* A long and fascinating UK Register article on the UK's just-rolling-out Automatic Number Plate Recognition system, which has
the goal of deploying a network of over 2,000 cameras on motorways, major roads and city centres. The system is claimed to be able to run database checks on 3,600 plates per hour, on vehicles travelling at speeds of up to 100 mph—but there are just a few snags.
The UK ANPR system is intended to automatically alert police if a car is stolen, if road tax hasn't been paid or the MoT is out of date, or if the driver is uninsured. For good measure, it's supposed to check whether there is a warrant for the arrest of the driver, or whether the driver is for some reason under police surveillance. Register readers being quick, most of you will have spotted a few slight snags there, but we'll get back to them; the most immediate problem is the state of the databases being checked.
The nature of some of those database problems is detailed in the rest of the piece, worth reading in its entirety.
* A BBC News story that raises interesting questions about how savvy, or concerned, people are about protecting their privacy. A fake survey team allegedly giving out theater tickets got an overwhelming majority to give "fake researchers…everything they needed to pose as those taking part, to take out credit cards in their name and even open bank accounts."
* John Gilmore, who is suing over the airline I.D. requirements, gives a fresh, detailed, and impassioned explanation of why what he's doing is important for Americans' rights. An excerpt:
No law requires me to have an ID. I don't have one, precisely because I want to be the canary in the coal mine. I want to know how many rights an honest, hard-working, un-documented person still has. The only way to find out is to live that way. I'll tell you what I've learned.
I have many bank accounts; I'm a wealthy man. My signature and my money were always good enough for the commercial purposes of the banks and brokers involved. But now I can't open another account, because the PATRIOT Act demands an ID that the banks don't themselves need. Will the next law require that my banks close all my existing accounts? I won't be able to have a checkbook or a debit card without getting a government-issued ID? I'll have to keep my money in my mattress and my stock certificates buried in the backyard? It's already that way for young people who haven't opened their first account.
The ID demand is justified by checking it against a list of "terrorists". These are not terrorists—they are terrorist *suspects*. No conservative has questioned whether the Executive Branch has the power to make an enemies list of suspects, without warrants, charges, proof, judges, juries, or convictions, and deny fundamental constitutional rights to the people on that list. I question it. Will you?