web analytics
The Standard

Digital speed cameras & mass surveillance

Written By: - Date published: 12:49 pm, June 6th, 2014 - 30 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, democracy under attack, Spying, sustainability, telecommunications, transport - Tags: ,

The main NZ news outlets are reporting on the new digital speed cameras about to be progressively installed around the country.  They report it as an improvement that will enable more accurate and efficient recording of people who drive above the speed limit.  They fail to make any mention of the extra capabilities of digital cameras, which could be used for mass surveillance of the population.

One_Nation_Under_CCTV_Newman_Street_22nd_April_2008

Reported on Stuff:

The $10 million project will see 56 digital cameras in place across the country by the end of next year.

[…]

Assistant road policing commissioner Dave Cliff said the initial rollout in Auckland and Wellington was a milestone after police announced plans last July to modernise and expand its fixed speed camera network. The current network is almost 20 years old and uses outdated wet-film technology.

The article is all about how this will improve road safety.

Reported on the NZ Herald site:

The 12 sites announced today were a mix of existing and new locations.

“We have consulted with people in those communities directly affected by placement of the cameras, who were all resoundingly supportive of having them in their neighbourhoods to improve road safety,” Mr Cliff said.

Neither of these articles, nor the 3 News, nor the RNZ reports explain exactly how the technologies differ in practice.

An earlier report on Stuff (April 2014) does explain something of the new capabilities.

They will be able to monitor traffic in both directions across as many as six lanes, and to distinguish between vehicles allowed to travel at 100kmh and those, such as trucks, or cars towing trailers, which can travel at only 90kmh.

Images from the digital cameras can be sent by wire over a secure network, unlike traditional cameras, in which the film has to be changed manually.

The new ones use infrared light and have no visible flash. They have two radars – one to identify speeding cars by measuring speed three times in quick succession, and taking the middle speed, and the other to identify the lane the car is in. The radars double-check the speed reading before the camera takes a picture.

As I recall, when the planned use of these digital cameras were first reported on, some Standardistas were concerned that they could be used for mass surveillance.  This is in the context of concerns about the increasing use of invasive mass surveillance technologies by state authorities, for spying on citizens.

Whats wrong with ANPR

What’s wrong with ANPR (Oct 2013) – UK: Privacy Report Blasts Use Of License Plate Cameras.

As in the UK, in the US in February 2014, The Atlantic reported on concerns about being able to digitally record the movement of cars using license plate recognition software.  This is not what will be done with the new digital speed cameras, which will only photograph speeding vehicles.  Nevertheless, it is a step in the direction of increased digitised surveillance of the public.

Firstly the Atlantic article argues that road safety would be better approached by enticing people out of using their cars so much. Then it focused on technologies already in use in many states to track suspicious or criminal activities:

“All of this information is being placed into databases, and is sometimes pooled into regional sharing systems […] All too frequently, these data are retained permanently and shared widely with few or no restrictions on how they can be used.”

The potential for abuse was obvious.

[…]

A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told Ars Technica that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), “is exploring the ability to obtain access to a National License Plate Recognition database—allowing officers and agents to identify subjects of ongoing criminal investigations.”

The Washington Post got an official response too. “It is important to note that this database would be run by a commercial enterprise,” ICE said, “and the data would be collected and stored by the commercial enterprise, not the government.” […] A database of our movements that is privately held and accessible to the government is the worst possible combination.

At the very least, the MSM should be reporting on all the implications of the introduction of new digital technologies, and not just repeating the police press releases.  The current context is of increasing digital surveillance of citizens, often as much in the interests of international corporates as in the protection from foreign threats to our physical security.  In such a context, there should be widespread public discussion about the increasing use of digital surveillance of citizens as they go about their daily activities.

 

30 comments on “Digital speed cameras & mass surveillance”

  1. minarch 2

    Cool, i just bought a new slingshot……

  2. Colonial Viper 3

    Beyond the privacy/surveillance aspects.

    These cameras will all be connected to number plate character recognition systems and the country’s vehicle database.

    If your warrant or rego is out of date when you drive past one of these cameras you will now be automatically fined $200 (or whatever it is) on each count. The infringement notice goes out into the mail to you without having to pass through any human hands.

    • Crashcart 3.1

      That was my primary concern CV. Not so much the rego but whether or not this camera only recorded the details if you are speeding. The fact that it always registers the number plate means there is the ability to use this equipemnt to track peoples movement.

    • karol 3.2

      Do you have any sources that show in NZ, the digital speed cameras will also check for vehicles without a current WOF or registration?

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Just my contacts in Dunedin who have seen the system being set up down here. I don’t know if it is part of the system’s initial capabilities, but it is part of the roll out plan.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1

        Most likely to be illegal same as at present it’s illegal to put on plastic covers that prevent cameras from taking an accurate picture of your number plate. Especially considering that the only purpose of such things is to help you break the law.

    • Dumrse 3.4

      Conspiracy, the theory to use when all else fails.

      • felix 3.4.1

        Eh? What conspiracy?

      • Murray Olsen 3.4.2

        This is not theory, though. These things are being rolled out. They will have the capability of taking photos of every car, even if that isn’t used in the beginning. Years of experience tell us that a government enforcement agency does not let technical capabilities sit unused.

        Your pseudonym is very apt.

  3. vto 4

    only deal is to log off.

    no fancy phone

    only use cash (its quicker and easier anyway).

    In fact the promotion of phones as some betterment is a joke (who wants work arriving on their plate at all hours of the day and night and in all locations? Eh?). And similarly with paymet with cards – always always slower.

    but, you know, if you want to have your life recorded for the future fascists to trawl through before they knock on your door in their jackboots then go right ahead ……

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      only deal is to log off.

      Yep…going off grid…or as the intel services call it…going dark.

      • Richard Christie 4.1.1

        only deal is to log off.
        going dark.

        hmm, soon, I suspect, in their mind that in itself will be very suspicious, justifiable cause for Her Majesty’s services to mark you for special attention.

        They appear to have an insatiable desire for total surveillance.

    • weka 4.2

      “but, you know, if you want to have your life recorded for the future fascists to trawl through before they knock on your door in their jackboots then go right ahead ……”

      Better get off the internet too 😉

  4. Naki man 5

    This is great news for law abiding citizens, more tracking of criminal activity. Less criminal scum on the streets. Bring it on.

    • Richard Christie 5.1

      Yes, I expect it’ll be heaven for the grammatically challenged as well.

      The term is fewer, not less.

  5. “Less criminal scum on the streets.”

    You must have posted in the wrong thread, this is about speeders, not Banksy.

    • Naki man 6.1

      “Less criminal scum on the streets.”
      You must have posted in the wrong thread, this is about speeders, not Banksy.
      No Meat head the post is about speed cameras and surveillance you need some of labours night classes on reading and comprehension.

  6. Daveosaurus 7

    Quite aside from all the rights and wrongs of what they’re doing – do you mean to say they’ve still been using film while most of the rest of the world has long gone digital? That’s at about the same level as if their police cars were still rolling around on cross-ply tyres.

    Anyway, even the current Government (when in opposition) acknowledged that all that speed cameras are about is revenue-gathering.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Anyway, even the current Government (when in opposition) acknowledged that all that speed cameras are about is revenue-gathering.

      Well, that’s what they called it – probably because them and their rich mates were getting caught speeding by them. Of course, if no one was breaking the law by speeding they wouldn’t be able to generate any revenue.

  7. Hi,

    We wrote to the Police asking them if they were going to use these new red light and speed cameras to do automated number plate recognition. They replied and, as of 1st August 2013, denied it. Check out our questions and their response here: https://fyi.org.nz/request/1007-do-the-new-red-light-and-speed-cameras-support-anpr

    There’s also some more background about Police use of ANPR in NZ here: http://techliberty.org.nz/police-confirm-theyre-not-keeping-anpr-data/

    About time we sent an update question to make sure those answers are still valid!

    Cheers,

    Thomas Beagle
    Tech Liberty NZ

    • karol 8.1

      Thanks, Thomas. I’d be very interested in their answer.

      3 News tonight reported that the digital speed cameras wouldn’t be used for the kind of things done in Perth: to identify people talking on mobiles while driving, etc.

      • Naki man 8.1.1

        Yes I saw that karol they said our camera’s are not capable of focusing on mobiles and seatbelts.

  8. RedBaronCV 9

    Funny how the Dunedin city council which has huge bills from the Stadium can afford one of these surveillance systems.
    Funny how the cops can afford these surveillance systems and 72 people to raid Dotcom and a big presence outside NACT functions but can’t be bovvered with the roast busters or enforcing protection orders (in dunedin).
    Funny how it seems that at least a part of our road toll is from right hand driving countries. Are these cameras going to shout at anyone on the wrong side of the road.
    And our forestry which kills how many? Some surveillance cameras on the bosses might be a good idea.

    • Murray Olsen 9.1

      Given the foreign criminals that National ministers associate with, surveillance cameras at Cabinet Club events would be a great idea. After all, if they’ve got nothing to hide……..

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    3 hours ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    1 day ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    1 day ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    1 day ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    3 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    3 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    4 days ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    5 days ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    5 days ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    6 days ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    6 days ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    7 days ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    7 days ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    7 days ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    7 days ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    1 week ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls on all parties to end coat-tailing
    Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging all parties to support his Bill to end the coat-tailing provision when it is debated in Parliament this week.  “New Zealanders have sent MPs a clear message. An opinion poll found more than 70… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government social sector reforms
    I’ve written previously about the major shake-up that is happening in the provision of government and community services. Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development spoke publically about what these reforms are likely to look like within MSD. There are major… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • PM must explain Saudi sheep scandal backflips
    John Key’s explanations of the Saudi sheep scandal continue to be riddled with inconsistencies and irreconcilable backflips, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says. “Either he has been misled by his Minister Murray McCully or the Prime Minister is deliberately obfuscating… ...
    1 week ago
  • Independent investigation needed into claims scientists gagged
    Steven Joyce must launch an independent investigation into claims that scientists are being gagged, says Labour’s Science and Innovation spokesperson David Cunliffe. “When 40 percent of scientists say they are being gagged and can’t speak out on issues of public… ...
    1 week ago
  • Swamp kauri mining and exports should stop
    Seeing swamp kauri mining for the first time this week was a shock. Dark peaty soil had been stripped of its plant cover and giant excavators were digging into wet, swampy soil to unearth logs that had been buried for… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • MSD going down wasteful spending track
    The Ministry of Social Development is paying big salaries and forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars on management courses while at the same time looking to hand some services over to a multinational outsourcing company with an appalling track… ...
    1 week ago
  • South Auckland housing meeting highlights stark realities
    The stark realities of life for South Aucklanders in substandard Housing New Zealand and private rental homes were fully exposed at a South Auckland housing meeting today, Labour’s MP for Manukau East Jenny Salesa says. “Local people generously shared their… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Pope, the scientists, and the diplomats: getting there on the climate ...
    The Pope’s Encyclical on the climate: ‘On Care for Our Common Home’, has finally been released. Evoking St Francis before him, the Pope reminds us that “our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life, and… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party supports Gifted Kids Awareness Week 2015
    Providing high quality teaching that caters to the specific needs of every child is an enormous challenge, but there is no investment more rewarding for society. Gifted Awareness Week gives us a chance to think about how diverse the needs… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Truck sellers still getting away with rip-offs
    The Government has admitted its brand new lending rules are already inadequate, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesman David Shearer. “Gaping holes in the Responsible Lending Code – which came into effect this month -- mean the vulnerable will not be… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government Screws the Lid Down On Raw Milk Access
    The Government’s raw milk policy announced yesterday will make it more difficult for many consumers to access the quality product of their choice, and may even be setting up the raw milk sector to fail. The Government, in its paranoia… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Operation Desert Storm
    Blaming Saudi sand storms for the deaths of 70 per cent of Kiwi lambs born on a model farm meant to showcase New Zealand agricultural expertise is another part of the ludicrous attempt to disguise buying the cooperation of a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister, your expensive slip is showing
    A Minister's comments at a press conference in Dunedin today show just how easily costs can blow out at the Southern DHB, Labour's Acting Health spokesman David Clark says. "Fresh from criticising everyone from members of the Board that his… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bridges of Northland on backburner
    Transport Minister Simon Bridges today admitted no progress has been made towards his Northland by-election bribe of 10 new bridges and could only say they would be funded sometime in the next six years, Labour's transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MP lets down Cook Island community
    The Cook Island community has been let down by National List MP Alfred Ngaro’s decision not to support a proposal that would have removed a restrictive residency requirement, Labour says. An amendment to the Social Assistance (Portability to Cook Islands,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for a moratorium on all live sheep exports
    The events of the last two weeks have highlighted how weak our regulations around live exports are, particularly in relation to live sheep exports. We urgently need a moratorium on live sheep exports until they’ve been significantly strengthened. We have… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Weak growth highlights lack of economic plan
    Today’s weak growth figures are less than half of what was forecast in last month’s Budget and signal rough weather ahead, Labour’s Finance spokesman Grant Robertson says. “GDP figures showing the economy grew just 0.2% in the first three months… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori TV editorial interference scandal deepens
    The Maori Development Minister has misled a select committee and appears to have broken the law through editorial interference in Māori Television, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran said today. Labour has released emails between Te Ururoa Flavell’s press secretary and… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere