back to article Number-plate spycams riddled with flaws, top cop admits

UK Police have been granted the right to continue to keep secret the locations of controversial automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, after winning a freedom of information tribunal - even as they admit that criminals know the whereabouts of some of the spycams. However, as reported by the Guardian, which has been …

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Big Brother

@Psyx

But lets remember the old saying about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions.

Consider the many times where a dictator has rallied the people around claims that he can fix all the problems and make things better. The modern western country is monitored in so many ways (whether it's monitoring web use, emails, instant messaging, financial transactions, cameras of all sorts) that you might dodge one method, but you can't escape. All it takes is an enigmatic leader to manage to take charge (through fair means or foul) and these tools would make removing such a person nearly impossible. Many a past secret police would be most jealous of modern capabilities. How do you organise opposition when the government can track every move of any 'suspect'?

And before you say it couldn't happen, I'm sure similar thoughts occurred in Imperial Russia and the Wiemar Republic.

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Gold badge

Re: You can't equate...

Thank you. And for the room temperature IQ brigade (who seem to be out in force today), please bear in mind that if a police state wants to pick on you then they'll just kick your door down one morning and drag you away. They won't bother to trump up some spurious charge relating to your car number plate.

If you don't know the difference between the UK and a police state, please emigrate to one and don't come back until you've found out. I hear Zimbabwe is nice at this time of year and you won't have to learn a new language.

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FAIL

Re: @Psyx

"But lets remember the old saying about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions."

Are you sure you don't work for the medieval church? What you are saying can be applied to ANY progress. ANY invention, social development, or idea can be put to evil use. You are saying that even though there are good intentions, we should not move forward in development.

NHS records...could be misused. So can that evil internet thing. The list goes on. Ban every development that improves life. Because a hypothetical person might TAKE OVER THE COUNTRY and misuse it.

"Consider the many times where a dictator has rallied the people around claims that he can fix all the problems and make things better."

Fortunately we are not about to be over-run by one. What a dictator might do to this country is not a reasonable excuse for not doing any one thing. If your fear of fixed number plate cameras is that a dictator might misuse them, then perhaps you are looking at the wrong thing to be afraid of. Look instead at stopping the dictator.

Which luckily, we're kinda good for. We have parliament. And Lords can over-rule and new law that disbands it, and the Queen can over-rule anything that strips us of the House of Lords. And if that all fails, the Army swears oaths to the Queen, not a dictator or the PM. So... y'know, I think we're safe.

"And before you say it couldn't happen, I'm sure similar thoughts occurred in Imperial Russia and the Wiemar Republic."

Really? Are you seriously taking that route in the course of debate?

Godwins; in all but name.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nevermind the gaps.

"Rearrange the following words into a well known phrase or saying:

State and Police."

Seriously? Is that what you believe? Then emigrate.

Preferably to a real, shit-hole police state with no right to protest, free speech, votes (or corrupt ballots), right to fail trial and policemen who beat confessions out of you with electrical cable.

I am sodding grateful for my rights here. It's not the best in the world, but it's in the top 10 or so. If you don't believe me, try being somewhere else.

Please.

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Silver badge

Re: Nevermind the gaps.

It isn't acceptable and never was. But lets face it the stupid 'if you have nothing to hide...' brigade have allowed this country to become a police state well beyond the worst nightmare of George Orwell. Everything you do, everywhere you go, everything you type, everything you say is collected, sifted and stored and WILL be used to extract money from you or jail you - whatever you haven't done.

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Re: You can't equate...

If you don't know the difference between the UK and a police state, please emigrate to one and don't come back until you've found out. I hear Zimbabwe is nice at this time of year and you won't have to learn a new language.

Oooh, a reverse ILYISMWDYGLT! You don't see that level of idiocy often. I feel privileged.

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Silver badge

Re: Nevermind the gaps.

Totally agree.

Worst criminals are those bankers, civil servants and captains of 'industry' who take millions for causing unemployment and poverty and offshore the cash to avoid tax (and there are plenty of them) . It doesn't take a lot to catch them and chuck them behind bars.

The problem is the vast majority of the country don't have the brains.

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FAIL

Re: "how the ACPO (a private org) can install networks of monitoring cameras without legislation."

"That's a privately owned company called ACPO Limited, if you please, where ACPO = Association of Chief Police Officers."

Yes, I l know - or are you always so pedantic?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "how the ACPO (a private org) can install networks of monitoring cameras without legislation."

Nothing to do with pedantry.

ACPO Ltd is a private company with a track record of dodgy dealings and dodgy people (e.g. Andy Hayman ring any bells, either as a terrorism expert at the Met, Met investigator of/denier of phone tapping by Murdoch, or subsequent Murdoch employee and pantomime Home Affairs Select Committee witness?).

You and I know may know a bit about ACPO Ltd but how many other readers here DON'T know about ACPO's status and activities? So thanks for the opportunity to add to what you wrote, sorry if what I wrote caused offence. OK with that?

See you down the lodge later anyway ;)

See also things like:

"An influential policing body paid retired senior officers up to £1,100 a day to act as consultants.

Bosses at the Association of Chief Police Officers signed contracts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds with companies run by their former colleagues.

The payments, revealed after Freedom of Information requests, showed that former Cumbria assistant chief constable Graham Sunderland agreed to act as a consultant to ACPO just a month after leaving the force in February 2009.

He was given two year-long contracts in 2009 and 2010, each worth £60,000 for at least 120 days’ work drawing up a strategy for identifying disaster victims at major incidents.

In total he was paid £182,223 through his company, Epic (GS), including expenses and extra days. Former Essex chief constable David Stevens, who retired in June 2005, became an ACPO consultant the following month." (continues)

As reported in various places including (perhaps rather surprisingly):

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120300/Police-chiefs-hire-retired-colleagues-1-100-day-act-consultants.html

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Psyx - Nevermind the gaps.

"Truth be told; your bank and ISP already know FAR more about you than the State ever will. Why not shout at them for their gross intrusions, instead?"

Why not shout at them IN ADDITION?

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FAIL

Re: @Psyx - Nevermind the gaps.

Let me just quote you a line from V from Vendetta:

People should not be afraid of their Governments, Governments should be afraid of their people!

You seem to be quite content to give away *my* civil liberties simply because *you* have a problem with "pikey wankers", well, I'm sorry, but those liberties are NOT yours to give away!

I should not need to choose different routes to avoid Government surveillance of my movements, nor should I have to take the bus to stop the State watching where I go. Anything like that needs a REALLY good reason to be introduced, not simply "well it will make Psyx happier" or "it might make the Police's job easier (and save us a bit of dosh)"

I am not being paranoid, you are being naiive and short sighted, so let me leave you with another quote, this time from George Satayana: "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it".

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@Ken Hagen - Re: You can't equate...

Ah, stooping to personal insults. Bravo, that gives your points so much more credibility.

Police states don't just happen, they come about because people believe their governments when they are told "we need to temporarily abridge some of your rights, but don't worry, it won't be long and it's for your own protection".

Then "temporary" becomes "permanent" because there's a new threat. Then those in the police forces who think like you go "hey, now we can deal with the bastards that we don't like, but could never touch before!" Then it's "well you can't object to this because if you do you're obviously on the side of people we don't like..."

Then the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller come true once more...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "a far hysterical cry from someone actively monitoring me.

How do you know there isn't someone actively monitoring you?

The ordinary decent folks who had been spied on for years by undercover cop Mark Kennedy didn't know he was an undercover cop operating under the orders of the unaccountable Association of Chief Police Officers. Not until it allegedly got too much for him.

How many other Kennedys are still out there that we don't know about?

Wake up. It's not looking good out there. It may not be East Germany yet, but we're heading the right way.

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Silver badge

Re: every administration that follows.

We 'merkins have a recent example of this, the shit imposed on us by W, which Obama has decided not to undo.

Can you trust the authorities not to screw the common man if they can get away with it??? I don't.

Welcome to the `Police State of Amerika`, your papers please!!!!!

Hey 'Reg, I have asked about a bullshit icon before, any chance of it ever happening???

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Re: Nevermind the gaps.

@Psyx - Apples Vs Oranges

"Giving our troops weapons could be a very useful tool for gunning down protesters."

Interesting you should have this as your first point. We haven't done it in a while (although we do have form), but recently we have provided support to regimes in the Middle East where it does happen. We also sell (or turn a blind eye to selling) weapons to regimes which use them on their own populace. So our current government already has form for supporting the violent suppression of democracy; and you want to give them more powers?

"Giving our police tasers could be a very useful tool for torturing prisoners."

If the police (for whatever reason) got it into their heads to torture someone, they already have enough implements at their disposal. The office station cupboard has many items that could be put to potential use. Not that I think the police force would actually go that far; the stories you do read about where prisoners have come to harm/died tend to be through ignorance/negligence rather than conspiracy.

"Giving our judges the power to instruct juries could be a very useful tool in subverting the entire legal process."

This might be true if such actions were not a matter of public record.

"See: Any change in the way our system works can be portrayed as a gross infringement on rights."

Umm...no. Any change that directly impedes me (as a law abiding citizen) is a gross infringement on rights. That includes (but is not limited to) mass surveillance and Internet censorship.

"I'm as much about civil rights and personal freedom as the next person... more so, in fact. But this... this is just a measure to nick pikey bastards who are skipping on paying the tax that you and I have to."

Umm...no. This is treating me like a criminal. It will also cost untold millions (even billions?) and we have no guarantee that it would work - all it will do is start an evasions arms race. Take those millions and spend them on rehabilitation, outreach, training, whatever and don't impede my freedom.

"Make me put a GPS linked to a government database and live tracking system and I might think about taking it to the streets"

Err...you do know that idea has been proposed, don't you? It was kicking around a few years ago as road-pricing; then it was EVSC and now it's ISA (a GPS unit that enforces/monitors speed, and it does talk back to mother so you can be fined/charged for use).

"The police have neither time, inclination, nor budget to be chasing down you and I"

The police won't be chasing me as I've done nothing wrong. But that is not the point as I am not really worried about the police per se; I am worried about that state-machine. The heartless, souless, life-crushing beast that is governmental bureaucracy. Being in charge of such a system is a civil servant's wet-dream, and they love their little power bases. Not that the public will actually run it, it'll be outsourced and we all know what a great job the companies our government employ make of things (Olympic security, "Working Links", trains...). G4S running the road-network observation system and keeping all that data secure. You seriously telling me that that doesn't give you nightmares?

"unless we are either the road-tax dodgers or have already broken the law in a far more extreme manner."

In which case, do as they do now; chase down those persons with good-old-fashioned policing. There is still no need to impinge on my freedoms.

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Re: Nevermind the gaps.

@AC 13:24

"I am sodding grateful for my rights here."

So am I, which is why I don't want to see them eroded.

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Re: @Psyx - Nevermind the gaps.

Think of your bloodpressure.

It's a good job that you don't live in an actual police state, and instead live in one of the ten or so most libitarian countries in the world.

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Black Helicopters

Re: @Psyx - Nevermind the gaps.

"Let me just quote you a line from V from Vendetta:"

/facepalm. Comic-book rhetoric adds nothing.

"You seem to be quite content to give away *my* civil liberties simply because *you* have a problem with "pikey wankers", well, I'm sorry, but those liberties are NOT yours to give away!"

Yeah... they are: I am a viting member of the proletariat. It's called a democracy. If more of us elect to go without them than with and vote that way, we can have it that way. There's always the next democracy over if you don't like it. Except you'll struggle to find one with as many of them that isn't below freezing most of the year. Even lovely Switzerland makes our road-traffic surveillance look half-hearted, by the way.

"I am not being paranoid, you are being naiive and short sighted, so let me leave you with another quote, this time from George Satayana: "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it"."

No, I'm not: You are. Civil liberties are continuing to move in the RIGHT direction in this country. We have more than our grandparents. We have more than most. Don't just knee-jerk every development as a civil rights infringement. HOW does it affect you?

Additionally, you have a problem with the technology. It is never the technology that is an issue only surrounding legislation. For example: Arming police with tasers. Is that a massive issue? No, because the legislation surrounding their use is stringent in the extreme and they are heavily audited.

I am opposed to ID cards and live GPS motor surveillance, and I am opposed to most forms of over-intrusion. Fixed cameras to catch fraudsters are not one of those things. They are a policing tool.

Are you opposed to a national fingerprint database and centralised criminal records, too?

There is no 'bigger fail' icon, so I'll have to use black helicopters for you.

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Facepalm

Re: Nevermind the gaps.

So you see having your photo on a police database (that in all likelihood will never be looked at by a human being) as more of an injustice than say (for example), uninsured drivers on the roads, or stolen cars? Your saying that if the cost of catching criminals is having your photo taken then you'd rather the police just not bother? What if its your stolen car they can't find?

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Meh

Re: Nevermind the gaps.

"Umm...no. Any change that directly impedes me (as a law abiding citizen) is a gross infringement on rights. That includes (but is not limited to) mass surveillance and Internet censorship."

Whoa... you need to get over to the States, because you have the basis for our country ass-about-face. The AMERICAN government is supposedly there to protect the individual's rights. The UK government exists to protect the people. That's pretty much the difference between our countries. Essentially, this country's government doesn't aim to do what you want it to or think it should do. It never really has.

"and you want to give them more powers?"

It's not more powers. It's more tools. Powers come via legislation. That's what you need to focus the wrath on: The legislation surround the use of new tools.

"Not that I think the police force would actually go that far; the stories you do read about where prisoners have come to harm/died tend to be through ignorance/negligence rather than conspiracy."

See: We have firm legislation, good auditing and the police clearly lack the desire to abuse their trust regularly. That's a good thing. That should build and demonstrate trust. If the police were stapling people's hands to the wall, then giving them tasers would be a BAD idea.

"Umm...no. Any change that directly impedes me (as a law abiding citizen) is a gross infringement on rights. That includes (but is not limited to) mass surveillance"

Mass surveillance does not impede you in any way. Please tell me how it does? If the data is securely encrypted, with audited access which is only utilised if you are already a criminal, then how's that a problem. It's not: It's just a way of catching criminals. Now if any bod from the county council can just type your NI number into a PC and it comes up with a live feed, THEN it's a huge problem. Heck: If the police can just do that it's a problem. But if the data is strictly controlled and can only be used in the event of the same reasonable suspicion that allows the police to question you, then how is that as horrific?

Again: It's the legislation, not the tools.

I speed. That's frankly why I don't want GPS in my car, for the most part. I can cry about my rights, but really I just want to get away with petty crime. I do find that intrusive too, but mostly I know that I'm not of interest to the State. We all pick our levels of acceptance, and for me fixed speed cameras and tax cameras fall under my threshold.

"The heartless, souless, life-crushing beast that is governmental bureaucracy. Being in charge of such a system is a civil servant's wet-dream, and they love their little power bases."

As an ex civil servant, I don't remember becoming a monster. I was still a person. I wanted bad guys to get caught and joe average's life to carry on as normal. I wanted people to live happy lives. I assure you that civil servants do not want to ruin your life. And even if some of them did... they wouldn't have time. What makes you think that civil servants are all total bastards?

"In which case, do as they do now; chase down those persons with good-old-fashioned policing. There is still no need to impinge on my freedoms."

Good old fashioned policing means using the tools at your disposal. Would you have been opposed to fingerprints a hundred years ago, because it wasn't good old fashioned policing? Yet that fingerprint database infringes on your freedoms.

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Vic

Re: Nevermind the gaps.

> Police State? Get real

First they came for the speeders...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

"As an ex civil servant, I don't remember becoming a monster."

Nobody does. Well, almost nobody. One of the things I've noticed in civil servants is that at least some of them manage to unthinkingly presume the right to decide what is an acceptable happy life for the people. I won't say it would make one a monster right away, but it certainly is a part of what makes good paving for the road to hell out of good intentions.

One of the defining differences between archiving cabinets full of fingerprint cards and keeping pictures of number plates, plus times and dates where the pictures were taking, of just anyone at all, is that you have to at least attract police attention to get on the former (and you knew it happened, the ink on your fingers gave it away) whereas the latter, well, you just have to go about your legitimate business and you get tracked.

The thread starter (which is coincidentally the same person as the one writing this comment) asked whether storing data indiscriminately "just in case" is acceptable. I for me believe it is not.

And while legislation is all good and well, it is no substitute for building the database in such a way that wilful abuse is stopped, or at least made harder, more visible, and more certainly punished. You can break and abuse just about everything, but you can make it harder, for example by encrypting and such. However, just because there is legislation doesn't mean that the encryption and things also automatically happens. Usually it doesn't, moreso in the absence of careful auditing. And given that the politicians making the legislation have no clue whatsoever about proper technical measures, you can be sure the stuff they do pass into legislation is only useful to annoy the people having to execute all the red tape, but certainly not for building a robust system, security wise.

All in all, I don't mind police to have the right tool for the job. That leaves the question of just what sort of tool we want the police to have. "Just in case" storing of... I don't care what data indiscriminately pertaining to just about everybody, is not an acceptable tool for policing a small percentage of ne'er-do-wells, thank you.

Then again, apparently the police and goverment in general, as apparatuses if maybe not on the level of the individual servant, seem to have generally lost touch with the fact that most people generally don't bother anyone else. Certainly given the need they seem to have to bother everyone else.

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Boffin

Re: @Psyx - Nevermind the gaps.

You don't really understand the concept of human rights and civil liberties, do you? They are not things that can simply be voted out by the wishes of the majority (or a loud voiced minority) when they are deemed to be inconvenient or undesirable. I will stand up for the rights of *everyone* and that includes alleged "pikey wankers". If they have committed a crime, fine, arrest them and punish them, but don't consider everyone to be a potential criminal and remove *my* liberties because you don't like *them*. To paraphrase Satayana: Learn from history because the consequences of considering some people to be less deserving of rights are too hideous to risk.

"Civil liberties are continuing to move in the RIGHT direction in this country."

WTF? We used to have the Right to demonstrate outside Parliament without Police permission. No more. We used to have the Right to be charged with a crime before being imprisoned. Not now.. We have seen numerous incidences of Police abusing their powers eg Kettling, hassling people for taking photographs of famous landmarks in case they were terrorists. We now have the government saying we need to ask for permission to be allowed to look at pornography. We have a law which states that if, in someone's subjective view, a picture shows something that is "life threatening" or "risks serious injury to someone's breasts, genitals or anus" simply *possessing* that image can get you up to three years in jail! We have seen Councils using powers designed to keep an eye on terrorist suspects being used to spy on families to make sure they're not illicitly trying to get their kid into a particular school...

If this is the "right direction" I hate to think what the WRONG direction is!

You ask "HOW does it affect you" as if I'm not allowed to object if I can't justify that. Well, sorry, but I am allowed (I have the Right!) to object even when it *doesn't* affect me directly, because it affects others. And since you don't like me quoting V for Vendetta, I'll remind you of the quote from Pastor Martin Niemoller instead. Just because I'm not in an affected group doesn't mean that I will say nothing.

"Are you opposed to a national fingerprint database and centralised criminal records, too?"

No, however I AM opposed to compulsory fingerprinting, national DNA databases and anything else that considers me to be a suspect even *before* I'm suspected of doing anything wrong and that includes cameras that track me wherever I go "just in case" I might do something bad on the way.

That is what Rights are for.

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Vic

Re: Nevermind the gaps.

> I don't remember becoming a monster

I don't remember being born.

Vic.

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Mushroom

Re: You can't equate...

I assume that you really meant IYLISMWDYGLT... and that you are therefore only a *little* bit dyslexic... :)

And you clearly know nothing about what constitutes a police state. But your arrogance in referring to such a well-drafted comment as "idiocy" would not last very long in one... in fact, I guess you'd quickly be screaming for the police (the British type) to protect you. Such delicious irony.

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Holmes

Re: "As an ex civil servant, I don't remember becoming a monster."

"Nobody does. Well, almost nobody. One of the things I've noticed in civil servants is that at least some of them manage to unthinkingly presume the right to decide what is an acceptable happy life for the people"

So, are you insinuating that I trampled over people's freedoms and don't remember doing so? Really?

There are laws and guidelines you work to, not that you make up for yourself.

Some people break the rules, but so do plenty of sysadmins.

"One of the defining differences between archiving cabinets full of fingerprint cards and keeping pictures of number plates, plus times and dates where the pictures were taking, of just anyone at all, is that you have to at least attract police attention to get on the former (and you knew it happened, the ink on your fingers gave it away) whereas the latter, well, you just have to go about your legitimate business and you get tracked."

But that's not true. And that's a matter of legislation, not the tool itself.

The data will indeed sit there unless you:

a) Have broken the law and don't have a tax disk

b) Later commit a offence serious enough for someone to want to go trawling through the database.

In the first case: Fair enough. In the second, it is a matter for legislation to decide when is 'reasonable cause' to do so, and a matter of surrounding technology to control and audit access.

For example, the police don't just run PNC checks when bored on people. They get in trouble for that, y'know.

"And while legislation is all good and well, it is no substitute for building the database in such a way that wilful abuse is stopped, or at least made harder, more visible, and more certainly punished."

This is already done. There is prior form that the police can generally be trusted in the matter. PNC searches are recorded and audited and coppers sometimes lose their jobs for misuse.

"However, just because there is legislation doesn't mean that the encryption and things also automatically happens. Usually it doesn't, moreso in the absence of careful auditing."

This is not the case, though. Provably so. qv.

"And given that the politicians making the legislation have no clue whatsoever about proper technical measures, you can be sure the stuff they do pass into legislation is only useful to annoy the people having to execute all the red tape, but certainly not for building a robust system, security wise."

Again, this is not how things happen. The people who design systems are aware of civil liberties, data protection laws et al. Speaking personally, they no more want a nosey plod looking them up than you do, either.

"I don't care what data indiscriminately pertaining to just about everybody, is not an acceptable tool for policing a small percentage of ne'er-do-wells, thank you."

But your police record and fingerprint records are just that. Already. They can be misused, but they are on the whole used for rounding up that minority of trouble makers. Those 'just in case' fingerprints catch a lot of criminals.

"Then again, apparently the police and goverment in general, as apparatuses if maybe not on the level of the individual servant, seem to have generally lost touch with the fact that most people generally don't bother anyone else. Certainly given the need they seem to have to bother everyone else."

I disagree. The police know damn well who the criminals are. Because they see them time and time again. They know darn well where the blame lies and that you and I are just trying to live our lives in peace. Go read Nightjack.

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Stop

Re: @Psyx - Nevermind the gaps.

"You don't really understand the concept of human rights and civil liberties, do you?"

I understand reality, just fine.

This country's entire system of government is about protecting people, not rights. As I said before: You're in the wrong country if you think it is. That's just the way of it, I'm afraid.

Unfortunately in some cases fortunately in others, the State believes that my neighbour's safety is more important than - for example - my right to own weapons or to have a TNT-making hobby.

"They are not things that can simply be voted out by the wishes of the majority (or a loud voiced minority) when they are deemed to be inconvenient or undesirable."

In ideal-land, perhaps not. But that's not the way it works. In fact, it's not even as nice as that, because we get to vote once, and then the government gets to erode whatever rights it likes for five years. If you think other-wise, you're living in a dreamland. The truth is that 'inalienable rights' can be voted down or swept away easily.

Downvote me as much as you like for stating the truth, but that's the way of it. I don't agree, but I don't have to agree with volcanoes, either; they don't care about opinion. Your 'Rights' only exist for as long as the State permits them to. Fortunately we do not live in a totally unreasonable police state. Fortunately we have a European Court we can escalate matters to. (Shame our State doesn't always listen to it, but that's another debate).

"If they have committed a crime, fine, arrest them and punish them"

If they have no road tax, they will be.

"WTF? We used to have the Right to demonstrate outside...If this is the "right direction" I hate to think what the WRONG direction is!"

I'd agree. I'm appalled and aggrieved at those things too. And yet in a hundred other ways, we have more. We make two steps forward and one back. We have more rights than our parents.

"You ask "HOW does it affect you" as if I'm not allowed to object if I can't justify that."

No; I asked: "How does it affect you?"

"No, however I AM opposed to ... anything else that considers me to be a suspect even *before* I'm suspected of doing anything wrong ..."

If you are charged with anything, your fingerprints are retained "just in case". Your SMS details are retained in case you do anything wrong, as is a large swathe of other data on you. The horse has already bolted in so many ways, and you are screaming about the mouse of a static camera.

"That is what Rights are for."

For all your maligning and lecturing, I do seem to have a grasp of their realities and the facts, thanks.

In immediately assuming me to be your enemy because I disagree on where my rights are being infringed you show an extreme black-and-white view on the subject which makes it unsurprising that you seem to totally mistrust the state's ability to do *anything* fairly.

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Re: @Psyx - Nevermind the gaps.

So let me sum up your position as far as I can see it from what you've written:

You like the idea of Rights, however you're happy to live in a world where they are fluid, variable things which can be removed from people you don't like when it's inconvenient, but as long as it doesn't affect you, you're not going to make a fuss and you don't think that I should either.

Well, I'm sorry, but despite your patronising "stop worrying your pretty little head about this" arguments, I *AM* going to make a fuss because I do *not* trust the state's ability to do anything fairly since history has so often shown those who have been elected to office (with all the best intentions in the world) start thinking as you do that "it would be helpful/ useful/ convenient if we just infringed this right a *little* bit to deal with the 'pikey wankers' out there" and then someone else moves that "little bit" on a fraction further and then it moves a bit more...

First they came...

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Anonymous Coward

Can I get e-ink

On a yellow background? Methinks that an e-ink number plate may be the next big thing (goes off to patent the idea).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can I get e-ink

I'm considering fitting Bond-style rotating plates to mine, or a slide cover that I can activate for a few seconds whenever I see yellow. Maybe some headlight howitzers and an alternator-charged pinch while I'm at it.

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Holmes

Re: Can I get e-ink

"I'm considering fitting Bond-style rotating plates to mine"

You get fined for speeding and road tax evasion. You get thrown in jail for perverting the course of justice.

It ain't worth it.

If you habitually drive without tax or at excess speed, you are far more likely to be pulled over by a car than caught by a camera. And they tend to have a bit of a look around the car when then happens. Do you really want jail-time instead of a speeding fine?

And if you're speeding to the extent where you can't see a sodding great bright yellow box on a stick, then you really shouldn't be speeding in the first place.

Don't do the crime unless you can afford the fine, or handle the time.

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@Psyx - Re: Can I get e-ink

"you are far more likely to be pulled over by a car than caught by a camera"

No, you're far more likely to get an NIP in the post a couple of weeks later from a "Safety Camera Partnership" who are more interested in raising money than promoting safety.

For example last Friday I was on the A34, on a straight section of road, good conditions, no side turnings, no Speed Camera warning signs, plenty of room to stop in the distance that I could see clear on my side of the road and parked in a layby was an unmarked van with a camera sticking out of the back.

It would serve *NO* safety purpose, there was nothing to make safer, it was simply there to generate revenue. Nobody was being stopped and warned or to "have a bit of a look around the car", no "pikey wankers" being done for driving without tax. Nope, just a bit of easy dosh. Kerching.

I'm sure you'd be perfectly happy with this, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Psyx - Can I get e-ink

The deviousness of the unmarked "safety" partnership vans and policemen jumping out of bushes with speedguns does annoy me.

However, I ultimately accept that the law is the law. If the speed limit is 70 mph for a given section of road, the police have every right to monitor and enforce the speed on that piece of road - regardless of the conditions and if I speed (almost impossible on the A34!) then I do so at the risk of being fined or banned.

Whether 70 is a sensible speed limit on motorways is a whole other debate.

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Re: @Psyx - Can I get e-ink

"No, you're far more likely to get an NIP in the post a couple of weeks later from a "Safety Camera Partnership" who are more interested in raising money than promoting safety."

I've never had one. But I've had I've had a handful of >100mph tickets.

I slow down when I notice day-glow yellow boxes (and if you don't spot those, you won't spot a kid on a bike either, so you shouldn't be speeding and deserve it), and have a rough idea where they put camera vans... which around here is mostly in fairly reasonable places. Granted one is right over the brow of a bridge, but frankly anything could be over that brow, so they kinda have a fair point.

"I'm sure you'd be perfectly happy with this, though."

No: I like fast cars and driving fast. I hate mobile camera teams. Don't judge me as opposed to something just because I recognise that I deserve to be caught sometimes.

I *choose* to break the law. I do so knowing that I am both breaking the law of the country that I *choose* to live in, and that I can be endangering others by doing so. I don't expect a free pass to break the rules and to get away with it, no more than I could -as a thief- demand that shops not have CCTV and all police officers must wear dark glasses to impede their eyesight.

If I decide the risk of detection is too high, then I will slow down. This mainly happens when I don't know the roads and where the police like to sit, which makes it a good deterrent. And a good one: Because if I don't know the roads, then I really shouldn't be speeding.

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Boffin

Re: @Psyx - Can I get e-ink

"you won't spot a kid on a bike either, so you shouldn't be speeding and deserve it"

I am looking for Hazards. Hell, the Driving Test now contains the Hazard Perception Test which requires you to spot a *developing* hazard, ie something that is going to cause you to have to change your speed or direction.

A stationary van in a layby on a straight piece of road is *NOT* a Hazard, a kid riding a bike is. I can look at the van, note it, then discount it from my Riding Plan because it's not going to have an effect on me. If it suddenly starts to pull away then I will spot it in my peripheral vision as I scan the road ahead and change my Riding Plan accordingly. A kid on a bike, however, *is* a potential Hazard, so I'll keep them in mind as I plan what I'm going to do and adjust my speed and direction appropriately if needed.

Additionally, had the traffic been of sufficient density that I was unable to stop in the distance I could see clear or it was pi$$ing down with rain (as it was on the return journey on Monday) and thus increasing stopping distances, I would, of course, have slowed down accordingly, unlike some drivers who would have kept (and did keep) going at their previous speed which might have been below the posted limit but *too fast* for the conditions.

Speed cameras, of course, won't notice them, they have no brains and no discretion, they deal in a simple binary choice of "below or above the limit", not "is the speed safe for the conditions"?

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Vic

Re: Can I get e-ink

> I'm considering fitting Bond-style rotating plates to mine

There used to be a thing you could get for bike numberplates to flip them up out of the way so you could clean behind.

It's very tricky cleaning around a bike number plate, y'see...

Vic.

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Joke

Re: @Psyx - Can I get e-ink

> A stationary van in a layby on a straight piece of road is *NOT* a Hazard

You've never seen my van, then?

Vic.

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Re: @Psyx - Can I get e-ink

"I am looking for Hazards."

So, your idea of what a hazard is was hard-wired at 17, and can't be increased to encompass "Things that are going to put points on my license, such as bright yellow boxes"? Really? So... as a regular speeder, you don't constantly keep an eye out for police vehicles, or drivers of vehicles wearing while shirts with epaulettes? C'mon: That's not a reasonable defence.

"A stationary van in a layby on a straight piece of road is *NOT* a Hazard"

Yes it is. It could pull out, or it could easily mask pedestrians or another vehicle in front of it which is moving. And if it has a tinted rear window and is clean then it falls into the "Could cost me my license" category.

If I *choose* to speed, I have to be responsible for your actions and willing to pay the price. I am still. I don't try to pretend that it's unreasonable that I'm caught breaking the law in any way. I've never had a ticket that made me think "that's not fair". I might be caught in an unfair manner, but I was already electing to ignore the law.

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Re: @Psyx - Can I get e-ink

"So, your idea of what a hazard is was hard-wired at 17, and can't be increased to encompass "Things that are going to put points on my license, such as bright yellow boxes"?"

Whoops, nice assumption, just totally *wrong*.

No, my idea of what a Hazard is was what I learned when I joined the Solent Advanced Motorcyclists a couple of years ago and based on "Motorcycle Roadcraft: The Police Rider's Handbook to Better Motorcycling" and "How to Be a Better Rider" by the IAM and seems to have been sufficient to allow me to pass my Advanced Motorcycle Test a while back.

And if you bothered to read my post (and especially had you ever taken any Advanced Training yourself) you'd have a) recognised the phraseology I used and b) noticed that I had *SAID* that if the van pulled out etc then it *would* become a hazard that I would have to incorporate into my Riding Plan.

The point I was making (which you also seem to have failed to understand) is that that van was doing *nothing* for "safety" on that piece of road. It was perfectly safe to Make Progress whilst observing other traffic and ensuring I could stop in the distance I could see clear on my side of the road. What was not safe (as I also mentioned) was on the journey back where in heavy rain with spray and standing water, vehicles were travelling at a speed which was *below* the posted limit but *too fast* for the conditions.

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Silver badge

all this and...

So they've got traces on millions of cars, they have access to the insurance databases, how come there are still so many uninsured cars on the road costing the rest of us poor sod so much?

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Re: all this and...

Probably because some bleeding heart privacy advocate won't let them run fishing expeditions across both databases.

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FAIL

Re: all this and...

Ah it's you.

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Re: all this and...

It's not so much the uninsured drivers as the ambulance chasing lawyers, referral fees, and ridiculous hire car arrangements that put up the price of insurance.

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Holmes

Re: all this and...

"So they've got traces on millions of cars, they have access to the insurance databases, how come there are still so many uninsured cars on the road costing the rest of us poor sod so much?"

Three possible reasons to my mind:

A) They *don't* in practice (mis-)use such databases for massive datamining operations. Which makes all the POLICE STATE posts on the thread provably moot.

B) They don't have the time or resources to do so. The only time it's worth trying to dredge through is in the event of serious crimes, which are worth the time investment.

C) It was a government IT project and doesn't work properly.

I'm personally leaning towards thinking that it's a little of each.

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Black Helicopters

Re: all this and...

Actually I would postulate there is also:

D) Perhaps there aren't that many uninsured cars on the road...

Whilst yes I am suggesting that the problem is not as bad as they say I do admit I don't actually know but like every initiative sponsored by a government that just doesn't have anything to do except dream up ways of spending public money, I would question the reality of the "problem" they claim, WMD in Iraq anyone?

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Holmes

Re: all this and...

The very first officially-sanctioned cross-matching of public databases that was sanctioned by the Data Protection Registrar was undertaken by the Audit Commission and saved millions of pounds. All they did was compare records of people in receipt of Housing Benefit and death records!

Information is provided to the Audit Commission under Section 6 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 and the data matching is perfectly legal... it doesn't actually need the DPR's permission but of course there is close cooperation between the DPR and the Commission about the conduct of data matching programmes.

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Flame

Re: all this and...

Crap.

On many housing estates in the North East, around two-thirds of all cars were uninsured before the changes to the Road Traffic Act 1998 were made by S.22 Road Safety Act 2006.

It was only because Northumbria Police started their own initiative against uninsured cars despite there being a lack of clarity about the lawfulness of seizing such vehicles that the Home Office was forced to introduce specific powers using S.152 of the Serious Organised Crime And Police Act 2005 to amend the Road Traffic Act 1988 - introducing new sections 165A and 165B.

And your post, despite your complete lack of knowledge of the subject, is typical of the attitude of many other posters on here who fire from the hip without even bothering to find out anything about the subject on which they have become instant experts... sigh.

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Probably just me but...

this is one of the few instances of 'Big Brother' I am comfortable with. I know that kit/laws/people can be 're-purposed' but ANPR cameras are in the same category as keeping a list of the usual suspects. It is well known that people using a vehicle for criminal purposes tend to not spend money on tax/insurance or even have the vehicle in their name to try to remove any links so it is only when they are driving it that you have a chance to notice. Putting up ANPR cameras picks out the wrong-uns and the chase is on.

I would rather have 20 or 100 ANPR cameras rather than one speed camera regardless of their objectives because if you can show a speed camera site meets the current guidelines to install one then perhaps you should look at why there are so many drivers speeding and fix it. Of course that does mean spending money rather than earning it so it is somewhat unlikely to happen

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Re: Probably just me but...

The vast majority of these camera's are static, all they do is record every car that passes, they dont then jump out of the ground and give chase if an untaxed or uninsured car goes past.

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Re: Probably just me but...

They do however flag up in a control room who can advise a suitably place mobile unit.....I was trying to keep the post short.

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