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 The current network is almost 20 years old and uses outdated wet-film technology.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

  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    10 hours ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    1 day ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    2 days ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    2 days ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 days ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 days ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 days ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    2 days ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    3 days ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    4 days ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    4 days ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    4 days ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    4 days ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    4 days ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    5 days ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    5 days ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    5 days ago
  • Zero excuses, end zero hour contracts now
    It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. ...
    6 days ago
  • We’ve reached Peak Key with ‘artificial target’
    John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “For seven years and two election campaigns, John Key has… ...
    6 days ago
  • Top 10 need to know facts on climate change
    All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to… ...
    GreensBy Frog
    1 week ago
  • Campbell Live a bastion of investigative journalism
    The announcement that current affairs programme Campbell Live is under review and may be axed has sparked outrage from the New Zealand public, for good reason, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Investigative journalism is a precious resource in today’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • Ground Zero for ‘disastrous’ contracts
    Yesterday the Green Party called on the Government to follow the leadership of Restaurant Brands and ditch zero-hour contracts. Currently it looks like the Government is a large part of the zero-hours problem. It allows these types of “non-jobs” to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Trust in National will disappear with deficit
    Bill English is set to break his promise to get the books back in the black this year and lose the trust of Kiwis who have had to do it too hard for too long, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    1 week ago
  • Dorothy Jelicich passes away
    It is with sincere sadness that the Labour Party conveys its sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family of Dorothy Jelicich who passed away last night at the age of 87 years, says the MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government leaves aquaculture industry at sea
    If the Government had acted in its first term, the Sanford mussel processing plant would not have to close, says Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “Sanford is considering closure after a decline in the natural supply of spat. This is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Maggie –it’s time to roll your sleeves up
      It’s time for the Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry to listen to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment  and start untangling the mess around  New Zealand’s stewardship land, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “The Commissioner has called for… ...
    1 week ago
  • Gutting of prison jobs a gift to private prison provider
    Today’s announcement that sections of three prisons are to be closed is the thin end of the wedge for the privatisation of the country’s prison service, says Labour’s  Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  It's estimated that 260 prison officers will lose… ...
    1 week ago
  • Joyce must rule out revising export target
    Steven Joyce must rule out a second revision of the Government’s export target in six months and stop trying to massage statistics when he fails to meet his goals, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “National set a target… ...
    1 week ago
  • Caregiver law passed in haste now a fail
    The Government’s response to supporting family caregivers is mean spirited and designed to fail, says Labour’s Disability Issues Spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Figures released by the Ministry of Health show that only a tiny percentage of the eligible families have applied… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Clear message handed to nuclear states
    MPs Phil Goff, Shane Reti and Marama Fox are due to meet with diplomats from the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, China and France tomorrow to hand deliver a letter calling for their countries to disarm their nuclear weapons.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parity is no party for export businesses
    The extent of the damage done by the high dollar to New Zealand businesses is larger than many think as shown by a dramatic decrease in exports to Australia as our dollar rises, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “When the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats’ limited thinking stifling innovation
    Businesses trying to innovate and create better products are being let down by this Government with an industry expert saying Steven Joyce’s mini-tax credits will have almost no impact, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Andrew Dickeson, director of taxation… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Vanishing Nature: A must-read for all New Zealanders
    The Environmental Defence Society’s new book Vanishing Nature – facing New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis, should be read by every New Zealander concerned about our native plants and wildlife and striking natural landscapes; and particularly by Government Ministers before Budget Day… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • The CYF review – an exercise in predetermination?
    Child Youth and Family (CYF) has a troublesome history of underperformance and botched care and protection cases, the most recent being its abject failure, along with the Police, to address the Roastbusters sexual abuse allegations with any semblance of professionalism.… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Time to act to protect Hector’s Dolphins
    The death of a Hector’s Dolphin in a set net must lead to action from the Minister of Conservation, Ruth Dyson, Labour’s Conservation Spokesperson said today. “Despite the fact that the Akaroa Harbour has been a Marine Mammal Sanctuary since… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Double-laning Darby and Joan disputed
    The Prime Minister’s by-election promise to double lane the road between Northland’s iconic Darby and Joan kauri trees has been contradicted by officials, Labour’s spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The NZ Transport Agency has told a media outlet that not all… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parity: Cheaper trips but lower incomes
    The Kiwi dollar’s near-parity with the Australian means some tourists will have cheaper Gold Coast holidays but New Zealand incomes will stay lower for longer, making it harder for many to afford the trip, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • English’s state house flog off plans exposed
    Labour is calling on Bill English to confirm or deny a claim the Government is exploring a mass sell-off of state housing to tenants. Property magnate Bob Jones writes in a newspaper column published today that the Minister responsible for… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extension of work scheme urged for disaster relief
    The Government is being urged to extend the Regional Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme to help families in the most severely-damaged islands of Vanuatu, following Cyclone Pam. “Allowing a further 300 people to take up seasonal employment in New Zealand under… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nuclear deal with Iran should be just the start
    A deal struck by Iran and major powers to ensure the Iranian facilities producing nuclear material are not used for the purpose of constructing nuclear weapons has been a long time coming, Labour’s Disarmament spokesperson Phil Goff says. “Undoubtedly Iran’s… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Aoraki Newsletter March 2015
    Attachmentsmarch2015_web.pdf - 1.4 MB ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister needs to do his homework
    Nathan Guy needs to do his homework, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Answering questions in Parliament today on the dairy sector, the Primary Industries Minister denied John Key wants to float Fonterra. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister needs to put the kibosh on dirty diesel
    State-Owned Enterprises Minister Todd McClay has to get a grip on the KiwiRail board and put the kibosh on its crazy plan for dirty diesel on the main trunk line, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. It has been revealed… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Louise Nicholas Day: Work still to do
    This is a summary of a speech I gave in honour of Louise Nicholas Day on March 31 The IPCA report showed us basic mistakes are still able to be made within a specialist unit. The Police Commissioner said there… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • The meanness and pettiness of Nats in power
    Last night, Parliament debated NZ First MP Tracey Martin’s Bill to ensure children in the long term care of family members were able to access a clothing allowance currently only available to children in foster care. Many of these children… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere