RE: Transparency Debate: test case!

From: Billy Brown (
Date: Mon Apr 03 2000 - 16:40:42 MDT

Spike Jones wrote:
> 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?
> 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.

Hmm. Almost. There are two possibilities here:

1) The outraged citizenry convinces the city to stop using the cameras for
traffic law enforcement.

2) The fines stay the same, and the kinds of traffic violations they can
easily spot will become very rare.

In theory one might expect the traffic laws to be changed, but that doesn't
seem as likely - it would be very difficult to change them in a way that
would defuse protest without making them meaningless (and therefore setting
off equal protest from groups like MAD).

I predict that American cities will usually go with option 1, but British
cities will usually go with 2 - England seems to be a lot more comfortable
with public surveillance than America is.

Billy Brown

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