Bloomberg Anywhere Remote Login Bloomberg Terminal Demo Request


Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.


Financial Products

Enterprise Products


Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000


Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Bloomberg Customers

Businessweek Archives

Talking about continual government surveillance

? This Week's Podcast with YourHub's Travis Henry |


| Blogging at Carnegie Mellon ?

April 12, 2006

Talking about continual government surveillance

Stephen Baker

A bold proposal from a French software executive. Every vehicle in France, he says, should ping its location every five seconds. That way, authorities can take down their radar and the speed traps. Instead of selective enforcement of speeding laws, the government will know exactly who is speeding and when, and can simply mail the tickets or add them to the tax bill. They can also take down the toll booths and optimize traffic patterns, reducing pollution.

So, I sputter, what about privacy?

He admits that his French friends are concerned that such surveillance will derail romantic forays. But he insists that they already squander their privacy by carrying cell phones, which transmit our coordinates 24/7. So why not wring some social benefits from it?

I was thinking about this as I was driving out to Pittsburgh this morning (and racing past speed traps on the Pennsylvania Turnpike). No, I don't want my speed monitored. I don't think many people do. But the more relevant question is this: Do you want speeding monitored (and controlled) on highways where your kids and other loved ones are driving?

03:10 PM


Hi Steve-

A couple of qualifications first. The only time any absolute positional information should be retained would be if there was a speeding offense, and only as it relates directly to this offense. All other information should be entirely transient and flushed as soon as it proves there's been no infraction. If it's not flushed, make holding it for any use a serious crime. From a tractability POV, this is pretty sensible because the sheer volume of info would make it otherwise totally unmanageable.

I speed as much as anyone out there, but if everyone was subject to the same rules, I'd like it fine. I can't count the times I've muttered, "where's a speed trap when you need one...." as I watched someone blow by me.

Pete Zievers

Posted by: Pete Zievers at April 12, 2006 04:39 PM

That's easy to solve

Once you get to PIT, grab a ride.

There, you went from the Flinstones to the Jetsons in one blog post. Yaba daba doo! It's safer than the Turnpike too.

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at April 12, 2006 08:24 PM

Things to see around the Burgh. Located in western Pennsylvania, just south of the Ohio River is our industrial sludge impoundment area. The materials suspended in the water give it a striking, turquoise color. No fishing! Worth a look though.

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at April 13, 2006 09:29 AM

A surveillance system administered by government on any level for any reason than immediate urgency would be a huge mistake. With government already being over abundantly controlling one would question the motives of any who'd advocate such a program. Privacy is a right protected by the US constitution and such a program would, with out a doubt, open the gate for even greater privacy violation. Besides, who wants to live in such a controlled society-God gives us freedom of choice, does the government supercede God? Also, is speeding that great of a societal concern. After all, more traffic accidents occur as a result of negligent driving than those that occur because of speeding.

Posted by: Greg at April 13, 2006 09:56 PM

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's ... A Fish on Friday...does the government supercede God?

Good question. They built a dam that uses pumps instead of gravity to move water around and then turned a river into a lake out west. Then there are the fish ladders. Controlling fish is a big problem too..."underwater electrical barriers are tested to jolt the carp away from a canal leading to the Great Lakes and an ecological nightmare."

We're now at the point of electrification of rivers to stop flying fish. Some problems are bigger than others. Surveillance won't solve this problem.

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at April 14, 2006 10:21 AM

More fish surveillance for Friday.

Super Fish Invade

"Spreading faster than a speeding bullet, establishing itself in the Everglades more powerfully than a locomotive. It's a bird, it's a plane - NO IT'S SUPER FISH! Super Mayan cichlid that is! The Mayan cichlid (pronounced sick-lid) is a small fish, about five to ten inches in length, with dark vertical stripes and a blue spot at the base of its tail. The Mayan cichlid is an “exotic” fish from Central America that was discovered in Everglades National Park fourteen years ago. It is not known who brought it to Florida, but since its arrival this fish has spread rapidly throughout most of the Everglades, from the saltwater estuaries of Florida Bay to as far north as canals in Palm Beach County."

What does this mean to South Florida’s already fragile ecosystem? No one knows - yet! 1997

The government has it's hands full with fish problems. We are being invaded and you can't legislate the problem away.

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at April 14, 2006 10:29 AM

blog comments powered by Disqus