Surveillance-Peddlers Push Bogus Studies


They're watching you... but who's watching them?

Companies on the forefront of invasive and liberty-threatening surveillance systems are on the attack, paying big bucks for studies to “prove” that everyone loves being watched.

American Traffic Solutions, a red light camera and photo radar profiteer, claims a whopping 77 percent of NY voters supposedly support their revenue generating scheme. The “poll” was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, known for using trick questions and “push polling” to get the results desired by the client:

“As our roots are in political campaign management, our research is focused on producing information that compels decisions – and then results and across both political and public affairs research, as our tag line suggests, we work with our clients “Turning Questions into Answers.

BRS Labs, a developer of technology which “reports unusual or suspicious behaviors based on memories it has acquired through [surveillance camera] observations,” paid Harris Interactive to conclude 96 percent of Americans “feel the federal government… should be able to use video surveillance in an effort to counteract terrorism” and “protect” people in public places.

The survey continues:

“Four out of five adults feel that in extreme cases, such as a terrorist attack, the government should be able to use any available means to protect citizens…”

BRS’ product, “AiSight,” is an advanced snooping tool which compiles and records human activities into patterns. Patterns deemed unusual or unacceptable can be flagged. Independent camera systems can be integrated together, easily allowing a person to be tracked from place to place.

“AiSight takes visual input from a camera, learns what activities and behaviors are typical, and generates real-time alerts when it identifies activities that are not normal… It takes in external visual input (computer vision), while its machine learning engine observes the scene, learns and recognizes behavioral patterns and responds accordingly. Surveillance is 24/7…”

Feeling safer yet?

35 Responses to Surveillance-Peddlers Push Bogus Studies

  1. Surveillance-Peddlers Push Bogus Studies…
    Companies on the forefront of invasive and liberty-threatening surveillance systems are on the attack, paying big bucks for studies to “prove” that everyone loves being watched.
    American Traffic Solutions, a red light camera and photo r…

  2. metelhed says:

    I love how these polls are published without referring to the actual questions that were asked, how the respondents were selected, or any other data that would be relevant to deduce how they came up with their numbers. But the sheep will graze those numbers up and point to them whenever they feel threatened by those of us who know better.

    • B says:


      People MUST see the questions asked, and not just the results, in order to judge the objectivity of a poll, and of course, these companies never release their questions…

      Case in point: The infamous “63% support photo radar” poll, funded by ATS. The questions in the ATS poll that had the were truly eye-opening, but you never see those questions anymore…

      I can post the original questions from that ATS poll for anyone who wants them as proof of the “push poll” and other tricks involved…

  3. none says:

    Good article, but it failed to hammer home the most important point:

    When ANYONE tells you that 70-100% of people agree on something, they probably don’t… unless the questions are rigged or absurd to begin with.

    You won’t find 70 % agreement on the cuteness of teddy bears, let alone most public policy issues.

  4. LoneWolf says:

    I posted an Ohio county survey article on the previous CF article. It was based on a simple yes/no question. 30% of the people were for the scameras, 54% were opposed and 16% had mixed feelings about it. That tells you a lot about how people really feel without deceiving them with false safety statistics and throwing other trick questions at them. As for the smart surveillance system that BRS created, if flags are thrown because of certain unusual body movements, they’ll soon find themselves back at square one again once they learn that if people so much raise a finger or pick their noses in front of the camera, it could be construed as a signal for an accomplice to move in and attack. They’ll end up watching all of the monitors again.. Smart idea. Another million dollar system that could probably be disabled by a wad of chewing gum or a half-cent sticky note.

    • none says:

      No, you’re not thinking like Government(tm).

      When people disable those multi-million-dollar cam systems with sticky notes, Government(tm) will simply commission a million dollar study into the effectiveness of anti-sticky-note defense systems.

      Or they’re just outlaw all non DHS approved sticky notes.

      • LoneWolf says:

        But that million dollar study usually results in a camera pointing at a camera pointing at a camera and therefore, since sticky notes and bubble gum can disable those as well, $3 mil of our tax money is wasted. But looking on the bright side, whoever researches and operates these things will have great job security… at least until the cameras are smart enough to replace them too. (There’ll still be lots of sticky notes available through the black market)

  5. Cheese says:

    I don’t know who to contact or where to post it, but there is a new camera going in north bound on 35th ave at Dunlop. There is already e/w cameras but they were installing the north bound camera this afternoon.

  6. Mike McDooby says:

    I wonder what the polls (if any) said in Ohio. It looks like they’ve got a vote coming up:

  7. […] 23, 2009 in News Headline Alerts Categories Select Category Daily News Summary News Headline Alerts /* 0 ) { location.href […]

  8. Different View says:

    Maybe you could sdd this link to your website and ask the Mise family how they feel about people running red lights.

    • Josh says:

      What does an accident happening (due to a red light runner presumably) have to do with giving our liberties and freedoms and money to a private company? The cameras are for profit, not safety. Even if there was a camera at this intersection all it would have done is take a picture of the accident happening. How would that save lives?

    • Mike says:

      A camera wouldn’t have stopped that accident – it just would’ve taken a picture of it happening.

      • Dragonflydf says:

        and then sent a citation in the mail a month later. Yep, it would have done alot to stop that guy.
        I have never seen a camera stop a drunk driver. If you believe that scameras are for safety, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I will give you a great deal on, and I will even throw in some ocean front property in Parker to sweeten the deal.

      • Different View says:

        And a police officer in the area would have only been able to watch too. But you folks have highlighted the main point. Increased enforcement is a likely way to encourage better driving behavior. Even if its “better slow down so I don’t get nailed”. So then we should all agree that increased enforcement by live police and photo enforcement would improve safety, right?

        • LoneWolf says:

          Few people that run red lights are either not paying attention or they’re fleeing a pursuit by the police. But in most cases, there’s a lack of consistency among the timing for yellow and red lights. Timing is a key factor in reducing accidents. Because the state and camera companies are money-driven, they have been known to cheat and shorten the timing on the yellow lights. This increases the frequency of red-light runners which also increases the chance for accidents. Cameras at intersections have also been known to increase accidents, not decrease them. So contrary to what you believe about red-light photo enforcement, it’s not about safety, it’s about the money.

        • metelhed says:

          Increased enforcement has never been a reliable deterrent (A great example of that would be the so-called War on Drugs). It’s a temporary fix at whatever location you may post the cameras or police officers. If you really desire safer drivers, call out for better standards to obtain and retain a license.

          • The Keeper of the Seven Keys says:

            >>> call out for better standards
            >>> to obtain and retain
            >>> a license
            Double that. High rate of severe
            accidents is bitter price
            for licensing to be on the road
            virtually _ANYBODY_ on _ANYTHING_.

        • Dragonflydf says:

          I will never agree that photo enforcment is good for a deterrant. It never can be, it is only for revenue and monitering citizens.
          If too many people are running red lights, maybe they ought to look at the setting for the lights, or maybe some eduacation.
          I live in a area that has a number of large intersections that have angled left turn lanes. They are designed so you can go almost all the way to the crosswalk on the other side of the interstection while waiting for a opening or a yellow to turn left on. If used as designed, 3-5 cars can be in the intersection and turn left on a yellow, but too many times there is only one car that can turn, because they pulled out no further than thier own cars length. I have seen 15 or more cars waiting and backing up into the traffic lanes because of this.
          People get tired of waiting thru 3 or more lights to make a left turn, so they push the yellow. If people would use the intersection as designed, they would never have to wait more than 2 cycles of the lights.

          cameras are not the answer, never were, never will be.

    • Cathy says:

      A Different View, I agree with you that red-light fatality crashes are very, very disturbing. However, the belief that “something should be done” doesn’t mean “anything should be done.” Photo radar cameras wouldn’t have stopped the crash you posted. And you’re right, neither would a police officer.

      What does cut down on red light fatalities? Sometimes nothing. Sometimes better traffic engineering solutions (more visible traffic control signals, longer yellow lights, increased signage, etc.).

      But better traffic engineering is something that you just don’t see at intersections with photo radar cameras. In fact, photo radar is predicated on poor traffic engineering–which is the main reason I’m against it.

      Photo radar companies make a COMMISSION on each ticket paid. Why on earth would they want to REDUCE red-light runners? Instead, they bank on unpredictably short yellow lights and ill-defined intersection boundaries to violate the expectations of thousands of safe, conscientious, prudent drivers. Subsequently, they generate huge revenue.

    • I’m not sure they’d feel any better that the driver would be getting a ticket in the mail a few weeks later.

    • The Keeper of the Seven Keys says:

      >>> Mise laid the girl’s body next to
      >>> her mother’s as they waited for
      >>> paramedics to arrive, Rivera said.
      >>> Both had been ejected from the
      >>> vehicle during the crash.
      so, you’re assuming that scamera’s gonna explain to all the retards what the heck vehicle equipped with safety belts and carseats for, aren’t you?

    • Barnet says:

      While it is always sad when human life is lost, we must learn something from the tragedy. A couple of points to be noted are a camera would not have prevented this no matter how much one wishes. The three leading causes of intersection accidents are DUI/DWI, drugs or over-medicated patients. Second, First responders, fire engines, EMTs and police cars. Third Distracted drivers.
      Lastly, the final lesson is to wear seat belts otherwise people wouldn’t be ejected and die, especially kids.

  9. Sure says:

    DPS Commander Tom Woodward says patrolmen found the Loop 101 cameras onerous. He said they might have put the public’s safety at risk. “ It deterred officers assigned to the East Valley from working that area,” Woodward says. “We still responded to calls, but officers were not in that area working traffic proactively as much as they were prior to photo enforcement.”

    I am sure this woman had wished a there was an officer and not a camera around:

    15 second commercial first:

    • LoneWolf says:

      I’m getting a different video: Woman: Alleged Photo-Radar Shooter Tried To Run Her Off Road (Still interesting nonetheless.. she got a PR ticket while trying to flee from (possibly) the same guy who killed the PR van operator)

  10. Sure says:

    That was the same story I was talking about. Notice how the DPS officer in my earlier post said that officers avoid the cameras. Yet, she was snapped by a camera as she tried to get away from crazy freak guy.

  11. Barnet says:

    Having amassed a comprehensive library of Red Light Camera material, performed traffic safety research field studies and their effect for over 3 years, please read some results of this endeavor I present some of my observations. Also see

    (1) Most State physical driving exams do not test a driver’s ability to precisely position a vehicle’s front tires at the white stop line. The camera’s unflinching pinpoint accuracy to within inches establishes a much higher degree of vehicle positioning. This degree of accuracy is not tested during a physical driving test. Video instant replay is not part of driving school routines or testing program, they usually employ human driving examiners.

    (2) Red light camera video evidence may be interpreted differently according to local jurisdictional POLICIES established by each city’s perceived standards interpretation. This also may be influenced by 3rd party camera vendors’ own standards.

    (3) Law on this subject provides tolerance for equipment faults or errors, the cameras are never wrong!

    (4) The law also attempts to invalidate our U.S. Constitutional rights to due process of law, self-incrimination, right of the accused to face their accuser, be considered innocent UNTIL proven guilty and the right to quantify accusatory evidence (see Melendez Diaz v Massachusetts 6/2009) and let’s not forget taxation without representation.

  12. Barnet says:

    (5) These cameras are not required to meet any government criteria or standards. When you buy a pound of hamburger, buy a gallon of gas or take a cab ride all these transactions are regulated by certified instruments, why not the RED LIGHT TICKET CAMERAS?

    (6) When the public travels via escalator, elevator, passenger car, airplane, bus, ocean liner, etc. there is a natural public expectation these conveyances operate in a safe manner. Numerous government inspection laws and safety regulations were enacted to preserve the citizen’s rights to safe travel. To date, no government entity has established a single camera enforcement standard to protect motorists and pedestrians from malfunctioning cameras. Enforcement cameras around the country continue to malfunction, be improperly engineered, installed inadequately, poorly maintained while issuing millions in citation revenue. Many communities have reduced landscaping budgets while tree and vegetation growth goes untrimmed while cameras continue issuing invalid red light citations. Only the adept legal observer would notice the subtle change to the video evidence. Defendant camera vendors continue to exculpate themselves or limit liability for deaths is outrageous and unconscionable. This is why the State of Illinois among others requires a release of liability before issuing a camera enforcement permit.

    Georgia residents can be proud of their additional yellow time law that promotes safety and reduces third party incentive-driven law enforcement.
    BTW, Illinois law for stopping does not specify any degree of time, it says that stop means a complete cessation of all forward movement, but due to the camera’s low frame per second rate a short time may not be recorded.

  13. Stacey says:


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