Posts Tagged 'California'

All Eyes on California Town

Photo by view-askew

The tiny town of Tiburon, Calif., wants to install almost $200,000 worth of security cameras so it can track all the cars coming into its city limits. Officials think it’s an effective measure against car theft. NPR says the “plan could effectively turn Tiburon into perhaps the nation’s first public gated community.”

Nevermind that crime, and car theft, is low in the town. This is another example of supporting the wrong solution to solve a big, tough problem. Nicole Ozer of the ACLU says instead of spending money on more law enforcement, they’re doing something that opens a can of worms – one that can lead to charges of spying and discrimination.

Jennifer King, a Berkeley professor of technology and public policy, goes even further to say privacy protections are a risk here – and can ultimately be used against the residents. She says these this type of data is always used for more than its original intent, citing toll records that have been subpoenaed in divorce cases.  

At a city council meeting, Tiburon resident Terry Graham said, “I’m horrified this is before us. We shouldn’t be surveiled every moment of the day. Why do we need to spend money to surveil residents who are innocent?”

Article via NPR and the Marin Independent Journal

Caltrain Guards Need More…Training

Photo by darthdowney

Photographer and Flickr member darthdowney was taking photos of the conductor at a Caltrain station in Mountain View, Calif., when a security guard told him it was not allowed “since the attack.” (Would that be 9/11? Swine flu?) Darthdowney tried to point out it was in fact legal, but soon gave up when he realized there was no getting through to the “goon,” as he called him.

Note to Caltrain employees: Photos of trains are perfectly legal. If you need to bone up on the law, read this.  And let’s stop with this tired old 9/11 crutch and start living according to the laws we are granted in a free society.

Read darthdowney’s account here.

California Coasting

Photo by Brian Auer

Online Maps Now, Street Photography Next?

Photo of our favorite building, LA’s US Bank Tower, from Google Maps

Assemblyman Joel Anderson has introduced legislation in California that would restrict the amount of detail involved in online mapping tools. In other words, he doesn’t want terrorists getting too familiar with the air ducts in a government building’s air shaft.

In the measure Anderson proposed last month, government buildings, along with schools, hospitals and churches, would be blurred in online satellite images-and violators will have to pay a $250,000 penalty per day.

The question that arises then is, where does it end? We blur out government buildings and schools, but really is that protecting us when these facilities are accessible through all manner of photos, maps and, uh, the street? And what does this say about street photography in general? Undoubtedly it will feed into the overall paranoia and fear of cameras, making things that much worse. Will street and architectural photographers eventually be forced to blur their images because it contains one these “sensitive” structures that Anderson is trying to eliminate from online maps? We will no longer be able to post images on the web of people, buildings and things that are clearly visible from public spaces? Maybe we should just jump in the DeLorean and head back to 1984 before it’s too late.

And, lastly, are we not trying to solve a massive global ideological problem with tiny, insignificant Band-Aids? has this interview with Anderson today, where among other things, Anderson says, “The fact is I would be remiss in my job if I didn’t take this seriously.” But really, is it an assemblyman’s job to take on technology, or is he looking for more high-profile causes to attach his name to? (Anderson also sponsored a bill which forced state pensions to stop investing in companies doing business with Iran.)

Article via

Thanks to Geoff for the link.

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