Britons and Their Speed Cameras

I'm interested in surveillance and in privacy in public places. Here's an article about how Britons feel about one sort of public surveillance: they hate it. In addition to actually destroying a number of speed cameras, Britons are also trying to undermine them,

Cameras Catch Speeding Britons and Lots of Grief: Technology has moved on considerably since the 1990s, when the first speed cameras were installed in Britain. Now, in addition to the standard cameras that photograph the speeding cars’ license plates, there are cameras that can accurately photograph drivers’ faces — so that they cannot claim someone else was driving at the time — and cameras that work in teams, calculating average speeds along a stretch of road.

Of course, for every ingenious new camera, there is an ingenious new camera-thwarting device. These include constantly-updating G.P.S. equipment that alerts drivers to camera locations and a special material that, when sprayed on a license plate, is said to make it impervious to flash photographs.

There are also the low-tech methods of covering a license plate with mud or altering its letters with black electrical tape

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One Response to Britons and Their Speed Cameras

  1. John says:

    There was an article in the WaPo a few years (?) ago about the coating for license plates — apparently it worked at the time, don’t know whether the cameras have improved to beat it since then. Personally, I’m opposed to speed cameras but in favor of red light cameras. If you run a red light, there’s a much higher chance of a collision. This is especially true where your yellow can be seen by the cross traffic and the light timed a bit (cross traffic drivers adjusting their speed so they don’t have to stop but can go through just as the green appears). On the other hand, many many speed limits are inappropriately low — I can think of several streets on my way to work alone where the same conditions have speed limits varying by 20mph. Of course the inappropriately low ones tend to be targeted by both the radar traps (end-of-the-month specials) and the speed cameras. It would be an interesting demonstration if for a week we could get even 20% of the commuting drivers to go no more than speed limit on every road they use. I predict that massive jams would result.

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