Wednesday, September 19, 2007

They're Watching Us

I can't belive it took me this long to notice, but from the 2nd floor of my 2 story house I can see one of those I275 traffic cameras mounted on an 80 ft pole. My immediate reaction was and is "if I can see it from my window, it can certainly see me." And of course, it's true and scary for all of us living near the Interstate or many local intersections.

Here are some clips from a story I found that speaks of it:

At major intersections and interstates, you may have noticed another type of camera perched atop light signals or 80-foot poles. These traffic cameras, white-and-black dome-shaped devices resembling R2D2, are closed-circuit TV cameras operated by local, county or state departments of transportation.

"We'd like to have a camera every mile," says Bill Wilshire, who heads FDOT's Intelligent Transportation Program that calls for cameras to line I-275 ... and all major roadways and intersections ...

Officials say the cameras help identify accidents, alert emergency authorities and help the public avoid long delays.

Then why do local governments need high-tech cameras that can pan, tilt or zoom, wonders Brown, the surveillance critic.

"If you need to passively observe traffic flows at an intersection, you don't need a camera with pan, tilt or zoom -- you can use a fixed camera," he says by phone from his New York City home. "It exceeds what they're trying to do with it. If the Department of Transportation wants to see if there's a traffic jam at a certain intersection, that is OK, but it seems that they should be limited to what kinds of cameras they're using, especially if they can peer into automobiles." *Blog entry author note: If this is possible, looking into homes flanking those roads has to also be possible.

Jacobs says the zoom allows them to see a half-mile down a roadway, helping them to gauge how far traffic is backed up in any one place. But he doesn't discount that as the cameras become more integrated with communication systems used by emergency personnel, the video could one day be used for enforcement.

"That seems to be almost a reverse of 'Peeping Tom' statutes," he says. "A Peeping Tom cannot stand outside your window and photograph into your window, and the same thing seems to apply that someone shouldn't shoot out of a window indiscriminately for the purpose of entertaining people."

Of course, as you can tell, I'm pretty weirded out by the situation, but to see both sides of the story I pulled from, visit:


Torgo said...

Just found another story from the Orlando Sentinel (which I'm going to choose not to believe - for now) where reporter Sellew Nosroeven indicates these type of “Traffic Camera Poles” are also used as radio signal receivers used "to tap into cell phone calls statewide."

I don't consider myself a full-fledge conspiracy theorist, so I leave this story for speculation ...

Michelle said...

Torgo, quick! Wrap aluminum foil around your head and walk backwards. Then they can't get into your head!!!!!!! JUST KIDDING!

Can we say.....Big Brother? Another Bush incentive. Yeah for the Patriot Act!

Torgo said...

If you're not for the Patriot Act, you must hate your country and want all the U.S. troops in Iraq to die!

(Michelle, I suggest you stick with this reasoning when the FBI arrests you for talking out against the government.)

Mal Carne said...

Freedom Haters.