Re: Transparency Debate: test case!

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Sat Apr 01 2000 - 01:22:56 MST

Spike Jones wrote:
> > Billy Brown wrote:...All the system really does is reduce street crime a bit.
> > If there is another option that can be implemented without first becoming an
> > authoritarian state I don't see it.
> Hey cool! Once in a very blue moon we get an opportunity to have a
> philosophical debate which has an actual test case unfolding before our
> eyes, so that we might all make predictions and see them fulfilled or
> demolished.
> We have seen that Lockmart is providing traffic signal cameras to cities
> at no up front cost, only a cut of the fines collected. Under those
> circumstances
> we will all likely agree on one immediate outcome: the traffic cams will
> sprout like daisies after a spring rain.
> Then what will happen?
> We all will likely agree that since the ability of the city government
> to catch red light runners has suddenly and dramatically increased, and the
> cost of each apprehension has decreased, then immediately the city's
> coffers will begin to fill with newfound lucre.
> But then what will happen?
> Zero Powers and I might argue that city governments will be forced to
> reduce the fine for red light running! I predict this.

I don't. The chance that any given government will give a tax break is
inversely proportional to how many bureaucrats that government employs.
A governments and unions are like a perfect gas, it expands to fill all
vacuums and all containers...

> What do you predict?
> Mike Lorrey might predict that someone will figure out a way to
> defeat the cams. I agree this will likely happen, in fact I might
> participate in that activity. It has been years since I have received
> a traffic fine, however I have been known to blow a stop sign
> at 80 kph, as can be testified by Jeff Davis who was with me
> last time I did so. If the city put up an intersection cam I would
> be toast. I would have fun figuring out how to defeat the thing.

If such cams become widespread, I will definitely get either build them
for myself and freinds, or even go into business of making them.

You can go two routes: Destructive, or Non-destructive. I prefer the
destructive from an altruistic and principled point of view, in that if
I burn out the camera for myself, I'm also benefitting all of those
drivers who come after me, however, a non-destructive approach will
likely cause fewer legal problems dealing with the legalized thugs that
call themselves police, and the protection rackets that call themselves

The only difference between the two is a matter of power applied to the
target. A hand held EMP device is not much more than an ECM/EMI
generator on steroids. I built one back in 1990 when I was living in New
Mexico, and it was roughly based on a circuit I had gotten out of a book
by Information Unlimited of Amherst New Hampshire. It was switched by
police radar signals, and was meant to fry the radar sets of any cop who
tried to ding me. What I hadn't forseen was that the radar circuitry is
built to deal with much higher voltages and currents than an
automobile's control chips, so I got the unintended bonus of stopping
cops flat. Using such a device on the cameras of Big Brother and All His
Buddies (Mr. Zero's system, BBAAHB for short, sounds kinda like a lamb
being led to the slaughter ;) ), you would certainly not only be
escaping the grip of the velocity tax man (thats all moving violations
are really, taxes on your right of free transit), but you would be
striking a blow against the potential ubiquity of these systems

The non-destructive method would use a lower power version that merely
causes enough EMI based signal interference in the camera and its
trasmission circuits and connections that you basically snow out the
video signal. I'm told that you can do the same thing with CCD based
cameras using lasers as well, so that might be another method to try,
thoug it would take more circuit intelligence to point it at a camera
lense and keep it on target, whil the EMI method is an area weapon that
has the potential for collateral damage.

> Billy Brown might predict that the temptation by the city to
> become a miniature tyranny would be too much, and they
> would keep the fines the same as they were when it was
> difficult to bag scofflaws, or perhaps even increase the fines.
> I predict that if the fines are not substantially reduced, enough
> people will get mad as hell, decide not to take it anymore
> and refuse en mass to pay up.

Seattle ran into this problem with its parking problem several years
ago. They had something like $2.5 million in unpaid parking tickets
backlogged in the system (a good chunk from myself), all because the
tree huggin do gooders had conned the city's planning board to purposely
plan to have fewer parking spaces and lots, and to put a freeze on the
construction of parking garages, because they wanted to force people to
use the bus system, and the 'light rail' system they were planning on
ambushing the populace with, by making it too annoying to use your car
in the city.

They even tied your vehicle registration to whether you had paid your
parking tickets, which caused anyone who could to register their cars in
communities OUTSIDE Seattle (I was registered in Holly, on the Hood
Canal, where I spent many or most weekends). Finally they gave up and
dropped the fines you had to pay by like 50% and contracted a private
company to administer the collections.

> This test case is important, for it will be a foretaste of how future
> governments might be expected to behave in the future with
> increased surveillance abilities.
> Everybody who is following this thread, think this over and post
> a prediction. {8-] spike

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:08:58 MDT