Someone has created an application to turn your smartphone into a mobile radar. And he messed it up

It's called Speedcam Anywhere, and it's a mobile application that, thanks to an artificial intelligence system, allows us to turn our smartphone into a mobile radar and estimate the speed at which a vehicle passes by. This makes it possible for any citizen to "snitch" and report infractions, which has provoked an aggressive response from drivers, who have sent "abusive emails" to the creators of the app. Those creators, now scared by criticism, only wanted to help avoid accidents and tragedies, but have decided to take refuge in anonymity.
What is Speedcam Anywhere. This mobile application has been created by a team of experts in artificial intelligence from various universities in the United Kingdom. The goal was to get the police to take speeding seriously and to validate this tool as an option for citizens to document speeding violations and basically snitch on other drivers.
The tool works like a mobile radar that makes it possible for our device —which must be stationary, we cannot be moving— to estimate the speed at which a vehicle is passing.
Reviews everywhere. Since its launch in March, criticism of the app has been notable. One of the creators of the application explained under a pseudonym in The Guardian that "we are receiving quite abusive emails", and added that "although there are people who think it is a good idea, others believe that this makes us a surveillance state"
One of the reviews on the app stated that "In East Germany, citizens were encouraged to report their neighbors to the Stasi for the slightest social infraction. Congratulations on creating a modern version of that. In case you didn't notice, I'm being sarcastic. This app grosses me out."
Google puts obstacles, Apple does not publish it. Those responsible for Google refused to publish the application claiming that the speed of a vehicle passing by us could not be estimated using artificial intelligence. The company ended up showing that it was possible, which made Google finally publish it. Apple hasn't even released it, but has given no reason not to, and the creators are disappointed considering it's a technology "that could save human lives."
It serves to denounce, not to fine. This developer explained that "if we have speed limits, then the law is that you respect them, and you should follow the laws. It is not a personal vendetta against anyone, it is just an answer to how do we make our roads safe? […] The way to reduce accidents is to create a deterrent to speeding."
The Speedcam Anywhere app cannot be used to fine people, as its algorithm has not been "blessed" by official bodies in the UK and it is not legally a speed camera. Therefore, it cannot be used as evidence to prosecute these infractions, but its creators hope that it will serve to identify points where these infractions are more frequent so that the police can take action.
And in Spain? What would the DGT say about something like that? In Spain there is no mobile application that allows you to report infractions —miDGT certainly does not offer that option—, but in July 2021 the Chief Traffic Prosecutor, Bartolomé Vargas, asked for citizen collaboration to try to curb the accident rate on the roads. The option is included in Royal Decree 320/1994, of February 25.
Theoretically, the citizen can collect evidence and inform an agent or the City Council so that it issues the corresponding complaint bulletin. Associations such as Pedalibre, a community of people who practice cycle tourism and urban cycling, explained some time ago how to file a complaint on the Internet about traffic violations in Madrid. Warning: it is not easy.
In Madrid, it was suggested to create an application to report traffic violations, but as another user explained, the proposal could have points of friction with the administrative legislation: "Think that ordinary citizens are not an authority recognized by public administrations, and therefore Therefore, they do not grant us the ability to sanction our fellow citizens."
People like to help avoid fines, not give them. The irony here is that apps like Google Maps or Waze — and there are a few more — are extremely popular as a means not just to get to your destination, but to do so while avoiding potential speeding tickets. Maps with mobile speed cameras and "invisible" speed cameras are nurtured by the collaboration of people that precisely helps to avoid fines.
This proposal is radically opposite and, as the previous quoted comment pointed out, it is delicate due to the idea of turning the citizen into a policeman/spy. It is probable that in some cases the idea made sense, but in the end it is a way to encourage people to report other people with the danger – personal vendettas and false accusations, for example – that this has. Meanwhile, some joked in discussions like Slashdot that there was a way for it to succeed. "Monetize it. For every fine they get with your catches, they give you a 10% commission." I do not know.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: