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posted by CoolHand on Wednesday April 29 2015, @03:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-creepy-at-all dept.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning of a new surveillance technology to look out for alongside drones, automatic license plate readers, facial recognition, IMSI catchers (like Stingray), and Rapid DNA analyzers. It's Xerox's new and improved system for Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection, also known as Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection or Automated Vehicle Occupancy Verification:

For years, government agencies have chased technologies that would make it easier to ensure that vehicles in carpool lanes are actually carrying multiple passengers. Perhaps the only reason these systems haven't garnered much attention is that they haven't been particularly effective or accurate, as UC Berkeley researchers noted in a 2011 report.

Now, an agency in San Diego, Calif. believes it may have found the answer: the Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection system developed by Xerox.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), a government umbrella group that develops transportation and public safety initiatives across the San Diego County region, estimates that 15% of drivers in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes aren't supposed to be there. After coming up short with earlier experimental projects, the agency is now testing a brand new technology to crack down on carpool-lane scofflaws on the I-15 freeway.

Documents obtained by CBS 8 reporter David Gotfredson show that Xerox's system uses two cameras to capture the front and side views of a car's interior. Then "video analytics" and "geometric algorithms" are used to detect whether the seats are occupied.

When the detection system's computer determines a driver is improperly traveling in the carpool lane, the cameras instantly send photos of the car's interior and its license plate to the California Highway Patrol.

In short: the technology is looking at your image, the image of the people you're with, your location, and your license plate. (SANDAG told CBS the systems will not be storing license plate data during the trial phase and the system will, at least for now, automatically redact images of drivers and passengers. Xerox's software, however, allows police the option of using a weaker form of redaction that can be reversed on request.)

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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday April 29 2015, @05:06PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday April 29 2015, @05:06PM (#176728)

    With respect to the idea of HOV being illegal or stupid, I agree, and I'm reminded of the argument against banning gay marriage that the .gov really has no business enshrining religious dogma in law, so the best way to fix the problem would be to excise marriage entirely out of the .gov, make marriage no longer exist from a legal perspective.

    I see no reason why, after removal of the religious institution of marriage from the .gov, something can't be set up to cheaply handle any kind of partnership any adults desire. Nor any reason to see a problem with it. My wife has legal power of attorney over an elderly great uncle currently slowly dying of Alzheimers, and her being able to sign his legal documents and make medical decisions has basically nothing to do with Jesus or the Bible or getting married while simultaneously being married to me. Its none of the .gov business what happens in church and none of the church's business what happens in .gov.

    So the best way to solve the HOV implementation problem is to get rid of the dumb idea of HOV lanes. Its like arguing who has the most elegant divide by zero exception handler instead of fixing the code so you don't divide by zero in the first place. Also in this case it would give people one less thing to make fun of California for.

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  • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Wednesday April 29 2015, @05:25PM

    by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Wednesday April 29 2015, @05:25PM (#176736) Journal

    Most of the stupidity or illegality (aka "overreach") involved with government persists because Americans have largely forgotten the original source for the US fedgov's founding charter is ultimately a derivative of a single human's authority, and as such, cannot legitimately exceed the authority of its source. (The same is true for State governments as well.)

    HOV lanes, government involvement with marriages, and other interferences persist because such are imposed at gunpoint by agents of government, and/or because some individuals refuse to take responsibility for their own choices and turn with wailing and gnashing of teeth to government courts to seek a club of so-called law with which to strike another person with.

    Thus, I counter with the claim that the best way to solve problems such as HOV implementation is to remind people in and out of government that forcing such choices on people is literally criminal. Seems to me that one approach that strikes the root of all such issues is better than trying to pick a way to solve one of a thousand "leaf" issues.