Police in Canberra suggest that their new point-to-point speed cameras be lined to unmanned aerial surveillance drones and used to track vehicles of interest to authorities. The first of the cameras will sport automated number plate recognition technology to calculate a car's average speed and whether it is within the legal limit, are due to hit the skies by the end of the year. Of course, with unmanned drones flying through the skies, they can be used for other tasks not linked to tracking cars.
Minutes from a Government point-to-point steering committee meeting held in June 2010 show that police recommended a broader range of uses for the cameras. According to the minutes which were obtained by the Opposition under the Freedom of Information Act, a senior police officer said the cameras could be used for other purposes. The minutes stated:
He noted that the use of P2P ANPR cameras to detect unregistered, stolen and other vehicles of interest would provide ongoing and longer term benefits for the project. a specific benefit would derive if the P2P cameras were linked to UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] which could track vehicles of interest.
Another meeting attendee said that revenue projections showed that the installations costs of the system would be paid back within six to 12 months. The minutes also had something a bit frightening said:
He noted that P2P systems had relatively low infringement rates, and there may be scope to reduce the tolerance level to increase infringement numbers.
The committee was advised the NRMA would object to such moves because of speedometer inaccuracies. The Canberra Liberals and some civil libertarians oppose the cameras from fear they could be misused by authorities. Alistair Coe, Opposition transport services spokesman said his party had concerns about the cameras' effectiveness and their potential to be used for mass surveillance.
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