Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

"Useless" Would Be An Improvement

Today sees the Government unveiling its latest brainwave to tackle binge-drinking / underage drinking / anti-social behaviour.

The proposals also include handing the police tougher powers to disperse gangs of young people congregating outside.

A new offence would make it illegal for someone under 18 to be regularly caught in the possession of alcohol.

I know that in my own area, the local bobbies take it upon themselves, in a dangerous display of initiative, to empty the bottles and cans of errant youth, as well as donating the unopened vessels to the Hayes Village Fete bottle stall (14th June this year – put it in the diary). They seem to be able to do this without any new laws, and I have no doubt that if things really kicked off, they could nick the relevant miscreants using public order laws.

But hey, Something Must Be Done, so let’s have another law. Which adds little to the previous laws, and is no substitute for some decent coppering (when coppers are allowed to get on with the job of coppering, of course). One major reason that dispersal orders and alcohol exclusion zones are so understandably popular is that these days, nicking one errant member of the public the old fashioned way will take the officer off the street for half a shift at least.

While we’re on the subject of useless things to do while waiting for the General Election, this comes just a couple of weeks after the grand but unworkable plan to keep us safe in our beds by recording details of every electronic communication that everyone makes in the UK in the preceding twelve months. Dizzy demolished that one beyond repair, but I suspect it’ll resurface again in a year or so, and will be dutifully reported by hacks working to a deadline and with an inexplicable lack of access to Google.

Finally, in a similar vein, we hear of this fantastic (as in, of a fantasy world) development, from the Register:

EU project scans air passengers for terrorist tendencies

An EU aviation safety project is testing a camera-based passenger surveillance system intended to spot terrorists poised to rush the cockpit.

[The system] … relies on video cameras being built into every passenger’s seat….

Each camera tracks passengers’ facial expressions, with the footage then analysed by software to detect developing terrorist activity or potential air rage. Six wide-angle cameras are also positioned to monitor the plane’s aisles, presumably to catch anyone standing by the cockpit door with a suspiciously crusty bread roll.

But since people never sit still on planes, the software’s also designed so that footage from multiple cameras can be analysed. So, if one person continually walks from his seat to the bathroom, then several cameras can be used to track his facial movements. (Or maybe to track the freshness of the tuna pasta? – NR)

As the Reg correctly concludes:

But isn’t it a little late to be detecting terrorists once they’re already on the plane? And how prepared are we to have our every last twitch monitored and analysed?

As many commenters have pointed out, how many false positives will there be out of all the thousands of passengers flying every single day on the highest risk routes? How many times will a terminal be closed as an escorted airliner is landed with a particularly nervous flyer on board, setting off the system?

The fact that it is billed as an EU project should fill us with both relief and foreboding. Relief, since if the EU’s involved it’ll take decades to actually happen and then won’t work properly anyway and foreboding because when it does happen it’ll cost a fortune, so it’ll be worse than useless.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: