Sunday, August 27, 2006

Take a deep breath and count to 10

From The Scotsman:

A NETWORK of secret roadside cameras used to track terror suspects, drug traffickers and child abductors has been rolled out across Scotland, police have revealed.

Senior officers have told The Scotsman that the installation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras was completed this month, allowing detectives to monitor the movements of suspects from a 4,000 name watchlist as they travel on major routes across the country.

The surveillance equipment, which looks like ordinary speed cameras, was piloted in Strathclyde and Fife and police say it has been hugely successful in catching and monitoring thousands of suspects and criminals, including sex offenders, bogus callers and disqualified drivers.

But some human rights campaigners have branded the system a "Big Brother"-style infringement on personal liberties.

Human rights activits on both sides of the Atlantic need to get a grip and remember that cameras placed in public areas, like a roadside, record public behavior.

When walking down the sidewalk, or shopping in a public establishment or driving down a public roadway you have no reasonable expetation of privacy. What you do is open to public view and anybody with a camera can snap a picture of it.

There is no more lawful objection to the placment of cameras in public areas that there is to the stationing of police officers in those areas.