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posted by martyb on Sunday December 06 2015, @07:31PM   Printer-friendly
from the goose-and-gander dept.

If you have an IP-enabled security camera, you can download some free, open-source software from GitHub and boom—you have a fully functional automated license plate reader, reports ArsTechnica .

Matt Hill, OpenALPR's founder, told Ars technica "I'm a big privacy advocate... now you've got LPR just in the hands of the government, which isn't a good thing."

Will "they" like it when "we" have a crowdsourced database of where and when congressmen, judges and cops go throughout their work day?

Does this level the playing field? Open yet another can of worms? Both?


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  • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday December 07 2015, @05:54AM

    by mhajicek (51) on Monday December 07 2015, @05:54AM (#272768)

    Privacy is already dead. The surveillance that the government has been doing was already illegal, and that didn't stop them from doing it. Those people they hired did what they were told regardless of the constitution, probably thinking it was for the greater good.

    Do you have a plan that would actually prevent people from spying on each other? Attempting to do it by law relies on people following that law, which history repeatedly has shown doesn't work. People do what they can get away with. To paraphrase: outlaw surveillance and only outlaws will have surveillance. The only way I can think of to enforce a ban on surveillance would require extensive surveillance to find out who's violating the ban.

    So again, serious question, do you have a workable plan to stop surveillance?

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anal Pumpernickel on Monday December 07 2015, @06:31AM

    by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Monday December 07 2015, @06:31AM (#272782)

    Privacy is already dead.

    It's really not. You're exaggerating. Even with the high levels of surveillance we have today, the government is neither omnipotent nor omnipresent. There are still many things it cannot see or hear, or at least not on a massive scale. We are not yet at the point where privacy is dead, and even if it was, that would be just another reason to fight to improve the situation. I'm not aware of the government having the capability to break all forms of encryption, monitor everything that goes on inside all homes, and monitor every conversation even if it takes place in real life, so privacy is far from dead.

    The surveillance that the government has been doing was already illegal, and that didn't stop them from doing it.

    Because there is no actual punishment for violating the constitution. The politicians who signed off on the unconstitutional laws and policies, as well as the people conducting the surveillance and everyone working for the NSA, should be put in prison. If there were actual punishments for violating the highest law of the land, this would likely reduce the chances of massive surveillance occurring.

    Here's the thing: The NSA was caught violating he constitution and the politicians and employees responsible for this have not been punished. The NSA failed to keep its activities secret, so what we have to do is punish them (both low-level workers and the ones in charge) for their actions.

    Attempting to do it by law relies on people following that law, which history repeatedly has shown doesn't work.

    Laws that aren't properly enforced or don't apply to the situation at hand don't work. There are plenty of laws and constitutional amendments that have improved many awful situations throughout the country's history, so there is no reason to think it's impossible to improve the situation now. Laws against murder might not stop murder, but not having them and having no way to punish murderers would make the situation even worse. And an individual murderer is nothing compared to the scale of mass surveillance.

    To paraphrase: outlaw surveillance and only outlaws will have surveillance.

    I want to enforce the constitution to stop *mass* surveillance. Mass surveillance requires a great deal more resources and human workers in order to pull off, so it's harder to hide effectively. Again, this is different from trying to disarm an entire populace.

    The only way I can think of to enforce a ban on surveillance would require extensive surveillance to find out who's violating the ban.

    Although they might be few, there will probably always be people like Snowden who will try to alert us of the government's wrongdoing. The problem here is not that we don't know that the surveillance is occurring; it's that we are not holding the lawbreakers accountable.

    So again, serious question, do you have a workable plan to stop surveillance?

    For license plate readers and red light cameras, we should simply completely ban the government's use of them. No chance of surveillance if they don't have the equipment to pull it off. Allow no taxpayer dollars to be spent on their massive surveillance, challenge the government in court at every turn, destroy the surveillance equipment if necessary, and if and when the courts finally get the point, properly punish the government lawbreakers for trying to overthrow our constitutional form of government. Your local government is also easier to influence, so license plate readers and such should be easier to challenge.

    We'll probably have to rely on whistleblowers in the end, and then we have to punish the government when it breaks the law, which we aren't doing currently.

    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday December 07 2015, @01:20PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Monday December 07 2015, @01:20PM (#272872)

      Acknowledged.

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
  • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Monday December 07 2015, @06:34AM

    by Gravis (4596) on Monday December 07 2015, @06:34AM (#272787)

    So again, serious question, do you have a workable plan to stop surveillance?

    i believe the issue is mass surveillance, not your run of the mill surveillance. however, there are wheels in motion to stop mass surveillance. it's slow, it will take years if not decades but it's merely a matter of time. the system works, it's just slow on a human timescale. while it's nice to think we can demand someone fork over a master plan to solve all of societies ills, it's best to remember that society is the plan to solve societies ills.