John D Radcliff, Specializing in Interactive Technology & Education!

Are closed circuit cameras necessary or just unfair?

        Cameras are everywhere.  Look at the toll roads or stop lights.  People are constantly being monitored and policed on whether they are breaking the law.  For example, one agency or company that monitors a citizens driving is the NTTA.  The North Texas Toll Authority charges people to drive on their roads and if the person does not have a tolltag, then an invoice is sent to the person.  Then the person has about a month to pay and if a the statement is not paid, then a citation is issued to the person.  If the citation is not paid, then a warrnt of arrest is issued against this person. 

        Even if a statement is issued incorrectly to the wrong person or an error has occurred then good luck.  The customer service with NTTA is terrible.  Something that is not clear is how a private company like the NTTA can have so much control and power over people?  When a ticket is issued for running a red light, you have the ability to challenge the ticket if it is not correct.  Many state and local govenments have come under attack about the use of cameras to police or control traffic violations. 

Redlight camera

        Some say this is a way for a local government to make money, it is an invasion of privacy, or these devices are not accurate.  This should be a great way for a city to utilize their man power and have local police look for more serious violations or crimes instead of worrying about the small traffic violators.  These cameras might be a way for the legal system to make money not just for the state but also for the attorneys being hired to dismiss tickets from these optical devices.  If used right an invasion of privacy could still be an issue with these cameras.  You can see what the cameras are seeing in any city by going to certain websites which allow anyone to view these cameras.  Yet a person can go to Facebook and find all sorts of information on people who freely post their information to the public.  So were do we draw the line on privacy? 

        The exception to this is when these cameras have helped police stop a crime or catch criminals.  For example, when the Chicago Police Department (CPD) installed a Web-based surveillance program in February of 2006, the cameras helped police make 1,200 arrests in a year-and-a-half time period.  I think as long as a person has a right to contest and dismiss the citation from a traffic or toll camera, then these devices have a valid purpose.

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