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Posts Tagged ‘Traffic cameras’

The Washington Post has published a lengthy and comprehensive article about the U.S.’s domestic spy grid that’s worth reading in its entirety. Here’s a telling remark from the introduction, something we’ve been observing at “Government Against the People” since the blog’s inception:  “Technologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have migrated into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America.” We first pointed out this principle in a December 2009 post and have done so again in several posts subsequently. This migration of weapons, tools, and weapons from the battlefield to the homefront is one of the most important principles to understand as our country is incrementally locked down and tyranny is introduced to the Land of the Formerly Free.

Who are the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan? Anyone who resists the corporate-colonial occupiers. Who are the domestic terrorists here at home? Anyone who resists the wholesale, high-tech violation of privacy and liberty being committed by a rogue government, with corporate sponsorship, against the people. In short, a domestic terrorist is anyone who believes in and stands up for the Enlightenment Age ideals upon which our nation was founded.

Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.

Other democracies – Britain and Israel, to name two – are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.

This localized intelligence apparatus is part of a larger Top Secret America created since the attacks. In July, The Washington Post described an alternative geography of the United States, one that has grown so large, unwieldy and secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or how many programs exist within it.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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Who cares about the will of the people when revenue for the government is involved?

Officials in Houston, Texas are in the stage of denial regarding the public vote to ban the use of red light cameras. Despite losing by six percentage points, Mayor Annise D. Parker is not ready to shut down the program. The language approved by voters Tuesday as an amendment to the city charter is unambiguous.

“The city of Houston shall not use photographic traffic signal enforcement systems to civilly, criminally, or administratively enforce any state law or city ordinance against the owner or operator of a vehicle operated in violation of a traffic control signal, specified by Section 544.007(d) of the Texas Transportation Code, nor shall it collect any money from any recipient of a notice of violation issued, in whole or in part, in connection with the use of a photographic traffic signal enforcement system,” Proposition 3 stated.

Houston is home to one of the largest automated ticketing programs in the country. Its seventy cameras generate about one-fifth of the total photo enforcement revenue for the entire state. In the last fiscal year, Houston cameras issued 236,812 tickets worth $17,760,900 — double the amount of the next largest camera program in Dallas. This regular stream of revenue is divided between the state, the city, and the vendor in charge of the program, American Traffic Solutions (ATS). The largest shareholder in ATS, with a 30 percent stake, is the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs.

Read more at theNewspaper.com.

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Just another incremental step in the tightening of the noose. People may complain for a while, but eventually this latest outrage will recede into the background. When’s the last time you heard anyone talk about warrantless wiretapping? It’s just an accepted part of our reality now.

Even the most law-abiding driver might feel a shiver down the spine when spotting this speed camera at the roadside.

For as well as detecting speeding, it is packed with gizmos that check number plates to make sure insurance and tax are up to date.

It also measures the distance between vehicles to spot tailgating and takes pictures of the inside of the car – to make sure you are wearing a seat belt.

The latest weapon in speed camera technology can capture footage from 150ft away.

It is the first to detect multiple offences at the same time and is connected to police computers via satellite, so that prosecutions can be started within seconds of any offence.

Development of the system, known as Asset – Advanced Safety and Driver Support for Essential Road Transport – is being funded with around £7million of European money.

Read more at The Daily Mail.

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There are two things to learn from the experience of Arizona. If enough people ignore a law, it will go away. And a ticket received by unregistered and uncertified mail may be thrown in the trash with no consequences. A ticket has no authority or standing if it is not properly served.

PHOENIX — Dozens of photo-enforcement cameras on freeways throughout the state are coming down this week.

A total of 76 cameras will cease operation on Thursday.

The photo-enforcement program, which was meant to catch speeders on Arizona’s freeways, has been controversial from the beginning. The cameras first went up nearly two years ago.

While the cameras have done a good job at snapping speeders, drivers have been ignoring the tickets.

According to the Department of Public Safety, the cameras led to more than 700,000 tickets in the first year of operation. Many of those people, however, never paid the fines.

Some say that’s because the tickets were mailed, making them easy to ignore.

Read more at azfamily.com.

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Smile. You’re being watched.

The war on terror is a worldwide endeavor that has spurred massive investment into the global surveillance industry – which now seems to be becoming a war on “liberty and privacy.”  Given all of the new monitoring technology being implemented, the uproar over warrantless wiretaps now seems moot.  High-tech, first-world countries  are being tracked, traced, and databased, literally around every corner.  Governments, aided by private companies, are gathering a mountain of information on average citizens who so far seem willing to trade liberty for supposed security.

Read the list at Activist Post.

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Push the people too hard and too far and they’ll fight back.

Reporting from Phoenix – Arizonans drive long distances on their highways, and they like to do it fast.

But since the Grand Canyon State began enforcing speed limits with roadside cameras, motorists are raging against the machines: They have blocked out the lenses with Post-it notes or Silly String. During the Christmas holidays, they covered the cameras with boxes, complete with wrapping paper.

One dissenting citizen went after a camera with a pick ax.

Read more at The Los Angeles Times.

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You thought the red light camera racket was bad? What do you think about governments profiting from roadside checkpoints?

Sobriety checkpoints in California are increasingly turning into profitable operations for local police departments—operations that are far more likely to seize cars from unlicensed motorists than catch drunk drivers. An investigation by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley with California Watch has found that impounds at checkpoints in 2009 generated an estimated $40 million in towing fees and police fines—revenue that cities divide with towing firms. In addition, police officers received about $30 million in overtime pay for the DUI crackdowns, funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Read more at Mother Jones.

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