Speed camera app makers accused of promoting surveillance state
The developers behind the speed camera app Speedcam Everywhere have come under fire from British users, who say the app leads to a surveillance state. The app turns smartphone users into a kind of walking speed camera. When users see or hear a car coming, they start the app and film the vehicle. The app uses the number plate of the passing car and searches the public registration database of the British DVLA for the type and model of the vehicle. Then the app determines the distance between the car’s axes and compares it with the recorded video to calculate the car’s speed. The user can then save the video or generate a report with it and share it with the authorities. The app cannot ensure that drivers receive a speeding ticket, as the algorithm used has not yet been verified by the British Home Office. As a result, it is not legally a speed camera and cannot provide sufficient evidence for the police to prosecute a driver for a speeding offence. However, the footage can be used to prosecute drivers for “dangerous driving”. At this time, Speedcam Everywhere is only available in the United Kingdom and is looking at a launch in the United States. The makers are under fire and are attacked via email, among other things, The Guardian reports. The complainants argue that the app contributes to a surveillance state. The reviews in the Google Play Store also point to this. “In East Germany, citizens were encouraged to report their neighbors to the Stasi for even the smallest violation. “Congratulations” for making a modern version of that,” according to a review. Another user calls the app “Stasi-cam Anywhere”. Apple has not yet approved the app for the App Store.