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Transportation Government Privacy

San Jose May Put License Plate Scanners On Garbage Trucks 258

An anonymous reader writes: It's bad enough that some places have outfitted their police vehicles with automated license plate scanners, but now the city of San Jose may take it one step further. They're considering a proposal to install plate readers on their fleet of garbage trucks. This would give them the ability to blanket virtually every street in the city with scans once a week. San Jose officials made this proposal ostensibly to fight car theft, but privacy activists have been quick to point out the unintended consequences. ACLU attorney Chris Conley said, "If it's collected repeatedly over a long period of time, it can reveal intimate data about you like attending a religious service or a gay bar. People have a right to live their lives without constantly being monitored by the government." City councilman Johnny Khamis dismissed such criticism: "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."
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San Jose May Put License Plate Scanners On Garbage Trucks

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  • To Fight Car Theft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:10AM (#50361909)
    So, if fighting car theft is the reason, will they agree up front to abandon the effort if a significant drop in car theft is not realized? I betcha not.
    • by rs1n ( 1867908 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:29AM (#50362071)

      So, if fighting car theft is the reason, will they agree up front to abandon the effort if a significant drop in car theft is not realized? I betcha not.

      No, if there is a significant drop then the more likely conclusion is that the method is effective in preventing car theft. This would only strengthen the argument in favor of such devices.

    • by irving47 ( 73147 )

      Of course they will. Governments are historically quite benevolent about giving up broadened surveillance and other sources of information when actual evidence surfaces it might not be as effective as first thought. I'm sure they are happy to eat the loss of funds for purchase/installation/maintenance of said systems, too.
      sigh.

      I really DO NOT get California. If there was ONE state I thought you *might* be able to get an anti-government-monitoring consensus in....

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:41AM (#50362175)

        It will only be a matter of time before San Jose recognizes the revenue stream they could generate by selling this data.

      • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:52AM (#50362281)

        I really DO NOT get California. If there was ONE state I thought you *might* be able to get an anti-government-monitoring consensus in....

        Why would you think that? Nanny's are all about monitoring the children and California is quite the nanny state.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          You clearly know nothing about California except what Faux News tells you to think. Leave California to the Californians lest you further reveal your own ignorance.

        • by sudon't ( 580652 )

          He hasn't lived in California, the land of rules and regulations. He has the media cartoon version of the place in mind.

    • by Damarkus13 ( 1000963 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @12:26PM (#50362563)
      If car theft is the issue they don't even need to collect any data. Upload a list of license plates of stolen vehicles to the units in the morning, before they roll out. Have the unit record location data ONLY when it finds a plate on that list.

      They won't do this.

      • by KlomDark ( 6370 )

        Smart! Wish I had mod points.

      • Devil's Advocate. There is a lag between when you car gets stolen and when you know it's stolen, then lag for when you tell the police, then lag for when they get it into this system. This way they can have scanned list from the last day or so and check it when you call in.
    • Or restrict the info to only the auto theft squad.

      My guess is how it works out is that the data goes directly to the "intelligence" squad and they don't even share it with the auto theft squad for fear that it will be used to deduce the Mayor's car is parked at his girlfriend's or something.

    • by saider ( 177166 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @02:22PM (#50363931)

      They will drop it when the councilman is found parked in front of the strip club.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      No.... for almost the same reasons that they didn't revert DST back to the way it was, or better yet, drop the darn thing entirely, when they discovered a few years back that adding a few weeks to the period that DST is utilized didn't actually save a darn cent.
  • by serano ( 544693 ) * on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:10AM (#50361917)
    San Jose: just because technology gives you the ability to do something doesn't mean you have to do it.
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:16AM (#50361963)

      Indeed. I read this

      "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

      and my immediate reaction was "then perhaps you should be".

      You aren't expecting not to have your car seen by someone passing in the street who wouldn't give it a second glance or remember it 10 seconds later. However, that's a totally different thing to having its identity and location digitally scanned, recorded indefinitely, and searchable in combination with arbitrary other data sources, giving rise to the reasonable privacy concerns mentioned in TFS and many more.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:28AM (#50362061)

        This. The whole 'no expectation of privacy' argument is and always has been stupid, and this councilman is a moron for saying it.

        I don't expect to be invisible on a public street. I do expect that unless I do something memorable that people who observe me aren't going to recall seeing me or do anything anything all concerning their observation of me hours, days, months, or years later.

        This business is completely different and totally beyond what I expect when out and about.

        • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:35AM (#50362127)

          Indeed. The issue here isn't "right to privacy", it's "right to be forgotten".

        • by chuckugly ( 2030942 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @12:01PM (#50362349)
          People should stop calling it privacy and call it what it is - a reasonable expectation of anonymity. There is a difference but until we could store things accurately and forever in a searchable form a degree of anonymity was never a concern, it just happened as a matter of course.

          Of course in smaller communities there is very little anonymity, and I suppose that's the next discussion. What is reasonable to demand as far as a sense of being anonymous?
          • What is reasonable to demand as far as a sense of being anonymous?

            I'd suggest that a good starting point for discussion might be "What would the situation be if these monitoring technologies were not used and you just went about a normal life?"

            From an ethical perspective, I don't see much distinction between the issue we're talking about here and things like a modern-day Peeping Tom flying a drone with a camera outside your bedroom window, or modern transport infrastructure requiring smart cards to pay and then tying those smart cards back to their owners so everyone's pe

            • I've considered the concept of expected anonymity a bit, not a lot, but I have realized the first, the anonymity people in large population centers expect is sort of an illusion, or perhaps we could say it's a sort of 'statistical anonymity', as in what are the odds of someone recognizing you or noting you. There is always a chance of this happening, always has been. Second, this is pretty recent in terms of humanity. For most of human history we lived in population groups where everyone we knew was pretty
              • I think scale matters. One or two people recognising you as you go about your day is probably no big deal whether you live in a city or a little country village.

                On the other hand, a system recognising you visiting the same house after school every Tuesday, knowing from other information that the owners are out at that time so their 15-year-old daughter is home alone, knowing you are an unmarried 50-year-old male and knowing that you googled the girl's school recently as well starts to look like a recipe for

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I believe some courts (not sure if it's SCotUS) have either ruled or commented that there's a significant difference between "no (individual) expectation of privacy" and "no expectation not to be wholesale surveiled using automation." The councilman quoted in the article must not have heard this - or is banking that his audience hadn't.

        • If humans had perfect and infallible memory that they could also pass directly on to others without distortion, our concept of privacy would be very different from what it is today. We live in a time when police can storm a business and smash the existing surveillance system the owners have in place, then argue (unsuccessfully, thank Buddha) that the footage from the one camera they missed shouldn't be admissible because they had an expectation of privacy. Yet the government sees no problem with virtually
        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          He's not a moron. He just knows that most people would object to his real motives, and most will buy this one.

          You trust too much in the honesty of politicians.

      • Indeed. I read this

        "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

        and my immediate reaction was "then perhaps you should be".

        You aren't expecting not to have your car seen by someone passing in the street who wouldn't give it a second glance or remember it 10 seconds later. However, that's a totally different thing to having its identity and location digitally scanned, recorded indefinitely, and searchable in combination with arbitrary other data sources, giving rise to the reasonable privacy concerns mentioned in TFS and many more.

        And don't forget, that the scanners read everything within their field of vision... so they will also collect information for vehicles sitting on the driveway as well as in the garage, if the door is up.

      • Sure someone might notice your car near a strip club. But they won't notice it every 3pm on Wednesday like a systematic scanning system would. Similarly,they might notice your car but they won't necessarily know that the car next to it belongs to your nanny. Not to mention people likely won't be certain in most cases (do you know your friends license plate?)

        Not a 100% expectation of privacy shouldn't mean that the government is free to search and track whatever you do. Stupid loopholes like a cop pulling yo

    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:24AM (#50362023)
      Car repo and bail bondsmen have been doing license plate scanning and logging for a while. Going far beyond what the garbage trucks will do. For example the repo/bond guys in addition to logging while driving down the street they also cruise parking lots of grocery stores, walmart, etc to log plates. There is a huge national database of these logs. Many police departments actually subscribe to this database.
  • Google Maps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@@@keirstead...org> on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:10AM (#50361919) Homepage

    City councilman Johnny Khamis dismissed such criticism: "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

    This argument did not work for Google Maps, who have been forced by various state and municipal governments to blur the license plates and faces of people captured.

    But I guess they aren't the government... if the government does it, it's fine.. (???)

    • Re:Google Maps (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:21AM (#50361997) Journal

      You're not expecting privacy on a public street.

      Yes I am. I am expecting that there are no vast armies of spies on every corner or every street. I am expecting that I can go up in the masses, and that I am alone in empty streets.

      Yes, I expect that sometimes people can see me. That is something hugely different from monitoring me. I expect that my neighbour can see me leave in the morning. I expect that my boss can see me coming in the morning. It is a huge violation of privacy if my neighbour checks with my boss, or if my boss checks with my neighbour. "Everyone present can see" is totally different from "surveillance 24/7".

    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:22AM (#50362009)
      Google was publishing those pictures via street view.

      And license plate scanning and logging is something corporations and individuals are allowed to do. Car repo and bail bondsmen have been doing this for a while. Going far beyond what the garbage trucks will do. For example the repo/bond guys in addition to logging while driving down the street they also cruise parking lots of grocery stores, walmart, etc to log plates. There is a huge national database of these logs. Many police departments actually subscribe to this database.
    • But I guess they aren't the government... if the government does it, it's fine.. (???)

      That's the entire premise [twitter.com] of government, dude - they're people with extra rights once they put on their funny costumes. The market rules of reason, logic, and justice don't apply - only vaguely expressed intentions and platitudes (see any recent Supreme Court decision). And if you disagree, there's a SWAT team with AR-15's to change (or eradicate) your mind.

      OK, now you can skip day one of law school. [bloombergview.com]

  • City councilman Johnny Khamis dismissed such criticism: "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

    I'm also not expecting the spanish inquisition...

    Just because I don't have a legal expectation of privacy does not mean the government gets the right to give me a rectal exam every time I set foot outside my house. The real question is whether there is a compelling public interest in the government having and using this technology. They might claim it is to fight car theft but is the problem of such significant as to justify automated monitoring of the entire populace? I'm guessing probably not. We all

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:16AM (#50361969)

    "...City councilman Johnny Khamis dismissed such criticism: "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

    Really Johnny?

    So you won't mind if I just set up this webcam on the public street outside of your home and feed that stream to the internet, right?

    Or perhaps we'll find some volunteers to follow you and your family around day and night as you drive around. That won't seem creepy or invasive at all, I'm sure. And after all, we're just driving around on public streets, right?

    Sometimes I really wonder what the hell it would take to get these morons to wake about privacy and how it feels to be monitored day and night.

    • So long as you are careful not to cross the line into harassment, I don't see why he would mind at all.

      • So long as you are careful not to cross the line into harassment, I don't see why he would mind at all.

        So, you would not find any of the prescribed actions invasive or an invasion of your privacy?

        If you question those actions yourself, I fail to see how you can assume he wouldn't.

        Understand that today's plate scanners are tomorrow's drones with your mentality. This can only get worse without proper legislation and control around what privacy should imply for anyone anywhere.

    • by rs1n ( 1867908 )

      "...City councilman Johnny Khamis dismissed such criticism: "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

      Really Johnny?

      So you won't mind if I just set up this webcam on the public street outside of your home and feed that stream to the internet, right?

      Or perhaps we'll find some volunteers to follow you and your family around day and night as you drive around. That won't seem creepy or invasive at all, I'm sure. And after all, we're just driving around on public streets, right?

      Sometimes I really wonder what the hell it would take to get these morons to wake about privacy and how it feels to be monitored day and night.

      Firstly, I am all for privacy. That said, I agree with "Johnny" Khamis. The idea that someone could possibly learn something about any particular individual if they wanted to has always been feasible even without scanners. As for the suggestion that volunteers follow an individual around -- that sounds a bit like stalking to me (for which there is legal recourse).

      • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:44AM (#50362211) Journal

        The difference between just and unjust is the difference between easy and feasible.

        A lawful search is every bit as feasible as an unlawful one; the difference is the miniscule administrative impediment of securing a search warrant.

        Surveillance, even in a nominally public setting, is unjust without cause. Pervasive surveillance is unjust specifically because it's done so without cause or suspicion (other than the despot's constant suspicion of everyone).

    • So you won't mind if I just set up this webcam on the public street outside of your home and feed that stream to the internet, right?

      Here are a couple of things wrong with your statement;
      1. The garbage truck is not parked in front of your home 24/7
      2. Only pictures of license plates are save. No pictures of people are saved. No vehicles parked off the road are photographed.
      3. Access to the database is restricted and there will be retention policies in place.
      A webcam and license plate scanning are very different and equating the two is invalid.

      Or perhaps we'll find some volunteers to follow you and your family around day and night as you drive around.

      That is not what is being proposed.

      Sometimes I really wonder what the hell it would take to get these morons to wake about privacy and how it feels to be monitored day and night.

      Considering that the garbage truck will be on your street for

      • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:26PM (#50363253)

        Here are a couple of things wrong with your statement; 1. The garbage truck is not parked in front of your home 24/7 2. Only pictures of license plates are save. No pictures of people are saved. No vehicles parked off the road are photographed. 3. Access to the database is restricted and there will be retention policies in place. A webcam and license plate scanning are very different and equating the two is invalid.

        I cannot believe you actually accept all of this as truth, as if we haven't found rampant abuse of monitoring systems after promises like this shit are made up front to justify the "innocent" program. Hell, I couldn't even make it past #2 in your list without thinking of the stories that came out regarding images gathered by TSA body scanners.

        The level of blind faith here fucking floors me.

        Considering that the garbage truck will be on your street for a few minutes every week or two it is not monitoring day and night.

        I'm not worried about the garbage truck and the "few minutes". I'm worried about years of data being collected and used and abused in ways you've not even thought of by law enforcement.

        Do you think streetlight camera databases are never tapped into to track movements of "suspects" (gotta love parallel construction), even though the entire system was justified in order to curb people who cause accidents by running red lights?

        Do you think your travel information isn't kept for years to benefit pattern analysis even if you've never even been accused of a crime?

        Do you enjoy the fact that you could end up on the No-Fly list with zero explanation as to how you got on the list, or how you could be removed due to your obvious innocence?

        How will you feel when they come back in a few years complaining about the limited capability of vehicle mounted cameras and instead propose a fleet of drones to capture images in driveways and parking lots? (of course, they'll pinky-swear they won't point them in your windows or otherwise invade your privacy, and none of that footage will ever be leaked.)

        On top of all this, statistics will likely show this monitoring will do fuck-all to stop or curb auto theft. I sure as hell don't expect my auto insurance company to hand me a huge refund if I move to a "monitored" community next week, and chop shops don't usually worry about keeping license plates intact.

  • by SecurityGuy ( 217807 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:17AM (#50361973)

    "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

    This is only partially true. I'm not expecting that no one in the world will see my car. I am expecting that it's rather unlikely that if I park on a random street for a couple hours, anyone I know will see and notice my car and actually realize it's mine.

    I very much DO expect the level of privacy that excludes someone frequently taking note of the exact location of my car. If John Q. Public were doing that, I'd be very put off. I might even consider it stalking. In no sane world do we then say, "Well, it's fine if it's the government and they're stalking EVERYONE."

    Yes, Mr. Khamis, I do expect that level of privacy, and it's not for you to decide what the public gets to expect. Your job is to do what we want, not the other way around.

    • Personally, I'd find it a bit off-putting to see a garbage man walking around writing down the license numbers and locations of every parked car on my street. Perhaps even to the "run away or I'll hit you with this bat" stage.
  • False positives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:26AM (#50362045) Homepage Journal

    The real problem isn't the public nature of your data; it's the private nature of aggregate data.

    Because you carry out your activities in public, any individual who legitimately wants information about you can, without violating any laws, personally keep track of your public activities. Without publication or any direct action, the person is not harassing you or whatnot. The things you do are completely public and not subject to privacy protections.

    That, of course, implies someone is interested in you, personally, in the first place.

    With aggregate data, we can put together lists of all people whose public functions follow a certain pattern. This, then, draws our attention to those people.

    Most people don't realize the very criminal nature of human existence. A lot of folks have... mischief in their histories. Hanging in parks at night, casual adultery, illegal gambling between friends... hell, there's estimates that some 40%-70% of 20-year-olds have hooked up with underaged teens. These are all things that can put you in jail, and may or may not distress people in your community--some more than others, some not at all (nobody cares about your poker games in your basement with your drinking buddies). As it stands, these activities aren't actually harmful to society, or distressing at large.

    That's why we have strict, constitutional controls for searches and seizure: if your criminal activities aren't drawing any attention, your criminal activities aren't harmful to society. The police rifling through your belongings and arresting you on bureaucratic technicalities *would* harm society at large, creating a constant state of paranoia and resentment among the population, along with costly economic and social disruption.

    Aggregate public data collection and profiling similarly draws attention to people's behaviors, focusing legal scrutiny where it does not necessarily do the most good. As this scrutiny broadens, it necessarily dilutes the attention of legal enforcement from the important criminal activities which actually harm society. Persons whose activities are of no consequence are more frequently investigated and arrested, while persons whose quiet activities invoke a greater injury to their peers enjoy reduced law enforcement attention and a consequential lower risk for expanding their operations even further. Such aggregation could, as consequence, allow petty criminals to build and operate more substantial criminal networks with even less likelihood of police detection.

    Many forget the police are not law enforcement officers, but peace officers. Their job is to keep the peace; they are not lawyers and not expected to know the law. This is because police detect crime by detecting its effects: injury, death, property loss, and, above all, distress among the population. This fits well with the explicit prohibition on police actively looking for crimes without first having a crime brought to their attention by the public nature of its activities.

    Broad data collection and aggregation changes the public nature of people's activities. It distorts this function, leading to false positives and arrests of harmless members of society.

    • Broad data collection and aggregation changes the public nature of people's activities. It distorts this function, leading to false positives and arrests of harmless members of society.

      That is a pretty broad statement. Can you tell me how license plate scanning can lead to false positives and arrests of harmless members of society.

      • The entire passage written before that explained that a lot of people's criminal activities are harmless.

        Did you know a guy in Virgina was shot in the heart by the SWAT team that invaded his house? They got a tip that he was having a poker game with his friends. Illegal gambling. $40 pot; not exactly high rollers here. The swat team kicked his door in, and one of them shot him due to an error in judgment in which they mis-evaluated him as a threat; he didn't even make a threatening gesture.

        Your neig

    • by Pascoea ( 968200 )

      I'm curious of your definition "casual adultery", and how that is any less damaging than a more formal adultery.

      And your implication that 20 year olds having sex with teenagers isn't harmful to society strictly because it hasn't been discovered yet is a little more than slightly disturbing.

      • your implication that 20 year olds having sex with teenagers isn't harmful to society strictly because it hasn't been discovered yet is a little more than slightly disturbing.

        It happens, and I have plenty of friends who have stories of doing it when they were growing up. Lots of girls who were hooking up with college guys when they were in 10th grade. Doesn't seem to have caused the world to collapse.

        Thump your bible harder. Maybe someone who actually cares will hear.

  • While the councilman is correct regarding expectation of privacy in the general sense, having data to track private citizens not suspected of criminal activity goes far beyond typical capacity to track, historically anyway. Potential safeguards are possible, such as legal limits on how long the data could be kept, or maybe an on-board database with a list of sought-for plates that will then contact the station. There is no need really to keep a record of what was scanned.
  • Everyone's already carrying a personal tracking device called a cell phone, and we're worried about adding in data about where you parked your car? (For the record, I've parked my car in business/church/bar lots that I haven't patronized.) That's kind of like worrying about the can of gas in the garage when your house is on fire, isn't it?

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @11:37AM (#50362141)

    ...City councilman Johnny Khamis dismissed such criticism: "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."...

    The party of freedom from government is turning into the Big Brother party.

    .
    And from a Republican who was not even born in the US.

    Maybe that's how privacy is viewed in Lebanon where he was born....

    • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      San Jose; 9 of 11 city council seats Democrat and 100% Democrat mayors going back to the 60's and the one token Republican get singled out by you and your press....

      Keep knock'n back that kool-aid.

  • Please track Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmen Johnny Khamis and Raul Peralez's every move, and post it!

  • So if they go ahead and collect the data on the theory that it is "public", how much do you want to bet that they will later refuse to give the data up under access to information on the theory that it has become "private" in the mean time?

  • Because short of lubing it up with buckyballs, you're not going to get much slipperier than this.

    I'm surprised, no, shocked that they didn't manage to work in a 'for the children!' angle to this.

    So tell me, asshole San Jose officials: How long after that do you plan on adding facial recognition and audio recording to your garbage truck surveillance network, hmm?

    Come on, assholes, I know your type, why don't you just cut to the chase: What you really want, I'll bet, is barcodes tattooed on everyone, or RFID implants, with readers on every lamppost and telephone pole, and in people's houses too if you can get away with it, so you can track people everywhere they go. You know, to cut down on crime, and for the children!

    ..OK, I'm being extreme on purpose (or am I?). But enough with the gods-be-damned surveillance state bullshit!

    Memo to Idiot Politicians: IT DOESN'T WORK.
    • Slippery slope arguments are, by definition, logical fallacies [wikipedia.org].

      How long after that do you plan on adding facial recognition and audio recording to your garbage truck surveillance network, hmm?

      "Never" is a plausible answer. Facial recognition/ audio recordings is not an inevitable extension of license plate scanning.

      What you really want,

      How about license plate scanning to find stolen cars and parking violators.

      I'll bet, is barcodes tattooed on everyone, or RFID implants, with readers on every lamppost and telephone pole, and in people's houses too if you can get away with it, so you can track people everywhere they go.

      No, that is many orders of magnitude more expensive and complex that putting scanners we already use on parking enforcement vehicles onto garbage trucks.

      .OK, I'm being extreme on purpose (or am I?). But enough with the gods-be-damned surveillance state bullshit!

      By making extreme statement you just show how weak your real argument is.

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @12:03PM (#50362375)

    This whole not-expecting-privacy-on-a-public-street is as laughable as it's always been. There's a missing concept here.

    It's not about PRIVACY. It's about RECORDING.

    You don't expect privacy when you're talking to a friend in public either. But it's illegal to record the audio of that conversation without permission.

    It's the difference between expert testimony (i.e. video evidence) and heresay. One's convincing, always, while the other is completely inadmissable as evidence -- which is a good thing.

    Surprisingly, I'm not actually against all of this scanning for data. I'm only against keeping that data in the absence of a crime.

    Scan the cars, check the plates, see that it's fine, destroy the data. Let's say within 5 business days. No aggregates, no data-based stats (number of scans made by the truck is fine, number of blue cars is not).

    "NO CRIME = NO RECORD", plain and simple.

  • There's an expectation that, while public, what you do in your day to day life tends to be an anonymous undertaking. nobody is tracking and cataloging all of your various excursions and foibles.

    Being private and being functionally anonymous are two very different things.

  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @12:15PM (#50362485) Homepage Journal

    I grew up here, I can explain why the city council is seeking this.

    A few years back the city implemented huge cuts to it's police department in salary and benefits. Before the cuts, we had 1400 officers (not bad for a city of a million people) After the cuts our police has dropped as low as 700 officers.

    With a reduction in the number of officers we have, bay area criminals have taken it as a "Vacancy" sign to do business here. Every type of crime has shot up. Violent crimes, we're a magnet for package theft, prostitution runs rampant, with one spot having as many as 50 girls walking one particular street corner, and car theft.

    San Jose just voted to restore some of the pay last week, but it still won't be anywhere near 2010 levels. Cops continue to leave.

    So now San Jose is in a situation of having to make due with what they have. Cops won't even consider this place for a job any more. Since they can't get another 700 officers to replace the ones lost, they're leveraging technology to fill the gap. Myself, and many other residents welcome any effort to clean up the streets.

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @12:16PM (#50362491) Homepage Journal
    I don't think this is very likely to determine if you go to religious ceremonies or gay bars. Garbage trucks tend to only run during the weekdays, so most religious ceremonies are out. They also tend to run during the day when patronage at bars is the lowest. They also tend to go directly to the garbage bins, which means very few plates will be read. Basically they will get plates of people parking on the street, or people driving on the street at the same time as the trucks.
    I believe about the only useful information they will be able to get is that certain people are not home at certain times of the day, which will likely serve as a valuable information source for house thieves, and that certain people tend to park on the street, which will be valuable information for car thieves. The most likely statistic from this endeavour is a sharp uptick in car thefts and burglary.
  • by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @12:16PM (#50362501)
    When someone says something like "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street." and means it, and if they're in some position of authority or influence, the game begins. Separate teams immediately start following this person around whenever they're in public and record everything they do for a solid week, and posts it on the internet. Zoom lenses, parabolic mics, the whole bit. Stream it live if possible. The team that captures the most activity wins! Fun fun fun!

    .
  • Are garbage men sworn law enforcement officials? No? To either?

    Then how the f- do they think it's okay to have the guy who picks up your trash doing the job of a cop?

  • "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

    This is true to a degree. If you are walking down a public street, you can't object that my taking a photograph of you is an invasion of your privacy. So long as said photograph is of something that you can normally see - e.g. upskirts wouldn't count as a "photograph in a public place." Along the same lines, while I might see you in public and be able to take a photo of you, I wouldn't normally be following you around everywhere y

  • City councilman Johnny Khamis dismissed such criticism: "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

    The public also does not expect continuous surveillance from the government either.

  • What happens in the public is and should be accessible by the public. That's the sort of law that allows us to have security cameras on homes and businesses, to take cell phone video of friends - or police. It's why we can tell someone what we saw, or try to reproduce a noise we heard, making a "pwooosh!" and spreading our hands for effect.

    Did you know that the government isn't even doing the data aggregation? It's civilian companies that produce and distribute the hardware, that make deals with other co

  • There are ones that have an LCD screen. When the vehicle is running, the display is clear. When you turn off your car, the LCD screen is BLACK.
  • I'd say go for it... With the following two caveats: Since the city council is claiming you get no privacy on a public street, then all scans should be uploaded immediately to a public facing, searchable web site and No scrubbing of data is allowed. That means, city council, that your plate scans are available for everyone to see (including date/time and place). I'll bet once they discover that anyone can see their car parked outside of Mistress Gretta's Rub N' Tug every day at lunchtime, they may not thin
  • except there's a difference between "people can see me" and "people are WATCHING ME ALL THE TIME!!!!"

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe

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