The price of revenge – pranking speed cameras

Paul Raven @ 22-12-2008

UK-style GATSO traffic speed cameraYet again, the street finds its own use for things – even the things installed by The Man to make the street safe. Students in Maryland in the US have hit upon the idea of making up fake license plates for their cars which match those of someone on whom they wish to exact a bit of revenge, and then driving past the automatic speed cameras in the area at high speeds. End result? The unsuspecting victim is automatically sent a ticket for speeding, even though they didn’t do it. [via SlashDot]

Of course, we Brits have our own version of the same system, but over here people clone the plates of similar vehicles for the purpose of avoiding their own fines; they’re not so bothered about who ends up paying them, so long as it’s not them.

Remember, folks: state-owned automated surveillance systems. If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’re perfectly safe.

Well, mostly. [image by 91RS]


New UK smart CCTV cameras detect ‘precrimes’

Paul Raven @ 29-11-2008

"one nation under cctv" by BanksyLiving in a small city like mine, it’s not often one gets to feel that one is at the cutting edge of an emerging future society.

So how lucky for myself and the other residents of the over-stretched city of Portsmouth that we are the first town in the UK to be under the observation of Phildickian ‘smart’ CCTV cameras that are programmed to flag up an alert when they observe ‘suspicious behaviour’ that might indicate a crime is about to be committed.

You know, those sure-fire indicators of criminality… such as standing still for a while, or stopping to talk to someone. I would like to take this opportunity to praise the glorious leadership of Airstrip One for going to such efforts to ensure that any and all double-plus-ungood actions can be eradicated before they even have a chance to occur!

If anyone needs me, I’ll be typing a letter to the German Embassy requesting political asylum. [image by JapanBlack]


Surveillance state update: The war on documentation

Tom Marcinko @ 04-09-2008

big-brotherFormer FBI agent and current ACLU lawyer Michael German shares some insights into the mentality behind the arrests of journos and other mostly harmless people at some shindig or other that was going on in St. Paul, MN this week.

He cites guidelines issued to the LAPD:

It lists 65 behaviors that they say are behaviors related to terrorism, and the one that pertains here is “takes pictures or video footage.” [The entry on p. 40 reads: “Takes pictures or video footage (with no apparent esthetic value, i.e., camera angles, security equipment, security personnel, traffic lights, building entrances, etc.).”] “No apparent esthetic values?” So apparently they’re going to be sending police officers to art school to understand esthetic values.

But it actually mentions taking video footage of taking video footage of security personnel. So the mere taking of photographs or video footage of law enforcement – even law enforcement doing something improperly – they’ve identified that as a precursor to terrorism. So now you might understand why these police officers are focusing on people with cameras. It’s because it’s actual policy to do so.

[Interview: David Neiwert, firedoglake; image: mikecolvin82]


Japanese teen smokers hack age verification with bank-notes

Paul Raven @ 08-07-2008

Tokyo vending machinesEverything can and will be hacked; once you have the motivation sussed, the exploits will be close behind.

Point in case: Japanese cigarette vending machines have age-verification cameras fitted to them to prevent teens from illegally purchasing tobacco. A great idea, and a typically Japanese high-tech fix for a social problem, right? [image by midorisyu]

Well, it might have been – if the kids hadn’t sussed out that the cameras can be fooled by not just pictures from magazines but the portraits of historical figures on bank-notes. Back to the drawing board – I wouldn’t want to be on the R&D team of the company that makes those vending machines right now.