claimed that for greater safety and "the greater good of society", most people would be prepared to accept "a slight reduction of our liberty".


Existing road cameras divide into two groups: speed cameras, of which there are around 6,000 nationally; and up to 8,000 ANPR cameras which trigger a reaction when wanted, stolen or cloned number plates or uninsured cars are spotted. Under the proposal, police would also look out for mobile phone users and seatbelt offenders. Those arguing in favour of expanding the cameras cite the continuing death toll on roads and the threat of terrorism. In 2004, 3,221 people died in accidents and 31,130 were seriously injured.


It is also argued that the cameras bring in essential revenue.


Department of Transport figures released under the Freedom of Information Act indicated that total fine receipts for speeding and traffic light offences detected by camera in 2003-04 were £113.5m, of which nearly £92m was "reinvested in road safety as payments back to ... the police, local highway authorities and magistrates courts". The Treasury retained the balance of nearly £22m.


Tomorrow's transport committee session and a further meeting next week will examine how far this technology can be expanded and what use can be made of the data. Evidence will be presented by bodies representing the police and organisations that campaign on road safety.


Any attempt to widen the application of camera surveillance is likely to be strongly resisted.


Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed campaign which opposes cameras, said: "Ministers and senior civil servants are largely being persuaded that technological interventions are a good idea by those with a vested interest in the technology. The sums involved are huge."


Mainstream motoring organisations also have reservations. Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA Motoring Trust, believed that current technology was not good enough to implement the idea properly: "It would be difficult to prove whether you were holding your mobile phone or scratching your ear."


A spokeswoman for Liberty said increasing the use of cameras to catch drivers breaking the law would not be a curb on their civil liberties."

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he said. "Those responsible for 7/7 got to Luton station by car."


I don't see how the use of cameras would have stopped that as there would still be a time delay in getting anything done plus they were not doing anything wrong in driving their own car, so why would that have sparked any interest.


Just like saying ID cards would have prevented 7/7 is rubish as they were legally intitled to a british passport and would have also been intitled to have an ID card.


Just people using unjustified fear to justify money making and eroding our freedom.


Good idea to stop phone users though!!!

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AmericanFLEETFANNo1 said:
......and nothing to do with safety? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/doah.gif" alt="" />

Safety is always the primary reason given for these suggestions and I am not arguing about enforcing the law. The point I was trying to make is that they have always denied that raising cash was an objective - clearly this was a lie, now admitted.

The other issue is that this seems to be a policy of gradualness. You change the law for a few things which no-one could really argue with, but then once you have got the data there is no end of uses to which it can be put.

Personally I do not trust our authorities any longer just to use this information for the purposes they say it will be used. I also no longer trust them not to sell the information (illegal, but money talks) - we already have cases of officials flogging information to which they have access - PNC or DVLA data for two examples. I also have a relative who is a CCTV operator for a council and have heard some of the illicit uses to which this can be put......

Unlike a speed camera where pictures are taken only if you are breaking the law, this data is being collected and stored whether you are breaking the law or not. How do you know it is not going to be misused? There are absolutely no protections now if you have had your picture taken, you don't even have to be arrested, like for a DNA swab to be collected.

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