Corrupting automated surveillance

OK, so automated surveillance systems are always right, aren’t they? I mean, they wouldn’t allow systems to be put into place that didn’t work, would they?

Image from t-redspeed system (KRIA)
Image from t-redspeed system (KRIA)

That was probably the attitude of many Italians who were supposedly caught jumping red lights by a new T-redspeed looped-camera system manufactured by KRIA. However, the BBC is reporting today that the system had been rigged by shortening the traffic light sequence, and that hundreds of officials were involved in the scam that earned them a great deal of money.

Now, the advocates of automated surveillance will say that there was nothing wrong with the technology itself, and that may be true in this case, but technologies exist within social systems and, unless you try to remove people altogether or by developing heuristic systems – both of which have their own ethical and practical problems – then these kind of things are always going to happen. It’s something those involved in assessing technologies for public use should think about, but in this case it seems they had thought about it, and their only thought was how much cash they could make…