And people think the GCSB is a problem

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Michael Foreman reports on the positive uses of mass surveillance

Operators monitoring Auckland’s road network often target individual vehicles and stop them by manually switching traffic lights to red.

But operators at the Joint Traffic Operations Centre (JTOC) in Auckland will only take this action if a driver is clearly drunk, JTOC control room manager David Murphy said.

“It’s amazing how long a drunk driver will stop at a red light, but they usually fall asleep within about 10 minutes,” he said.

By this time the police had usually arrived at the scene.

“It’s a good feeling to get people like that off the road,” Murphy added.

The Auckland JTOC is connected to more than 450 closed-circuit TV cameras, most of which can be controlled remotely.

Some cameras can be zoomed in to focus on a subject up to 2 kilometres away, Murphy said.

But he stressed JTOC, which is operated jointly by the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) and Auckland Transport, was not designed to be a surveillance network.

It may not be designed that way, but it is used that way.

The Green Taliban keeps whipping up hysteria about the GCSB, and how it could, possibly, maybe be helping kill terrorists that are New Zealanders.

When the Government had to reveal how many people were surveilled under the technically illegal GCSB Bill, it was just ?a touch over 80 in total for a number of years.

All of those required search warrants.

All of those required oversight.

And yet we walk, drive, shop and entertain ourselves while we are constantly on camera.

Without a warrant.

Without oversight.

And as we have seen, the “misuse” of traffic cameras to stop a drunk driver is one thing. ?We can all see this as a “good” way to extend the use.

What’s next? ?Face recognition to find escaped prisoners? ?What about benefit cheats? ?How about deadbeat dads not paying their way?

There is even talk about cars being fitted with devices that can be triggered remotely to turn your engine off.

The Internet Party is only concerned about Internet Privacy. ?The Green Party is only concerned with the GCSB being used to kill terrorist New Zealanders.

But the real threat to privacy and the misuse of surveillance information obtained without any warrant or oversight lies in the private sector.


– Stuff