Speed Cameras vs Surveillance


Despite what some petrolheads would have you believe, speed cameras are useful things.

I know this because studies that have researched their efficacy say so. 🙂

Actually, let me correct that last sentence. One study from 2005 which I have read, which references to several other studies, and uses them as a basis to come to what I think is a sensible conclusion says so.

A bit of a mouthful, I know, but there you have it.

Since most people won’t be interested to read the study which I am refering to, nor will they browse through any similar research report, like this one here, then I think there’s one important bit from the 2005 study which would be worth remembering:

All studies reported a reduction in road traffic collisions and casualties. The reduction in adverse outcomes in the immediate vicinity of camera sites varied considerably across studies, with ranges of 5-69% for collisions, 12-65% for injuries, and 17-71% for deaths at camera sites. Smaller reductions in adverse outcomes were seen over a wider area.
Oh, one other thing. And this is mainly for those of you who need some perspective to this. An extra bite, the thought  in your  subconscious that quietly says “this research was conducted by human beings, and humans are not perfect, so this imperfect research must have some kind of limitation”. It has :-
Published research consistently shows the effectiveness of speed cameras in preventing road traffic collisions
and injuries. However, the level of evidence is relatively poor, and better data need to be collected to improve the evidence base.
 The researchers of the 2005 study are saying that the reason for better data is to improve the evidence base. They are not saying they need more data to disprove the fact that speed cameras are necessary. Why should they say that when most of us agree that speed cameras are essential for a safer society?
What most of us do not agree about is whether the mass surveillance that was recently ruled unlawful in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (a legal body tasked to look at the surveillance of British agencies) is essential for a safer society. I certainly think its the greatest lie ever washed upon mankind. It’s about control and power, and not about safety or security.
Now, we can argue till the cows come home about the extent, methods, level of, acceptable targets, ethics, regulation and other intricacies of mass surveillance. And frankly those kind of debates are tedious.
But I’ll make it easy for you with something a little bit more interesting.
Imagine if we all lived in glass houses where anyone could see through everyone’s house. No one was allowed to hide anything. No curtains, no blinds, no privacy, nothing. Why? Because of Security. If we can all see what everyone is doing, everywhere, at all times, then we’ll all be safe – says groupthink.
So, you’ve just walked into your bedroom, and looking straight through the glass wall you can see in your neighbour’s living room, his wife and kids watching television. At the time, he is in the shower on the first floor. You look up, and from a patch of clearing in the steam covered glass wall of his shower, his soapy face is staring straight down at you. With a massive grin that said:
“Hie there, I see you’ve just had breakfast. Instead of the original Kellogs Special K, you’ve gone for some cheap  German knock off from Aldi. Earlier today I also saw that after you took a shit, you forgot to dry your hands before opening your fridge with wet hands, then after aimlessly walking around your kitchen, you are now standing in your bedroom looking at my wife. I’m watching you”
(***does the two finger and eyes I’m watching you sign***)
Would that be a kind of world you’d want to live in?
mass-surveillance - Copy

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