Watching Me Watching You

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As Katherine Mangu-Ward noted earlier this week, angry British drivers enjoy repeatedly vandalizing speed cameras. Scottish officials have thought long and hard about this problem. Now they have a solution:

Speed cameras in the Scottish Borders may soon be monitored by security cameras to protect them from vandals.

Whole thing here.

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  1. Curiouser and curiouser.

  2. That really strikes me as something right out of Brazil.

  3. Sounds like certain Scottish officials are unfamiliar with the phrase “target-rich environment.”

  4. ….then they will instal cameras to protect those cameras until we get a feedback loop that makes the system implode.

  5. I guess the solution is just to install monitoring devices in everyones’ vehicles.

    Uh… wait a second…

  6. You have to wonder though, why it took them so long to come up with that.

    But what I really want to know is why doesn’t that happen here?

  7. Well, lucky for the Scots, nobody will use a sword to take out the cameras.

    Oh, and great JT reference!

  8. The article didn’t really say, but I imagine the idea is that the speed cameras have to be positioned at a certain an angle and height (to read car license plates as they whiz by) that makes them easy targets. Security cameras monitoring the traffic cameras could be placed out of easy reach or hidden.

  9. Security cameras monitoring the traffic cameras could be placed out of easy reach or hidden.

    Has anyone here ever had difficulty IDing “hidden” security cameras?

  10. Quid custodiet ipsos custodes?

    Now let’s see if the Brits can continue to the point that there’s a policeman guarding the security cameras watching the speed cameras.

  11. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    We need some kind of disruptor that zaps cameras and other electronic monitoring equipment within a certain radius. Freedom through technology.

  12. That’s gotta be a “The Onion” headline.

  13. Has anyone here ever had difficulty IDing “hidden” security cameras?

    Um…how would you know?

  14. Why don’t the overlords just get on with it and install cameras in all our bedrooms while they are at it!

    But alas I guess this is just another one of those efficent government programs Haywood talks about.

    Would this mean Big Brother now has a Bigger Brother to watch over Big Brother in the event people who are always being told they are FREE decide to free themselves of the Big Brothers ever present all seeing watchful eye with their cameras?

    A simple taser on a stick should fry any cameras electronics. Then there is always the high powered pellet gun with sound moderator that should work quite well also. Oh wait I forget they restrict their citizens to airguns with a max of 12 ft. lbs. energy. Anything over that and they need a firearms certificate.

    This is really no big surprise when I think about it. They were more than happy to have gun control laws passed so it is no big surprise those same folks are now having their nannies watch their every move as well.

    Ah yes, Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.. As defined by our nannies at least.

  15. Hmmm. Perhaps satellites could be used to watch each traffic light camera. Or, in a similar vein, maybe something like a live Google Earth could be implemented that would allow all of us to help watch everything 24/7. Clearly, we need to launch about a billion more satellites for this plan to work.

    On the other hand, what about the satellites? What if some of those Virgin Galactic passengers have vandalism in their hearts? Who will watch the satellites?

  16. Um…how would you know?
    I use the same deductive reasoning that allows me to say, “Look, an unmarked cop car.”

  17. On the other hand, what about the satellites? What if some of those Virgin Galactic passengers have vandalism in their hearts? Who will watch the satellites?

    Ground based telescopes in EMP hardened enclosures, of course.

  18. C’mon guys, this an easy fix. Just mount another security camera on top of the speeding camera to watch the first security camera.

  19. J sub D,

    But what happens if sharks with lasers attached to their heads swim under the EMP-hardened enclosure and take out the telescopes?

  20. taktix,

    Trained remoras?

    This is getting us nowhere. It’s obvious that we need some sort of Ur-Watcher, a prime watcher unwatched, if you will.

  21. Is the title of this post an ABBA reference?

  22. What about God?

    Oh yeah, I forgot he doesn’t exist for a minute there.

  23. I know… SANTA!

  24. FingFangFoom,
    If I am not mistaken, it is Jethro Tull

  25. If one camera is recording the road, and another is recording that camera, couldn’t they just vandalize the second camera first?

  26. What is the sound of one camera taping?

  27. Just don’t allow cars to drive in the intersections with cameras and there will be no incentive to smash them.

  28. Someday, cars will have variable restrictor plates attached to tiny receivers, so that when you pass a speed limit sign, your top allowed speed is adjusted to the new speed limit. No more speeding, no more traffic tickets, and a lot of cops put out of work.

    Any takers?

  29. In case anyone wonders “restrictor plates” isn’t meatn to be taken literally. My guess is there would be a limiter in the onboard computer that would act like a restrictor plate to enforce a maximum speed.

  30. My guess is there would be a limiter in the onboard computer that would act like a restrictor plate to enforce a maximum speed.

    I smell one hell of a business opportunity.

  31. Little wonder Tony Blair wants a sample of every Brit’s DNA on file.

    A quick note: Great Britain has more closed-circuit TV cameras than all the rest of Europe combined.

  32. “maybe something like a live Google Earth could be implemented that would allow all of us to help watch everything 24/7.”

    I can’t tell you how cool that sounds. Aside from the obvious privacy issues, it’d be pretty damned cool to log onto google earth and just watch the planet, real time.

  33. R C Dean | January 25, 2007, 5:42pm | #
    My guess is there would be a limiter in the onboard computer that would act like a restrictor plate to enforce a maximum speed.

    I smell one hell of a business opportunity.

    The DOJ had fits over “aftermarket” cable descramblers, imagine what this will do to them. [insert maniacal laughter here]

  34. RC Dean,

    I’m considering whipping up a quick patent application. However, after seeing how the government screwed over Philip French, I wonder if it’s worth the trouble.

  35. Never mind, according to Google Patents, it’s already been granted a patent about 837 times.

  36. Evan!,

    Total transparency has been tossed about as an idea for a while, but I do recall David Brin writing about it in his The Transparent Society. I never read the book, but he talked about it some when I met him at a conference around the time he published it. His take seemed to be (if memory serves) that losing individual privacy to other people, corporations, and to the government would be offset in our ability, as citizens, to spy on other people, corporations, and the government.

  37. Who’s watching the watchers?

  38. This whole thing would be a lot cheaper and easier if they just put Uatu on the government dole.

  39. I find this whole conversation to be quite Juvenal.

  40. Slingshots / ball bearings

  41. “We need some kind of disruptor that zaps cameras and other electronic monitoring equipment within a certain radius. Freedom through technology.”

    It’s called a “BB gun.” Of course, I think the Brits have to get a license for those, too.

  42. new jaguar xk8’s have something like a reverse cruise control programmable button you push in speed camera zones to limit the car to the speed limit, because speed cameras are so prevalent and inescapable in britain

  43. This whole thing would be a lot cheaper and easier if they just put Uatu on the government dole.

    Didn’t you read “Trial of the Watcher”? He promised never to intervene in Earth’s affairs again. Uatu would never lie.

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