Then and Now: The Surveillance Playbook

November 15, 2010

Recent implementations of surveillance systems have followed a predictable playbook.

Politicians, government agencies, and corporations are pitting their collective agendas against us, and the rights of the individual are suffering.

Before heading up the Department of Homeland Security, then-Governor Janet Napolitano spearheaded the creation of a widespread surveillance system in Arizona. This article aims to show that while the names of the players change (Then DPS, now TSA; Then Redflex, Now RapiScan; etc), the game stays the same.

Creating the Problem

Then: As Governor, Napolitano urgently forces into place a statewide “photo enforcement” scheme on Arizona highways. A private contractor (Redflex) benefits and provides the surveillance equipment.

Now: As DHS Director, Napolitano rolls out “advanced imaging” scanners at airports nationwide while urging (threatening) other countries to follow suit. A private contractor (RapiScan) benefits and provides the surveillance equipment.

Mission Creep

Then: Redflex’s roadside ticketing cameras are found to record and transmit video 24 hours a day, despite denials by company lobbyists. Politicians feign outrage.

Now: RapiScan’s virtual strip machines are discovered to be capable of storing and transmitting images of travelers. Politicians feign outrage.

Alphabet Soup Agencies and Technological Snake Oil

Then: The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) is charged with running the statewide surveillance network and vehemently defends its use. Phony statistics are used by the department to “prove” effectiveness, causing even supporting organizations such as AAA to question the official stats.

Now: Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents utilize body scanners across the United States and agency officials vehemently defend their use, despite a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which stated that such measures would not have stopped the so-called (attempted) “underwear bomber,” the exact incident which prompted the accelerated rollout of such scanners.

Unequal Protection Under the Law and Lacking Common Sense

Then: Under RedflexDPS’ automated ticketing and surveillance scheme, no two drivers are protected equally under the law. A driver with his true home address on file is much more likely to be served in-person with a ticket, while a ticket may not even be mailed if the vehicle is registered to a corporation.

Now: For the most part,  TSA randomly selects who is to submit to a naked body scan, creating a clear standard of unequal protection. One can only hope that a true terrorist doesn’t slip through security because agents are too busy subjecting Grandma to “additional screening” for her carry-on pies.

Make it Clear Who’s Boss

Then: After outsourcing their responsibilities to Redflex, DPS created a unit to target and harass those who openly taunted their surveillance network. Detectives in the so-called “frequent flyer” division addressed the pressing threat of masked drivers and possible political opponents. When a horrible act of violence claimed the life of a photo radar company employee, DPS seized the opportunity to blame their opponents for being too “vocal.”

Now: TSA agents use the threat of “enhanced patdowns” —up and to the point of physical agent contact with travelers’ genitals (groping)— to prompt “compliance” with naked body scans. Those who “opt out” of naked body scans are publicly singled out, with widespread reports of TSA agents screaming “We have an Opt Out!” when confronted with a dissenter.

Conclusion

These parallel stories (ticketing cameras vs. naked body scanners) follow the same plot: The false promise of increased transportation safety via intrusive government surveillance.

Meanwhile, the inherent human right of freedom of movement is so severely crippled that obedient “compliance” is not only expected, but required.

Government regulations create a de facto monopoly over both roadways and airways regarding what hoops you will be required to jump through in order to proceed to your destination. Have the wrong papers or cross the wrong government agent, and you may find yourself detained, arrested, or even killed.

Welcome to the new United States: Land of the Fees, and Home of the Slaves

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CameraFRAUD Events Aug / Sep 2010

August 10, 2010

Celebrating Two Years of Fighting Automated Ticketing

Paradise Regained – Tuesday, Aug 10th @ 7:00 PM:

Monthly Meeting – Tuesday, Aug 17th @ 7:00 PM:

Sign Making Party – Saturday, Aug 28th @ 12:00 PM


Victory Lap for Liberty – Friday, Sep 3rd @ 12:00 PM:



Surveillance-Peddlers Push Bogus Studies

October 22, 2009

surveillance

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?


Liberty vs. Michael Bloomberg

October 14, 2009

nevermindLiberty: “…a condition in which an individual has the right to act according to his or her own will,” or “freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “We live in a world where we have to have a balance. We can’t just say everybody can go everyplace and do anything they want.

From the New York Times:

A network of private and public surveillance cameras, license plate readers and weapons sensors already established in Lower Manhattan as an electronic bulwark against terrorist attacks will soon expand to a large patch of Midtown Manhattan, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said Sunday as they announced the allocation of $24 million in Homeland Security grants toward the effort.

…Like the system downtown, the expanded surveillance network would feed streams of data for analysis to a coordination center… Behind the mayor, a 40-foot video wall displayed maps, incoming data from a police precinct and more than a dozen video streams, many of them showing tourists taking photographs on a sunny day.


Gatso Exec Invokes 9/11

August 5, 2009

burn-gatsoAndrew Noble, president of photo radar manufacturer Gatso USA, recently invoked 9/11 as a reason he believes the public is becoming more accepting to surveillance in the form of automated ticketing during an audio interview with “Traffic Technology Today”:

…We’ve seen an increase if you like on public acceptance of surveillance / security — CCTV cameras are on the increase in the US.

9/11 had a big impact on that and the idea that to some extent safety does come with increased security surveillance.

And so there’s less pushback now on the idea of cameras in the community.

Extensive CCTV cameras did nothing to prevent 9/11.

Remember this?

Someone should really inform Mr. Noble that the plethora of existing CCTV cameras did nothing to prevent 9/11. In addition, the notion that “safety” comes only with increased government surveillance is laughable. A $340 million dollar (USD) camera network in London proves it:

…an analysis of the publicly funded spy network, which is owned and controlled by local authorities and Transport for London, has cast doubt on its ability to help solve crime.

A comparison of the number of cameras in each London borough with the proportion of crimes solved there found that police are no more likely to catch offenders in areas with hundreds of cameras than in those with hardly any.

In fact, four out of five of the boroughs with the most cameras have a record of solving crime that is below average.

onemillion

It's always about the money

With the “safety” argument out of the way, what could possibly be the motive for increased surveillance of the public? Just keep listening to Gatso’s Noble as he admits the truth:

The second thing, quite frankly, is money in those communities.

Money money money. “Bucketfuls of money,” as one Prescott, Arizona councilman put it.

Oh, and just in case you want to contact Gatso, you can call or email Kristin Noble (Andrew’s wife?). I’m sure they’re always looking for good suggestions on where they can stick their cameras.

Kristin Noble
(978) 922-7296
k.noble@gatso.com


Cameras to Track Everyone, Everywhere

September 16, 2008

“They’re Watching YOU,” that’s what the sign read a month ago in the background of a CameraFRAUD.com interview with ABC 15. Now we’re realizing just how true that statement is about to become (theNewspaper.com).

“Private companies in the US are hoping to use red light cameras and speed cameras as the basis for a nationwide surveillance network similar to one that will be active next year in the UK. Redflex and American Traffic Solutions (ATS) … are quietly shopping new motorist tracking options to prospective state and local government clients…

We are moving into areas such as homeland security on a national level and on a local level,” Redflex regional director Cherif Elsadek said. “Optical character recognition is our next roll out which will be coming out in a few months — probably about five months or so.”

ATS… in a recent proposal to operate 200 speed cameras for the Arizona state police, …explained that its ticketing cameras could be integrated into a national vehicle tracking database.

Wikipedia defines “mission creep” as “…the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes.”

Traffic cameras, which were initially built and maintained for speed enforcement, can easily be upgraded to monitor red-light violations, tire tread depth, right-turn violations, and just about any application you can think of.

With the open admission from Redflex regarding optical character recognition upgrades, it has become blatently obvious that the foreign-owned company will stop at nothing short of becoming a full-fledged quasi-police/government agency, right in the footsteps of Blackwater.

Even more disturbing is our own state government’s complicity and treasonous actions encouraging the rampant destruction of the basics of a free society: the right of law-abiding citizens to be autonomous and anonymous, to be secure in their papers and posessions, and the right to live free from unnecessary government intervention in their day-to-day lives.

A pre-2008 Arizona license plate is shown (left), with a distinct 6-character system and embossed metal stamping. The new Arizona license plate (right) is compatible with automated character recognition systems.

The new plates are printed, not embossed, to aid with plate character capture, feature a clearer (and slightly more dark) font, while incorporating a dual-strand of holographic material down the middle. (Plate Images courtesy of AZ Plates.com)


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