Thursday, September 08, 2011

Speed cameras: thin end of the surveillance society wedge

I hate speed cameras. I hate them because I never speed and thus if I were to get caught (I did once get caught in France) it will be because I am unintentionally speeding. The problem is that while speed cameras may deter habitual speeders and reduce accidents they have a terrible effect on people like me. I have gone from careful about my speed to obsessed.

The other problem is that speed cameras are a thin end of a dangerous wedge into a world of always on surveillance where minor transgressions are not overlooked. You may not be able to trust a special like an old time copper, but you can certainly trust a speed camera to nab you if your for a moment transgress while its beady eye is trained upon you.

If what we want is to prevent speeding we should have GPS enforced speed limiters in cars that would prevent dangerous speed. That would have the desired effect without surveillance and without any need for me to worry about my speed.

Of course, people will object to that one some sort of bogus freedom grounds that their car is being limited. All the while they'll accept the creeping privacy invasion that speed cameras represent.


If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy my travel book for people interested in science and technology: The Geek Atlas. Signed copies of The Geek Atlas are available.


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