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Menlo Park council looks at buying license plate readers, surveillance cameras

Original post made on Sep 24, 2013

As the Menlo Park Police Department seeks council approval tonight to purchase three automated license plate readers and four surveillance cameras, the council continues to work on hammering out a privacy policy delineating who may access the collected data and when.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 9:01 AM

Comments (22)

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Posted by Parker Hayes
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Sep 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm

The security state grows.

License plate readers? Drones? Red Light cameras? What is this, the KGB?

No real policy for protecting citizens?

Think government can manage information?

Ask a LOW LEVEL sys admin, a CONTRACTOR, how secure all this collected data is. Try asking that lil' Eddie Snowden fellow about security.

Or take a look at all the law enforcement types that misuse supposedly secure and private data for their own uses.

Y'all really want Hillary to be running the increased security state in 2023? For the libs, how about Rick Santorum, prying into your bedroom?


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Posted by Pat
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Expecting us to trust NCRIC is absurd. Where does Menlo Park draw the line when it comes to our privacy? Please stop this gross interference in our private lives.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

We are driving cars with state issued license plates on public roads Anybody can currently observe us and even photograph our cars whenever they want.

Why is there any expectation of privacy under these circumstances?


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Sep 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Have the Menlo Park City Father gone mad? Do they think this is Chicago? Do we really need all this "stuff" including red light cameras that have had little or no effect?
Wow, must have lots of money to waste on programs that have little or no merit. Too bad they can't think like the small, comfortable town we used to be.
How baout trying to take care of those that need care rather than wasting money like this. Maybe we will have to build a new BIG jail for all the folks the Menlo Park Police catch running red lights and not paying their traffic tickets.

Possibly, just old fashioned police work could keep the residents safe?


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Posted by Pumpkin edibles
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Peter: where do you draw the line?

How long would the data be kept? Forever in a massive database?

Who should have access? Just cops? Contractors? Cops who want to check on their girl friend? Cops who want to check on your son or grandson, cause the cop saw him say hello once to his ex?

What level of security should be expected?

Can they photograph or scan private property?

Where do you draw the line?

Install a chip in our heads? A RFID chip? A national ID number tattooed on the forehead?

Where do you draw the line?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Pumpkin:

I'll tell you where I draw the line: IF YOU ARE IN PUBLIC YOU HAVE NO, ZERO, NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY. If you don't want to be observed doing anything, don't go out in public. I think we both acknowledge the stupidity of that. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public, period. That is case law, repeatedly ruled upon by the Supreme Court. If you don't like that I suggest you take it up with them. Good luck.


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Posted by Lucky Eddie
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Sep 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Notice that the NO PRIVACY folks never tell us where the line is?

A constant drone, recording all movement, all vehicles, all citizens, all the time, with no probable cause, including your backyard and windows, info kept forever and shared with all agencies, cops have access (cuz the girl smiled at him once) and subcontractors.

Yup. No privacy in the Constitution.

As Parker and Pumpkin asked: where is the line?

Is there reasonable cause anymore?

Can I pull you over because our drone tracked your car to the wrong side of town? Don't know if you drove it or someone else, but we think it was up to no good.

Atherton PD can do anything they want with data, right? You drove down ECR through town once, they should be able to cross reference the datebase, with other databases, maybe do a quick hack into the Almanac database and look up some IP addresses, right, Menlo Voter?

Where is the line, Menlo Voter?

Good luck with that.


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Posted by Evolve and learn
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Peter and Menlo Voter have, in my view, too much of a cut and dry view on this issue.

The various expectation of privacy in public cases, including Supreme Court, were decided when then-existing technology was drastically different than today's. They were decided when the information that could be collected by law enforcement in public was drastically different than what can be collected today.

It is entirely reasonable to expect and assume that accommodations will need to be made to reconcile today's technology with the collective citizenry's expectations of privacy.

It starts with citizens weighing in, at the local level, with their municipal governments to make sure their representatives understand their expectations. This should be encouraged, and not just written off as futile given various decade-old cases.

It will continue on, ultimately, with various case law being revised to accommodate what is now possible, and/or new legislation at the state and federal level to do the same.

Most importantly, it is not only normal, but critical, that citizens be able to comment on how various societal evolutions (including technology) need to reshape laws and policies.


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Posted by Wake up
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm

"If you don't want to be observed doing anything, don't go out in public."

The problem as has been repeatedly observed is that the definition of 'wrongdoing' changes with those in power. Once upon a time people did not want to be seen going to a gay bar. Once upon a time people of different races did not want to be seen in public together. Once upon a time and now upon a time women do not want to be seen walking into a Planned Parenthood clinic through a crowd of protesters.

They didn't want to be seen not because anything is wrong with doing any of that, or because any of that was illegal, but because those in power could make your life a living hell for exercising your freedom in ways that they did not approve of.

And THAT is why people should pay attention to who is monitoring what and why.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Luckie:

[Portion removed; be respectful to other posters.]

"Can I pull you over because our drone tracked your car to the wrong side of town? Don't know if you drove it or someone else, but we think it was up to no good."

No "Reasonable Suspicion" or "Probable Cause " is required. If that can't be delineated, then NO you can't be stopped simply because you were observed. But, you know that don't you?

"You drove down ECR through town once, they should be able to cross reference the data base, with other databases, maybe do a quick hack into the Almanac database and look up some IP addresses, right, Menlo Voter?"

Again, NO. Probable cause or reasonable suspicion is required. Again, you know that already, don't you?

Fact is, if you ever venture into public you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. This really isn't a difficult concept and has been repeatedly ruled upon by the supreme Court.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Wake up:

what part of being in public do you not understand? The things you cite are no different now than they were thirty years ago. If you didn't want to be seen doing something, you didn't do it in public. Please tell me what is different now besides the ability to more easily record what happens in public.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2013 at 10:12 pm

It's not the being observed, it's being recorded for time everlasting that is the problem that is being wrestled with by the ACLU, the EFF, etc. You know, the things that we all discussed in a similar, recent thread about this issue.


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Posted by Lucky Eddie
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm

"Again, NO. Probable cause or reasonable suspicion is required. Again, you know that already, don't you?"

Caucasian visits wrong part of EPA at the wrong hour, back to Menlo but decides to go up to the JinB on 5th through Atherton, munching away on the twoferabuck tacos. APD thinks it's Menlo Voter, a known miscreant against the system, according to several databases that get cross referenced, and whoops, look who has been doing interesting posts online. Add to that the time your kid borrowed the car, and Lord knows where s/he took it. And your wife's trips.

I can make up a lot of examples, and suddenly MV has a pattern known to be suspicious.

But since you think I'm stupid, answer this: where is the line? Been asked by three posters, four times now. Where is YOUR line? What will you 'no' to, what is 'too far'?

Or I am being "stupid" again?

I'm outta here.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 25, 2013 at 7:36 am

Lucky:

there is no line if you're in public. Is that clear enough for you?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 9:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Where do I draw the line? At the walls of my home;anything outside those walls is, as has been confirmed time and time again by the courts, in the public domain.
There are people who can and do stay 'off the information grid' by not using public spaces or driving a car with a license plate or using the internet but I prefer the benefits of public spaces, my car and the internet to the very small risks of using them.

I also agree that when public agencies collect data on what I do in public spaces that there should be reasonable limits on the access to and use of that data.


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Posted by Ben Franklin
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:04 am

I'm with the other privacy advocates, and those that are concerned with the mismanagement of a person's "papers" as defined in the Constitution.

MV has no line, just falls back on "public". Okay. MV doesn't care about giving away the privacy rights of other citizens.

"At the walls of my home;anything outside those walls is"

So Peter draws his line at the walls, not the curtains, not the 200 foot fence, not the shrub line, not under the awning or deck umbrella.

Using the poster's above example, an aerial drone, or otherwise mounted camera can record all the outside movement on Peter's property, although it arguably sounds like Peter will draw the line on radar that goes through his walls.

And Peter doesn't talk about duration of the data being saved, shared, given to 3rd party contractors to analyze or otherwise massage, and then mismanage. That film of his backyard, while Peter and the missus traveled, and his grandkids came over to party a bit in the backyard, you know, his granddaughter's girlfriends..... that needs to be analyzed over and over.

That actually doesn't matter - what matters is Peter enjoys giving away other folks privacy rights.

Who wants to be the first in this thread to post the Ben Franklin quote?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Peter enjoys giving away other folks privacy rights."

Wrong - I stated "Where do I draw the line? At the walls of MY home;anything outside those walls is, as has been confirmed time and time again by the courts, in the public domain."

The courts have ruled that what goes on OUTSIDE those walls IS in the public domain. I did not make those rulings but I accept them as reasonable.

"Using the poster's above example, an aerial drone, or otherwise mounted camera can record all the outside movement on Peter's property,"
Here is the definitive court case:

"Streisand effect
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The image of Streisand's Malibu house that led to the naming of the effect.
The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.

It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California, inadvertently generated further publicity. Similar attempts have been made, for example, in cease-and-desist letters, to suppress numbers, files and websites. Instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity and media extensions such as videos and spoof songs, often being widely mirrored across the Internet or distributed on file-sharing networks.[1][2]

Mike Masnick of Techdirt coined the term after Streisand unsuccessfully sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and Pictopia.com for violation of privacy. The US$50 million lawsuit endeavored to remove an aerial photograph of Streisand's mansion from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs.[1][3][4] Adelman photographed the beachfront property to document coastal erosion as part of the California Coastal Records Project, which was intended to influence government policymakers."

**********

Note also that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered that Barbra Streisand pay the defendants in this case a total of $177,107.54 in legal fees and court costs.

**********
"although it arguably sounds like Peter will draw the line on radar that goes through his walls."

Yes, the courts have ruled on that as well and radar and heat sensing through the walls has been deemed as NOT in the public space.

Here again is the court case:
Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001), held that the use of a thermal imaging device from a public vantage point to monitor the radiation of heat from a person's home was a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and thus required a warrant. Because the police in this case did not have a warrant, the Court reversed Kyllo's conviction for growing marijuana.

A LOT has happened since Ben Franklin's time and our laws and practices have evolved as well - feel free to live in the past if you wish but just don't do so in public spaces.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm

This is a big deal to many people. Here's an idea: instead of arguing w/those just on this thread, how about finding examples of limited spying, er, surveillance, by local law enforcement that works well in a community? How about we discuss what we want to see happening in our communities? After all, the residents of a community w/law enforcement surveillance equipment aren't the only ones who should be concerned. This also affects those who work in those communities and spend time and money there. I'm betting none of us are engaged in criminal activities w/anything to hide. We understand that there's no right to expect privacy when out in public. That's not what the argument is about. It's the recording of our movements or of our vehicles & the storage of the data that is of concern to so many.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Do we all want to live in a country or city that asserts that nothing we do outside of our homes is private? How about setting up cameras around Peter Carpenter's house in Atherton and attaching a location device on each of his vehicles. Let's listen to his phone conversations too. I'll go get the address and other information we need to get started. Surely, Peter Carpenter will not mind. He has nothing to hide.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"He has nothing to hide."

Correct.

"I'll go get the address and other information we need to get started."

And Paul what is your full name and where do you live?

Paul - Sad that you have to attempt to use cheap intimidation to try to make a point that you are unable to articulately defend.


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Posted by Ol' Homeboy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Who died and left our City Council money to buy this equipment? Last I heard, the city coffers were dry. Can't they just get back to helping make this a nice town in which to live? Sheeeesh!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is notable that the overwhelming majority of elected and appointed officials support responsible surveillance. Why? Because they are concerned with and responsible for the community at large rather than considering the issue in the narrow context of the individual.

I wonder if those posters opposed to responsible surveillance would be prepared to tell law enforcement not to use any surveillance data to catch someone who robbed them, stole their car or even kidnapped their child? I doubt that their beliefs go that deep.


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