An SUV tucked away in the shadows of the Philadelphia Convention Center’s tunnel bears the ubiquitous logo for Google Maps, and mounted on top of the vehicle are two high-powered license plate reader cameras. To the average passerby, it might appear to be a Google street view vehicle.
Others, such as Matt Blaze, a University of Pennsylvania computer and information science professor, saw it for what it truly was: a crudely disguised tool for surveillance. Blaze tweeted a photo of the vehicle with the appropriate opening: “WTF?”
So why this subterfuge? Two spokespersons with the Philadelphia Police Department were not immediately available for comment.
“We can confirm that this is not a Google Maps car, and that we are currently looking into the matter,” Google spokesperson Susan Cadrecha wrote. When pressed, Cadrecha would not elaborate as to whether the company was concerned or angered that a local agency would be using a vehicle with powerful—and controversial—surveillance technology while masquerading as a street mapping car.Remember, Citizen: if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to worry about. All is for the best, in the best of the Brave New Worlds.
In other news, New York City's police have been ticketing legally parked cars:
I then selected 30 random spots that had received 5 or more tickets over the time period, and based on Google Maps found that all of them appeared to be legal parking spots! (Randomly selecting spots with a single ticket in the database showed some illegal spots as well, so I chose 5 as a conservative cutoff.)
How many spots received 5 or more of these pedestrian ramp tickets in the last 2.5 years? We are talking 1,966 spots that are generating about 1.7 million dollars a year in tickets at parking spots that are mostly legal.
Err, relax Citizen: if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to worry about. Unless we want money from you, in which case it's know your place, Peasant. Because Shut Up. And respect my authoritah.
Tagged "police state" because, well, you know.