Eye In The Sky

Alert — and only slightly suspicious — JP Vellotti recently noticed an interesting sight at the Sherwood Island Connector’s Post Road traffic light.

His passenger snapped a photo.

Sherwood Island Connector 1

JP writes:

The lights are new. It looks like a camera has been added too.

Who sees the feed? The police? Or maybe the state police, because this is a state road? Or News 12 for traffic? Or….

And how do cameras get approved, anyhow?

I’m not adversely against these. I’m just curious, having never seen a public notice about their installation. After all, if you’re recording the public, they should at least have the right to know.

What do you think? All “06880” readers — no matter where you fall on the civil liberties/police state spectrum — are invited to weigh in. Just click “Comments” below (and please use your full, real name!).

12 responses to “Eye In The Sky

  1. “…if you’re recording the public, they should at least have the right to know.” Actually, not so much. Anybody — the state, Channel 12, a kid with an iPhone — can take pictures or videos in public places without seeking permission. There is a legitimate question about the use of license plate readers, particularly keeping archives of data about the locations of cars not believed to be involved in any kind of crime. But this looks like an ordinary traffic cam.

  2. …and the camera at that location apparently isn’t new. A look at Google Street View of that intersection (http://bit.ly/1Prozx5) shows the old traffic lights; you can see small cameras sitting like birds on the lines near each light.

    • Since whenever we drive (or walk) in public we are subject to being seen, exactly how is this a “privacy” concern?

      What are examples of people who’ve been harmed by street cameras or collection of data from them? It’s ironic that you used Google Streetview – another example of non-permissioned photography in public spaces – to note the historical location of the street cameras. If the hard-line privacy activists had their way, there would be no Google Streetview.

  3. Joyce Barnhart

    Big Brother is watching us.
    Dan, you know your audience. That’s why you said the passenger took the picture, isn’t it?

  4. Let’s not get paranoid over this. It is most likely there just to warn us should the British once again, decide to land at Compo and march to Danbury. We were caught with our pants down before and “Never again” say I! Just imagine what such an invasion could do to our carefully crafted society-they with their afternoon, tea-totaling ways and their Old World accents!! I can just imagine what The Donald would have to say about that!

  5. Marcy Anson Fralick -- Staples Class of 1970

    This is the intersection where I turn right to go home.


    There are lights of all kinds on the street lights and on the traffic lights, but they’re for emergency responders. When a fire or ambulance gets near the intersection, it signals the lights of the street lamps to flash white, and it signals all the stop lights to turn red in all directions. Is that what the cameras at Compo are for?

    We used to have red-light cameras in Tucson (voter approved in the early 2000’s), but last November, voters chose to get rid of them, so AZDOT took out the cameras, but their housings are still on the wires. Maybe the ones at Compo are deactivated?

  6. Red light runners, beware!

  7. It is not as Orwellian as you may think. This is the future of more efficient intersections and allows for flexibility to change as the needs arise. The cameras are only used to control the traffic lights. In this case, the camera is pointed into the parking lot of the shopping plaza to detect if a car is waiting to come out. This is in place of cutting the rectangles into the road to install wiring for loop detectors that serve the same purpose, but rather unreliable and would have required an easement by the shopping center to allow for it’s installation. This also allows for flexibly to change the signals to aid in making the lights more efficient.
    Here is a link with some more information from the Missouri DOT:

  8. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Probably the SETI Institute looking for aliens. Or, Donald doing the same.
    You’re paying for it, regardless.

  9. Obviously a revenue generator through ticket sales to the motoring public!