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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Slippery slope confirmed, but no one cares.

Redflex, the spy camera company that installed speed cameras on the 101 Freeway that goes through Scottsdale (and whose national HQ is at 15020 N 74th St in Scottsdale) may begin switching some of its cameras over from red light versions to surveillance cameras as one California town hopes to start using them for policing and prosecution beyond red light running. Here's your ammunition for you slippery slope argument. Still, fighting against them in the realm of public opinion is an uphill fight as recent poll numbers suggest.

Check out these two stories:

Surveillance Cameras Win Broad Support

There's some interesting polling here, but it boils down to the fact that most everyone seems to be down with the cameras, which pretty much means the only possible check on them - the actions and opinions of regular folks - is not doing the trick because the elites are winning the idealogical battle. That basically means that the government wants them, the business class wants them, and the people want them. Guess what? We're going to get a lot of them under those conditions.

Nonetheless, majority support for surveillance cameras crosses political, ideological and population groups, albeit with differences in degree.

Seniors are most apt to support the increased use of these cameras, with under-30s, least so; Republicans more than Democrats; women more than men; higher educated people more than the less educated; and whites more than African-Americans.
California City to Transform Red Light Cameras Into Spy Cameras

Looks like the slippery slope argument is true.
Privacy advocates have long viewed red light cameras with the suspicion that the devices were the first step down a path of increased surveillance. Those fears may come true as the city of Oakland, California has revealed that it is working with the state legislature to secure a change in the law that will allow red light cameras to become full-scale surveillance cameras. In a memo from the Oakland Police Department dated June 26, Police Chief Wayne G. Tucker recommended that the city's lobbyist be ordered to advocate a new law in Sacramento.

"The legislation would also allow the use of those (red light camera) images for evidentiary purposes other than the enforcement of red light violations, such as reckless driving, assaults, public nuisance activity, drug dealing, etc."

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