5 July 2011

RAPID results

| johnboy
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The full-time team operating ACT Policing’s number plate recognition system RAPID (Recognition and Analysis of Plates IDentified) has racked up one year in active service on ACT roads, reading over 856743 plates and quickly emerging as a major asset in the ongoing effort to reduce collisions and road trauma.

Over the financial year 2010-11, the six-person team has identified 1772 unregistered vehicles, and 780 vehicles without CTP (compulsory third party) insurance, as well as 474 unlicensed, 57 disqualified, and 148 suspended drivers.

Working in cooperation with ACT Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) inspectors, the RAPID team also identified 1213 defective vehicles.

In total, the RAPID team issued 4858 Traffic Infringement Notices (TIN’s) in its first full year of operation.

The Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations, Sergeant Jeff Knight, said that RAPID had proved itself as a first-rate asset to ACT road safety by identifying drivers who pose the greatest risk to others.

“We know that those drivers who do not pay their vehicle registration or CTP insurance, or continue to drive whilst unlicensed or disqualified, are risk-takers on our roads and are more likely to be involved in a serious collision,” Sergeant Knight said.

“In the financial year 2009-2010, we had 20 collisions involving fatalities. Seven of those fatalities – nearly one third – involved an unlicensed driver or an unregistered vehicle.

“In this financial year (2010-11), only one unlicensed driver on one unregistered vehicle – a quad bike – was involved in a fatal collision. And that particular collision occurred on a rural dirt road where RAPID does not operate.”

Sergeant Knight said that collisions with injury had also fallen markedly over the same period.

“Comparing the financial year 2009-10 with the 12 months just concluded, collisions with injury have fallen by 8 per cent,” Sergeant Knight said.

“There are major flow-on benefits for the territory and the community from this reduction in road trauma. Aside from the reduced pain and suffering for the victims and their families, fewer road crashes means less pressure on the hospitals, lower compensation payouts and less overall demand on government services.”

The RAPID team received dedicated funding from the ACT Government in the May 2010 Budget. A three-car RAPID team was then quickly established, operating on a full-time roster.

[Courtesy ACT Policing]

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CoffinRX2 said :

Its quite silly that the RAPID system only links up with ACT system, …. NSW cars dont appear to be picked up

I doubt things will change any time soon, not until we drop state licensing and move into one federal system.

Its quite silly that the RAPID system only links up with ACT system, …. NSW cars dont appear to be picked up

Spideydog said :

Presumption of innocence is not decided by a police officer, it is decided by a court of law. If you are merely a “suspect” you are still innocent until proven guilty and the burdon to prove YOUR guilt is 100% on the prosecution.

I should clarify as that was written badly, presumption of innocence is always there (and is not decided) the presumption of innocence only disappears after PROVEN guilty in court.

RedDogInCan said :

Precisely because it does change the presumption of innocence into a suspicion of guilt based on circumstantial evidence.

Absolute rubbish. You may want to learn the legal meaning of the presumption of innocence. Presumption of innocence is not decided by a police officer, it is decided by a court of law. If you are merely a “suspect” you are still innocent until proven guilty and the burdon to prove YOUR guilt is 100% on the prosecution.

Absolute paranoia ……..

RedDogInCan said :

The privacy issue isn’t so much to do with your location being recorded but with the potential to be suspected of something you had absolutely nothing to do with other than being in the vicinity at the time.

Okay then …….. what is the difference between you being near the scene of a crime (pure coincidence) and police either identify you at the time and speak with you, or you are identified another way, ie another person nominates you as being in the area or CCTV etc, etc and then police later knocking on the door to ask you about it????? ASK being the operative word. Are these scenario’s also infringing on your civil rights and invading your privacy by allegedly “changing the presumption of innocence” ?

RedDogInCan said :

For example, take the recent hit and run on the Monaro Highway. Everyone who was recorded as driving down that road at that time would be treated a suspect until they could prove their innocence.

At best, RAPID could be used to establish cars that were in a given area at a given time; helping to build a case once *actual* evidence is discovered. As far as I am aware, the presumption of innocence still exists… I’m sure any victim would appreciate *any* information that can help identify the perpetrator of a crime against them… the crims, not so much…

fernandof said :

For example, its probably possible to audit all accesses to the data and have a periodical review of those auditing record to ensure no unauthorised access was done. If privacy is not important and you’re happy to trust the police blindly because, as you put it “who’d want [to use the data unlawfully]?”, then kudos for you. I think we should trust the police to the same extend we trust any human being, i.e., it’s true most people are honest, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t put restricting mechanisms to ensure they are indeed acting honestly.

I’m comfortable with trusting government workers (being one myself, and knowing the expectations of Govt employees). But I agree that some sort of audit, as you’ve outlined, would be fair and reasonable, too…

I know of cases where CCTV footage has been used as evidence to establish that someone was in a particular area at a particular time, but at best, that sort of information is used to help build a case. I have no problem with RAPID data being used in the same way. I can’t think of a way RAPID data could be misused, but then, I certainly don’t think as a criminal would.

pandaman said :

Is it just me or has there been a noticeable increase in the amount of cars parked on the side of the road with the plates removed in the last few months? I seem to see at least one every day and I’m only cruising round a few select suburbs.

Now that you mentioned it, I think you’re right. I’ll be looking for this kind of things now. In what suburbs have you noticed that? Maybe those are good areas to deploy RAPID patrols more regularly…

pandaman said :

If it’s the result of the RAPID system, good stuff!

+1 to that!

Gerry-Built said :

fernandof said :

Clearly you know that without a reason, there’s absolutely no way anyone would be able to use the data.

honestly… who’d WANT to? You’d have to have a reason to look. Law abiding citizens still have naught to worry about.

Hopefully no one, but this is no reason to ignore serious risks to our privacy right.

I truly believe most police officers, just like most people in the world, are honest people who just want to do their job right. I also believe that police officers, just like the majority of the people in the world, would align their principles with the contextual community they serve, i.e., if the people of Australia ignore the right for privacy, the police officers of Australia would do the same. I don’t want that to happen.

Look, let’s take the RAPID system as an example. The RAPID system can be implemented & used in such a way that it will guarantee the privacy right, and it can be implemented & used in such a way that the privacy right is completely ignored. For example, its probably possible to audit all accesses to the data and have a periodical review of those auditing record to ensure no unauthorised access was done. If privacy is not important and you’re happy to trust the police blindly because, as you put it “who’d want [to use the data unlawfully]?”, then kudos for you. I think we should trust the police to the same extend we trust any human being, i.e., it’s true most people are honest, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t put restricting mechanisms to ensure they are indeed acting honestly.

Please note that I don’t know how the RAPID system is designed so I obviously can’t comment on how its doing its magic, or how privacy is handled by it. This is just an example to clarify the point I’m trying to make.

pandaman said :

Exactly what’s wrong with Officer Plod dropping round to ask if you know anything about the incident if you happened to be in the area at the time? You’re assuming that there would be an assumption of guilt and backing it up with no reasoning.

Precisely because it does change the presumption of innocence into a suspicion of guilt based on circumstantial evidence. Officer Plod isn’t going to be satisfied with a polite ‘I didn’t do it’ response. He’ll ask if you mind if he has a look around your stuff, something you’re quite within your rights to refuse but doing so won’t help prove your innocence. He’ll then ask if there is anyone who can verify your story and now he’s off talking to your neighbours, friends and work colleagues about some heinous crime you’re suspected of. You’ll always be a suspect until it can be proven someone else did it.

The privacy issue isn’t so much to do with your location being recorded but with the potential to be suspected of something you had absolutely nothing to do with other than being in the vicinity at the time.

RedDogInCan said :

p1 said :

It would be awesome if the police could type the location and time of a string of crimes, and the system could list any vehicles in those locations at the time.

Umm… isn’t this exactly the privacy concern people have – you automatically become a suspect just because you happen to be driving in the area at the time. Next thing you know Officer Plod drops around to ask a few questions and you find yourself having to explain why you are innocent.

For example, take the recent hit and run on the Monaro Highway. Everyone who was recorded as driving down that road at that time would be treated a suspect until they could prove their innocence.

Exactly what’s wrong with Officer Plod dropping round to ask if you know anything about the incident if you happened to be in the area at the time? You’re assuming that there would be an assumption of guilt and backing it up with no reasoning. I reckon that if the system has the potential to be used in this manner, it’s an even better idea than when all it did was pick up idiots who can’t handle the concept of annual registration fees.

Is it just me or has there been a noticeable increase in the amount of cars parked on the side of the road with the plates removed in the last few months? I seem to see at least one every day and I’m only cruising round a few select suburbs. If it’s the result of the RAPID system, good stuff!

thatsnotme said :

What I do have a bit of a concern about though – and this is assuming that RAPID does actually retain more data than just ‘is this car registered and is the driver licensed’ – is the security of that stored data.

From my understanding (as seen on Stateline), all RAPID does is scans and reads plates, and then displays existing data from RTA and Police, in exactly the same way as they used to get that information by radioing it in, in times gone by. RAPID simply makes many, many more reads, and automates the data retrieval in a few seconds. It might store that number plate/location data; but again, this is simply no use unless they are looking for something afterward (ie establishing a pattern of behaviour or trying to prove that it was possible someone was somewhere at some point). All they (RAPID) are interested in at the time is unregistered vehicles, unlicensed drivers and roadworthy cars. The is always going to be the possibility of data being misused – but if anyone is going to misuse data; RAPID data sets would be pretty innocuous.

fernandof said :

Clearly you know that without a reason, there’s absolutely no way anyone would be able to use the data.

honestly… who’d WANT to? You’d have to have a reason to look. Law abiding citizens still have naught to worry about.

Special G said :

Paranoid much.

The Police can pinpoint your position by pulling you over as well then recording the information in their notebook and uploading it to the system. They use RAPID to identify the people to spend their time talking to. Look at it as a screening system.

That’s not the point though. If the Police pull me over, they can tell where I was at the time that I was pulled over. RAPID lets them know where I was at that time, and potentially also where I was last week, and last month, etc etc.

Now personally, I’m not particularly concerned about the Police having that information, because as a law abiding citizen, I’m confident that knowing where I was a week ago won’t suddenly implicate me in any crimes.

What I do have a bit of a concern about though – and this is assuming that RAPID does actually retain more data than just ‘is this car registered and is the driver licensed’ – is the security of that stored data. I’d like to trust that the Police will be bound by privacy laws, and the rules if that information is used in any criminal case…but I really hope they’re securing that data well. I think about Sony, RSA, and a number of other organisations who have had data stolen in recent times, and begin to wonder about the wisdom of having a database in existence that basically pinpoints who was where, and when.

Paranoid much.

The Police can pinpoint your position by pulling you over as well then recording the information in their notebook and uploading it to the system. They use RAPID to identify the people to spend their time talking to. Look at it as a screening system.

This link is a joke about how Police harass people (top Google hit – it has been reworked for almost every jurisdiction). http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091230172750AA6L2RS

When you got your licence and registered your car you provided all the information required for the Police to track you down if required. Your address is recorded all over the place and easily obtainable should someone have the need to find it.

RedDogInCan said :

p1 said :

It would be awesome if the police could type the location and time of a string of crimes, and the system could list any vehicles in those locations at the time.

Umm… isn’t this exactly the privacy concern people have – you automatically become a suspect just because you happen to be driving in the area at the time. …..

This is why I also am torn on this technology. We are basically saying “if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to fear…”, but I’ve never bought that one…

Gerry-Built said :

Any privacy concerns are simply rubbish.

Yeah, whatever.

Gerry-Built said :

Clearly the intent of the RAPID team is to prune ignorant road users from the mob. No-one is going to troll through so much collected data, unless they are looking for something. To be looking for something they’d need some reason. That reason would imply some crime has been committed. What other possible reason could the Police have for going through it?

Clearly you know that without a reason, there’s absolutely no way anyone would be able to use the data. Cool, so the system has privacy protection built right into it. That’s very good news, thanks for sharing with us. Can I assume you’re the architect of the system to be able to announce this so confidently?

Any privacy concerns are simply rubbish. Clearly the intent of the RAPID team is to prune ignorant road users from the mob. No-one is going to troll through so much collected data, unless they are looking for something. To be looking for something they’d need some reason. That reason would imply some crime has been committed. What other possible reason could the Police have for going through it?

RAPID is a tool that allows the police to do EXACTLY one of the lines of work we expect of them, in a far more efficient manner than ever before. RAPID is a far greater use of public funds than speed cameras.

p1 said :

It would be awesome if the police could type the location and time of a string of crimes, and the system could list any vehicles in those locations at the time.

Umm… isn’t this exactly the privacy concern people have – you automatically become a suspect just because you happen to be driving in the area at the time. Next thing you know Officer Plod drops around to ask a few questions and you find yourself having to explain why you are innocent.

For example, take the recent hit and run on the Monaro Highway. Everyone who was recorded as driving down that road at that time would be treated a suspect until they could prove their innocence.

buzz819 said :

I see what your saying. You do realise they could have just sat a spot with a pen and paper and done the same thing?

Theoretically, yes they could do that without the system, but practically they could have not. With the system, it’s practical and feasible.

buzz819 said :

Your paranoia is quite bizarre, I see where your coming from, but what kind of useful information could you get from Joe Bloggs drive’s past here every day?

Paranoia? Really? And here I thought I’m a pragmatic and fairly logical person, but I guess you know best. Look, you know what, I don’t want to drag this conversation to that level, so let’s focus on the facts & opinions, all right?

There’s no paranoia and I don’t think the government is out there to get me. All I’m doing is bringing up a real concern around the breach of the privacy right. I think it’s naive to completely ignore the right for privacy and at the same time expect the authorities to protect it. I hope that by discussing the privacy issue and keeping the subject relevant, decision makers would take the privacy aspect into considerations when they invest in new systems for the law enforcements agencies.

You aren’t concerned about the risk? Fair enough, but don’t tell me there isn’t a risk. Oh, and BTW, I too am happy to take that risk. I think I made it abundantly clear before, but just in case: I think this system is brilliant and it will improve the great work ACT police is doing to keep our roads safe.

buzz819 said :

I don’t know if the information is recorded, or if it is a read only database that they query to see if a plate does in fact come up as being unreg. etc. I’m gonna go with a read only database, otherwise storing the 850,000 plates entries is going to be a stupid waste of everyones time.

And I would agree. But hardware gets cheaper by the minute and what today seems like a waste of money, in 1y time would make more sense to do. And by then, I hope conversations like this one would weigh decision makers to pursue a solution that protects the right for privacy.

I am pleased with the results the police have achieved using this tool.

There use of statistics and language is less good, but it raises some questions for me. I am curious to know just how many of the ACT’s resident have been read by the machine (I know I have been past thaws vehicle many times in the last year), as it might be an interesting exercise for the police to identify if there is a subset of people who only drive back streets ’cause they know they are unroadworth, or something like that.

Basically I am torn between being fascinated by the data mining potential that this system presents (especially if all speed, red light etc cameras were upgraded to the same standard) and the potential for it to be abused in some way by someone with an agenda I disagree with. It would be awesome if the police could type the location and time of a string of crimes, and the system could list any vehicles in those locations at the time.

buzz819 said :

storing the 850,000 plates entries is going to be a stupid waste of everyones time.

fyi thats a 6.8mb text file, a little bit more if it noted the time/location ever few hits.

buzz819 said :

… blah blah blah…. risk to the privacy right.

I see what your saying. You do realise they could have just sat a spot with a pen and paper and done the same thing?

Your paranoia is quite bizarre, I see where your coming from, but what kind of useful information could you get from Joe Bloggs drive’s past here every day?

I don’t know if the information is recorded, or if it is a read only database that they query to see if a plate does in fact come up as being unreg. etc. I’m gonna go with a read only database, otherwise storing the 850,000 plates entries is going to be a stupid waste of everyones time.

buzz819 said :


At the moment any person can do an FOI request of registrations, electoral role, Police indices etc. All these systems show the information that you are safe guarding?

Each time you give your information to the Police this information is put into a database that can in theory be subject to an FOI request.

The privacy risk is not about information you can have about yourself, it’s about your information being used by other organisations.

The FOI request process has very clear instructions for protecting the privacy right: before you get a response from an FOI request, the officer handling the request would redact any information that may be used to identify any particular person that’s not yourself or is legally related to you. For example, if you ask for statistical information around income per geographical region, the officer handling the request would remove any information that can be used to identify particular people, and will only handover statistical information that related to a large enough group of people.

buzz819 said :


Each time you give your information to the Police this information is put into a database that can in theory be subject to an FOI request.

So given that, how do you think the Police can misuse the information, I want an example that can not be obtained by using another form of intelligence, if you can not come up with one, then your point is moot, we may as well move on. I look forward to your answer.

Okay, let’s take your average person, i.e., a law abiding citizen with no convictions who’s paying his / her legal fees. For that person the police have very limited information and cannot, at the moment, track his/her whereabouts without a really good reason. It’s true that given a court order, the police could track that person via the phone or other location-related technology, but the point is that the police has to actively contact a 3rd party to do so (e.g., an ISP / cellular provider) and that activity would be audited by the court. However, with this system the police own the data and so there’s nothing in the technology preventing the police from pinpointing a person’s location without first obtaining a court request.

Please note that I’m not saying the police is indeed doing so. I hope the police follow the exact same process when they use their own systems as when they use 3rd parties, i.e., before using the data collected by the RAPID system (if indeed data is being collected, I do not know), they’ll have to request a court order alloying them to do so. The point is that with this system the police gain a capability that it didn’t have before, a capability that introduces a risk to the privacy right.

ConanOfCooma said :

alaninoz said :

Misuse, or ignorance, of statistics on display here. I agree the system is broken, though.

I prefer the term abuse.

Theirs AND yours.

ConanOfCooma said :

alaninoz said :

Misuse, or ignorance, of statistics on display here. I agree the system is broken, though.

I prefer the term abuse.

You would.

ConanOfCooma9:43 am 06 Jul 11

alaninoz said :

Misuse, or ignorance, of statistics on display here. I agree the system is broken, though.

I prefer the term abuse.

shadow boxer8:34 am 06 Jul 11

olfella said :

In that case you should be concerned that you can be tracked throughout the day via your Mobile phone..

BUT you can choose to turn phone off.

I think the whole cilil liberties privacy battle has been fought and lost, In the 80’s it was abhorrent to most people that someone (or the Government) could install cameras or monitor people doing their jobs or going about their daily business. People would have rioted on the streets.

These days it is the accepted norm that if you are outside someone is probably filming you.

Sad but one of those facts of life.

eyeLikeCarrots said :

Soooo they have the numbers of people scanned and booked. But apparently the whole thing is there to reduce ‘collisions and road trauma’.

Sgt Knight goes on to say “We know that those drivers who do not pay their vehicle registration or CTP insurance, or continue to drive whilst unlicensed or disqualified, are risk-takers on our roads and are more likely to be involved in a serious collision”

So I’d like to know:

1 – Precisely how many collisions RAPID has prevented. Seeing as how they haven’t happened, that could be difficult. The same could be said for road trauma, the absence of severe injury does not support RAPID’s stated purpose and that is to reduce collisions and road trauma.

2 – How much cash has the whole thing cost compared to how much of it has been bought in ? Cost/benefit analysis…

The authorities cannot hide behind the heartstrings and say “we’re making the roads safer”. They need to be honest and demonstrate how the money from fines and sanctions is being used to make the roads safer. I suppose that they’ll fall on the old chestnut of “Well we covered the cost of the RAPID system so it didn’t cost us anything and become self sustaining”

The only way a government can avoid being hypocritical, is to demonstrate that every dollar and cent from fines is being put back into road safety….

But then they would have to apply the same principle to tobacco tax and the health system, income from the gaming industry and services for those poor gambling addicts….

Are you serious?????

Putting all that dribble aside, this system appears to be quite successfully getting unregistered, uninsured, unlicenced and disqualified drivers/vehicle off the road ………

eyeLikeCarrots9:22 pm 05 Jul 11

Soooo they have the numbers of people scanned and booked. But apparently the whole thing is there to reduce ‘collisions and road trauma’.

Sgt Knight goes on to say “We know that those drivers who do not pay their vehicle registration or CTP insurance, or continue to drive whilst unlicensed or disqualified, are risk-takers on our roads and are more likely to be involved in a serious collision”

So I’d like to know:

1 – Precisely how many collisions RAPID has prevented. Seeing as how they haven’t happened, that could be difficult. The same could be said for road trauma, the absence of severe injury does not support RAPID’s stated purpose and that is to reduce collisions and road trauma.

2 – How much cash has the whole thing cost compared to how much of it has been bought in ? Cost/benefit analysis…

The authorities cannot hide behind the heartstrings and say “we’re making the roads safer”. They need to be honest and demonstrate how the money from fines and sanctions is being used to make the roads safer. I suppose that they’ll fall on the old chestnut of “Well we covered the cost of the RAPID system so it didn’t cost us anything and become self sustaining”

The only way a government can avoid being hypocritical, is to demonstrate that every dollar and cent from fines is being put back into road safety….

But then they would have to apply the same principle to tobacco tax and the health system, income from the gaming industry and services for those poor gambling addicts….

In that case you should be concerned that you can be tracked throughout the day via your Mobile phone..

BUT you can choose to turn phone off.

Rawhide Kid Part35:09 pm 05 Jul 11

fernandof said :

Kayellar said :

fernandof said :

I’m always concerned that these kind of systems can be reused for other purposes limiting personal privacy.

What privacy issues here exactly? This is a system doing on moving cars what PC Plod can do on foot, but more efficiently. If you drive a deffective or unregistered car, or drive without a licence, what privacy should you be expecting?

The privacy issues here are around harvesting rego & position, i.e., if you submit the identified regos to a system, and assuming you know where you’ve captured them from (GPS of the patrol car, or the officer manually submitting the patrol car position), you can easily cross-reference people to their location. That, in my opinion, is quite a concerning privacy issue which the system can fully support.

This ability to pin-point the location of people is something that would have been extremely difficult without the usage of such an automated system. It’s this new ability that concerns me. However, as I said before, in this case I think it’s a risk worth taking, in other words I think the benefits we get from this system are greater then the privacy concerns.

In that case you should be concerned that you can be tracked throughout the day via your Mobile phone..

fernandof said :

niftydog said :

fernandof said :

The privacy issues here are around harvesting rego & position… you can easily cross-reference people to their location.

No, you can cross reference people to the whereabouts of the car the have registered under their name. It’s obvious what you say is indeed possible, but I’m still struggling to see the nefariousness in this. In fact, sounds to me like a fantastic way to execute arrest warrants!

you’re absolutely right, the cross-reference is of the rego & the registered driver, not a particular person per se. But we both agree that in most cases cars are being driven by the registered driver, or someone from the family. I know we agree on that point because if you think it’s a fantastic way to execute arrest warrants, you too believe that the system will successfully cross reference a person (being handed an arrest warrant) and its location.

And look, I’m not saying it has no beneficial usages, executing arrests is indeed one very beneficial usage, all I am saying is that it can be easily misused. I think that some people are corrupt and because police officers (any other person with access to the police records) are people, they too may be corrupt. With this system, you are enabling a greater level of privacy risk than if you didn’t have this system.

Now, do I think the system is bad and shouldn’t be used because of the risk? No, I think in this case the benefits outweighs the risks. That said, the risk still exist, and it’s not a small one.

I’m struggling to see how you see this as being a problem?

At the moment any person can do an FOI request of registrations, electoral role, Police indices etc. All these systems show the information that you are safe guarding?

If the RAPID team finds that one particular location has a higher amount of unregistered drivers, then that is where they go. It is called intelligence lead Policing. If one suburb has a greater number of crimes in it then any other I’m sure the Police use those stats to go into the suburb.

Each time you give your information to the Police this information is put into a database that can in theory be subject to an FOI request.

So given that, how do you think the Police can misuse the information, I want an example that can not be obtained by using another form of intelligence, if you can not come up with one, then your point is moot, we may as well move on. I look forward to your answer.

What is it with this “privacy” rubbish? I want those that should not be on the road, found and punished. The more efficiently, the better.

Also, I might be in my car going to work during the week, or somewhere else on the weekend.

BUT if I need my privacy protected, I will don a disguise, call a cab from a nearby public phone, while wearing gloves, and give my destination as somewhere else, and pay in cash. Ahh! no cash, “Can we stop at the ATM on the way? Ta”

Tooks said :

Pinpoint locations? Do you own a mobile phone? By your logic, police could also misuse that technology and track you easier that way.

Yes, that’s correct. So what?

Is your argument that because we currently have low levels of privacy, we shouldn’t take privacy into considerations for when we deploy new systems for law enforcement agencies? I would argue the opposite: it’s true we have low levels of privacy and that’s precisely why we should be extra-cautious when giving law enforcement agencies new systems that put at risk that right.

niftydog said :

fernandof said :

The privacy issues here are around harvesting rego & position… you can easily cross-reference people to their location.

No, you can cross reference people to the whereabouts of the car the have registered under their name. It’s obvious what you say is indeed possible, but I’m still struggling to see the nefariousness in this. In fact, sounds to me like a fantastic way to execute arrest warrants!

you’re absolutely right, the cross-reference is of the rego & the registered driver, not a particular person per se. But we both agree that in most cases cars are being driven by the registered driver, or someone from the family. I know we agree on that point because if you think it’s a fantastic way to execute arrest warrants, you too believe that the system will successfully cross reference a person (being handed an arrest warrant) and its location.

And look, I’m not saying it has no beneficial usages, executing arrests is indeed one very beneficial usage, all I am saying is that it can be easily misused. I think that some people are corrupt and because police officers (any other person with access to the police records) are people, they too may be corrupt. With this system, you are enabling a greater level of privacy risk than if you didn’t have this system.

Now, do I think the system is bad and shouldn’t be used because of the risk? No, I think in this case the benefits outweighs the risks. That said, the risk still exist, and it’s not a small one.

fernandof said :

Kayellar said :

fernandof said :

I’m always concerned that these kind of systems can be reused for other purposes limiting personal privacy.

What privacy issues here exactly? This is a system doing on moving cars what PC Plod can do on foot, but more efficiently. If you drive a deffective or unregistered car, or drive without a licence, what privacy should you be expecting?

The privacy issues here are around harvesting rego & position, i.e., if you submit the identified regos to a system, and assuming you know where you’ve captured them from (GPS of the patrol car, or the officer manually submitting the patrol car position), you can easily cross-reference people to their location. That, in my opinion, is quite a concerning privacy issue which the system can fully support.

The stuff you write about driving illegally has nothing to do with the privacy concerns: the system collects regos, all regos, both of legal & illegal drivers. The question is what do you do with that data. From this article, we know the system cross-references the rego to driver licences and spits out offending drivers, but there’s no technical constraint preventing the police / other agency from harvesting all the captured regos for later use.

This ability to pin-point the location of people is something that would have been extremely difficult without the usage of such an automated system. It’s this new ability that concerns me. However, as I said before, in this case I think it’s a risk worth taking, in other words I think the benefits we get from this system are greater then the privacy concerns.

Pinpoint locations? Do you own a mobile phone? By your logic, police could also misuse that technology and track you easier that way.

Sounds like a good outcome to me. And if they can determine that I drive between my house and work places during the week, well, who really cares?

Would be cool if this could identify make and model and find stolen cars before they’re even reported!

ConanOfCooma said :

…they’ve gone through everyone at least once…

Not necessarily.

SammyLivesHere said :

I understand it is the ACT Government that pays your medicals…

qué? Third party insurance providers pay, not the Government. In the case of unregistered drivers, sometimes the insurer will pay at their discretion and seek to reclaim the cost from the offender. Otherwise, it becomes a civil matter for the courts.

fernandof said :

The privacy issues here are around harvesting rego & position… you can easily cross-reference people to their location.

No, you can cross reference people to the whereabouts of the car the have registered under their name. It’s obvious what you say is indeed possible, but I’m still struggling to see the nefariousness in this. In fact, sounds to me like a fantastic way to execute arrest warrants!

Kayellar said :

What privacy issues here exactly? This is a system doing on moving cars what PC Plod can do on foot, but more efficiently. If you drive a deffective or unregistered car, or drive without a licence, what privacy should you be expecting?

I guess it depends on what happens to the records of the innocent drivers. No problem if those records are destroyed if no offence is found. If they are kept, though, then the right of innocent citizens to go about their business without government monitoring is being infringed. I don’t know what actually happens to the records so I can’t judge where the balance lies.

Kayellar said :

fernandof said :

I’m always concerned that these kind of systems can be reused for other purposes limiting personal privacy.

What privacy issues here exactly? This is a system doing on moving cars what PC Plod can do on foot, but more efficiently. If you drive a deffective or unregistered car, or drive without a licence, what privacy should you be expecting?

The privacy issues here are around harvesting rego & position, i.e., if you submit the identified regos to a system, and assuming you know where you’ve captured them from (GPS of the patrol car, or the officer manually submitting the patrol car position), you can easily cross-reference people to their location. That, in my opinion, is quite a concerning privacy issue which the system can fully support.

The stuff you write about driving illegally has nothing to do with the privacy concerns: the system collects regos, all regos, both of legal & illegal drivers. The question is what do you do with that data. From this article, we know the system cross-references the rego to driver licences and spits out offending drivers, but there’s no technical constraint preventing the police / other agency from harvesting all the captured regos for later use.

This ability to pin-point the location of people is something that would have been extremely difficult without the usage of such an automated system. It’s this new ability that concerns me. However, as I said before, in this case I think it’s a risk worth taking, in other words I think the benefits we get from this system are greater then the privacy concerns.

SammyLivesHere2:12 pm 05 Jul 11

The article referred to : “reading over 856743 plates and quickly”.

Of course they are going to have scan, rescan and scan again everyone’s plates. Why? Cause one month we are ‘in rego’ and the next we may have not renewed, decided it was too expensive and not paid, etc. Plate recognition is a great – I just hope they are automatically issue tickets on this system as well.

Car users sign a contract when they get in their cars, (1) they will make sure their car is road worthy (2) they will pay the appropriate fees and charges determined to up keep roads and staff to maintain the roads (3) they will stick to the designated speed limits [or get a racing car]; and (4) try not to drive so as to injure themselves or others!

ConanOfCooma said :

So they’ve scanned nearly a million plates?

I didn’t think there were that many cars in Canberra. Either that, or they’ve gone through everyone at least once, and the system is so broken they still didn’t pick up all the law breakers!

Misuse, or ignorance, of statistics on display here. I agree the system is broken, though.

Well maybe there have been circa 1 million events of a car passing by a RAPID vehicle, which would include multiple passages by the same vehicle – i.e. 3 times on the GDE between 8 and 9, and I’d count for three of 856,743. Or another way – 856,743 / 365 = 2,347 cars per day (assuming every single day for a year). Anyone want to sit by the side of the GDE or Yarra Glen or *INSERT ARTERIAL ROAD HERE* in the morning and count if they think the number is achievable in one morning peak?

Meanwhile – Using 2009-10 to make your point about reducing fatalities as a result of unregistered vehicles and unlicensed drives is a bit pointless isn’t it? i.e. four of seven fatalities were the Mully-pocalypse, no? Or does that only count as one?

and so those that break the laws of the common good – ie get their licence cancelled or suspended just choose to ignore that…. how unusual….

SammyLivesHere said :

I understand it is the ACT Government that pays your medicals, etc. if you have an accident and are either injured or worse still killed. What happens if you have an accident with someone who hasn’t paid their Registration? Anyone know the consequences of these people being on the road?

It’s NRMA who pay for everything. (3rd party insurance)

If the driver who causes an accident is in an unregistered car. You have to sue them personally for damages and medical expenses.

fernandof said :

I’m always concerned that these kind of systems can be reused for other purposes limiting personal privacy.

What privacy issues here exactly? This is a system doing on moving cars what PC Plod can do on foot, but more efficiently. If you drive a deffective or unregistered car, or drive without a licence, what privacy should you be expecting?

shadow boxer1:42 pm 05 Jul 11

aaah statistics, someone somewhere has put a lot of time into spinning those figures to their best advantage.

ConanOfCooma said :

So they’ve scanned nearly a million plates?

Thats only 2739 a day, assuming they ride in pairs, thats only 913 plates per pair (per day). Say they can scan 2 plates a second on northborne (assuming constant traffic), they only need to be scanning for under 10 minutes (i think my maths is right). Even if they get a car driving past once every 5 seconds, thats just over an hour.

Well, butter my buns and call me a biscuit……………………nearly a million, eh?

Hmmm…………think not.

Sounds like an extreme positive outcome to the system.

I must confess I have real issues with such system. From one hand I’m very content that the police can do their work faster and much more efficiently, but from the other hand, I’m always concerned that these kind of systems can be reused for other purposes limiting personal privacy.

It’s very hard for me to put the finger where to prefer privacy over law enforcement. I guess I’m OK with this system, but not so much with say, a full array of street cameras a la the London model.

Anyway, back on topic, good job ACT police!

SammyLivesHere1:24 pm 05 Jul 11

I understand it is the ACT Government that pays your medicals, etc. if you have an accident and are either injured or worse still killed. What happens if you have an accident with someone who hasn’t paid their Registration? Anyone know the consequences of these people being on the road?

ConanOfCooma1:16 pm 05 Jul 11

So they’ve scanned nearly a million plates?

I didn’t think there were that many cars in Canberra. Either that, or they’ve gone through everyone at least once, and the system is so broken they still didn’t pick up all the law breakers!

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