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Hidden Cameras invading even rest rooms!
Prying eyes: Hidden cameras becoming more invasive
Next time you use a public restroom, take a look around. Scan any vents, towel dispensers or other fixtures, including electric outlets and light switches.
Why? You just might be on camera. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/investigations/2014/07/24/bathroom-hidden-cameras-iowa/13083507/
In recent months, hidden cameras have been found in restrooms and other facilities in at least three Iowa communities, mirroring a nationwide problem.
Elsewhere, a church pastor in Indiana was convicted in May of hiding cameras in a women's restroom. Chicago police are investigating a hidden camera in the restroom of a funeral home. And last week in Cleveland, a TV station told employees that a hidden video camera was discovered in a women's restroom.
Prosecuting suspects for hidden cameras is a tricky matter under Iowa law. When cameras capture photographs or recordings of adults, prosecutors must prove the person intended to get nude images, said Kevin Cmelik of the Iowa attorney general's office.
In many other states, the laws are tougher. Thirteen states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which tracks laws that affect the news media.
"Sometimes it gets down to the angle the camera was placed at," Cmelik said. "I've never heard of a camera case being prosecuted with the invasion of privacy laws, but there aren't a lot of these cases to go by, either."
Cops: Teacher planted camera in school's bathroom. http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/2014/03/21/6706119/
While the problem hasn't reached epidemic proportions, it is worth checking when using a public restroom, said Matt DeLisi, coordinator of the criminal justice program at Iowa State University.
"It's something to guard against," DeLisi said. "Technology is small enough and cheap enough that it is pretty easy to do. It's not super common, but there are cases of it out there."
In Iowa this year:
The Dubuque County attorney in June charged Donald Born, 48, of Solon with trespassing. He is accused of hiding two cameras inside a portable restroom at a baseball field in Cascade. The cameras were discovered in early June.
University of Iowa authorities in June began investigating after a video camera was found in a restroom at the University Capitol Centre's Information Technology Services.
Ian Isabel, 29, faces federal charges after authorities say he recorded children below the waist with cameras he hid in a girls restroom and a staff restroom while he was a custodian at Hayes Elementary School in Davenport. Isabel was arrested in April.
Those who secretly record people in restrooms do so for a variety of reasons, ranging from voyeurism to trying to sell images and videos online to make a profit.
"A major aspect of it is displaced eroticism," said Stephen Reich, a psychologist and attorney and director of the Forensic Psychology Group in New York City. "We're describing someone who gets an erotic charge out of the secret viewing of the intimate parts of a human body."
DeLisi, the ISU criminology professor, said he believes profiteering also is involved, regardless of sexual disorder or proclivity.
"Unfortunately, there's a market for this kind of material on the Internet," he said. "It's illegal, but it's also out there."
The miniaturization of technology has aided scofflaws.
A battery-powered camera capable of transmitting data via Wi-Fi or saving it to a hard drive costs as little as $50 online. And disguising the camera is easier than ever.
The custodian in Davenport used a box that staff assumed was a part of the toilet's automatic flushing system, authorities said.
Last month, police in Grapevine, Texas, charged a 64-year-old man with planting a camera in a restaurant restroom that appeared to be a standard electrical outlet. A 27-year-old man in Joliet, Ill., is accused of using an Axe Body Spray bottle to hide a camera in a business restroom.
In Iowa, a 2004 law makes it a crime to knowingly view photographs or videos of another adult for sexual gratification if the person in the recordings does not have knowledge of the recording, did not or is unable to consent to it, and the person is in a state of full or partial nudity.
That crime is considered a serious misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,875. Anyone convicted is required to register as a sex offender.
But most hidden camera cases involving adults are prosecuted under trespassing laws, Cmelik said. Those carry penalties of a maximum of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $625.
However, cases involving children can be prosecuted as child sexual abuse if the recordings or photographs involve nudity, Cmelik said. If the images have been uploaded and shared on the Internet, federal authorities may also prosecute the crime because use of the Internet involves interstate crime.
Elsewhere around the country, secretly recording others carries stiffer penalties.
In Maine, privacy violation is a felony. In Michigan, unauthorized installation or use of a hidden camera is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a maximum $2,000 fine, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
To avoid being victimized, experts recommend being alert to surroundings.
FLORIDA RED LIGHT CAMERA SETTLEMENT
Thanks to www.stpetecameras.org on the link!
FLORIDA RED LIGHT CAMERA SETTLEMENT
This website provides information about several proposed class action settlements concerning the enforcement of red light violations by unmanned cameras in municipalities throughout the State of Florida prior to July 1, 2010.
Beginning in 2009, several class action lawsuits were filed throughout Florida challenging a municipality’s ability to use camera systems to enforce red light violations. These lawsuits, and the proposed settlements, only apply to notices of violation issued prior to the passing of the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act which became effective on July 1, 2010. The Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act now explicitly permits the enforcement of red light violations through the use of unmanned cameras.
Prior to the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, local municipalities issued notices of violation under local ordinances. The legality of these ordinances was vigorously litigated by both sides of each lawsuit and eventually American Traffic Solutions, the municipalities’ camera system vendor and a party to all of these lawsuits, decided to settle with the putative classes in each of these lawsuits. In some cases, the municipality has also decided to settle with the putative class. Some municipalities, however, have chosen not to participate in the proposed settlements and instead will continue to litigate.
To be an eligible class member in one of the class action settlements listed below, you 1) must have been issued a notice of violation for a violation dated on or before June 30, 2010, 2) must have paid the notice of violation, and 3) must have not received a full refund of your payment.
An eligible class member may be entitled to a one-time payment as a result of a corresponding proposed settlement. The amount of this one-time payment depends on which municipality issued you the notice of violation, whether or not that municipality chose to participate in the proposed settlement, the number of notices of violation issued by that municipality, and the number of notices of violation paid in that municipality.
For more detailed information about the proposed settlement that applies to you, please select the municipality below in which you received your notice of violation.
Use this link to look for the town to receive your refund over illegal use of RLC before 2010 Wandall Scamera Act. http://www.floridaredlightcamerasettlement.com
Tampa RLC Loot Drops massively because of longer yellows!
Tampa red light camera revenue plummets
Noah Pransky, WTSP 12:01 p.m. EDT July 24, 2014
Tampa, Florida – Mayor Bob Buckhorn is presenting his proposed 2014-2015 budget to city council today, which will include a dwindling amount of red light camera (RLC) revenue.
City staff initially projected $5.4 million from RLC in fiscal year 2013-2014, but revised estimates down to $3.4 million in July 2013 http://archive.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=323168. Those estimates have now been dropped to just $600,000. In March, 10 Investigates showed how longer yellow lights were responsible for the drastic drop http://archive.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=360500.
Next budget year, 2014-2015, city staff predicts just $500,000 in revenues from red light camera programs, although 10 Investigates has reported the number is likely to drop since the city decided to renew its contract with American Traffic Solutions without renegotiating its $45,000-per-year fee per camera http://archive.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=360500.
Tampa brought in more than $2 million in RLC revenue during the first year of its program, 2011-2012. But despite the addition of cameras every few months, revenues slipped in 2012-2013 and plummeted in 2013-2014, when the state responded to 10 Investigates stories http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/135673/10-News-investigates-Floridas-Yellow-Light-Trap by mandating longer yellow lights http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=319733 across Florida. Tampa now has 55 monitored intersections, the most in the region.
- TIMELINE: 10 News' Short Yellows Investigation http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/135673/10-News-investigates-Floridas-Yellow-Light-Trap/ MAP: Short yellows in your neighborhood http://www.wtsp.com/yellowlighttrap
Mayor Buckhorn and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor have been quick to point out the falling revenues are a sign drivers are adjusting their behavior, and hesistant to acknowledge short yellow lights may have played a role in the huge number of tickets written in the program's first two years.
For the first time in five years, the city will not rely on reserves to balance its budget. Following today's presentation at city council, citizens will get a chance to provide input at a pair of budget forums expected in September.
NC: RLC bypass of state consitution not likely legal.
by: Brian Ceccarelli
Michael, Fayetteville has not yet selected a vendor. In the past, the cost of each ticket to the vendor was about $45 leaving nothing for the schools. Mayor Robertson increased it to $100 so that money would be left over.
NC Constitution Article IX, Chapter 7 requires that 90% at least of the $100 goes EXCLUSIVELY to the schools. But the bill that just passed violates this mandate. It allows the schools to kick back money to the City for operating costs and other projects Robertson wants. It is illegal. It is called money laundering. Right now, Fayetteville has not installed a camera and has not yet collected a dime. But once an agreement is made for the school to kick back money from its mandated 90%, then Fayetteville violates the NC Constitution.
The reason why Fayetteville removed its cameras in 2006 was because of a ruling by NC Appellate Court Case "Shavitz vs City of High Point." The judge ruled that High Point return 90% of its gross red light camera revenues to the schools. Operating costs cannot be extracted out of gross penal fines. The reason is simple: You don't want to turn criminal-making into a profitable business. But that is exactly what red light camera enforcement is all about. By shorting yellow lights (as is the current NCDOT standard to do) and forcing people to run red lights (because yellow durations are shorter than what physics requires), red light camera enforcement is a cash cow. Because of the physics error, rear-end crashes increase because drivers can only panic in the presence of a red light camera. BTW, from the Town of Cary, NC data, 92% of its revenue came from NCDOT engineering errors. 70% of the revenue from drivers running a red by under 1 second. Note that even a 0.1 second increase in a yellow duration decreases red light runners by 50%.
When the red light cameras come out, the first thing Fayetteville people must do is appeal their ticket. The Kangaroo Court will pronounce every person guilty but a conviction puts that person in legal standing to sue Fayetteville. Then sue. Do so immediately.
For more information, see http://redlightrobber.com/ Click on: "Fight It"
NC Senators Ignore oath to uphold state constitution. Law attempts to BYPASS state constitution on RLC loot!
North Carolina sets up money laundering scheme to violate the state constitution. "North Carolina's constitution bars cities from using fines to underwrite the operations of their cameras... The city can't afford to do that, Robertson said. This new law is supposed to work around that."
Fayetteville may get red light cameras by fall
Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:41 am | Updated: 9:01 am, Fri Jul 25, 2014.
By Paul Woolverton Staff writer
RALEIGH - Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson hopes to have new red light cameras installed in the city within 90 to 120 days now that the legislature has passed a bill to help the city operate them. "The City Council is excited about that opportunity and hopes that it will reduce crashes, perhaps (save) lives and reduce our insurance rates in this community," Robertson said.
The state Senate gave final passage of the bill in a 36-13 vote Thursday.
Fayetteville officials sought the bill in response to complaints of rampant red light running in the city. The cameras are to be installed at traffic signals and will photograph people running red lights.
Tickets will be sent to the car owners based on their license plates.
The amount of the fine is to be set by the City Council. At first, it can be as much as $75. On July 1 of next year, the law raises the cap to $100.
The cameras are expected to dissuade drivers from running lights. Data collected from a red light camera system that the city used until May 2007 show car crashes declined at the intersections where the cameras were installed.
Many details remain to be worked out, such as how many cameras will be installed and where they will be placed. Robertson said the city staff has been directed to send requests for proposals to red light camera vendors.
Money from the tickets would be used to pay the vendor to install and operate the cameras.
This arrangement is what led to the demise of the cameras in Fayetteville in 2007. The state courts, in decisions issued in 2006 and 2007, said North Carolina's constitution bars cities from using fines to underwrite the operations of their cameras.
Instead, the courts said at least 90 percent of the fines are supposed to be given to the local boards of education. But 10 percent of the fines, which then were $50, was too little to cover the costs of the system.
Fayetteville could have kept the cameras if it were willing to underwrite them with taxpayer dollars, just as taxpayer money pays for other public safety expenses such as police cars, fire trucks and the salaries of police and firefighters.
The city can't afford to do that, Robertson said. This new law is supposed to work around that.
It sets up a means for the city to make a deal with the Cumberland County Board of Education: All of the fines will be given to the school board, and the school board may then give part back to pay for the cameras.
Several senators expressed distaste for the cameras.
Republican Sen. Ralph Hise of Spruce Pine said he doesn't think they increase safety, and he wants to eliminate all red light cameras. But he voted for the bill. He said he wanted to support state Sen. Wesley Meredith of Fayetteville, a fellow Republican, who with Democratic Sen. Ben Clark of Hoke and Cumberland counties, sought the legislation.
"I, too, hate red light cameras," said Republican state Sen. Thom Goolsby of Wilmington, who also voted for the legislation to support Meredith.
Republican state Sen. Tamara Barrnger of Cary said she opposes the cameras but said she backed the legislation because she supports public education.
Ban the Cams note: So you "oppose" RLC Barrnger???? THAN WHY DID YOU VOTE FOR THE RLC FRAUD!
Redflex insider: I testified about secret meeting
- Tribune coverage: Chicago's red-light scandal http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-red-light-scandal-page-20140122,0,5835017.storylink
By David Kidwell, Tribune reporter
3:00 am, July 24, 2014
A former employee of the company that launched Chicago's red light cameras testified Wednesday before a federal grand jury investigating bribery allegations, and he said he recounted a secret meeting atop the John Hancock Center and even answered questions about yellow light times at city intersections.
Michael Schmidt, 51, who flew in from Phoenix under federal subpoena, told the Tribune that he testified about a 2003 meeting in a skyline bar where his bosses at Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. were coached by a city official on how to win the contract.
Schmidt first detailed the meeting in a February report in the Tribune.
Federal authorities have already charged the former city official, John Bills, with taking bribes from the company, and the grand jury continues to investigate allegations surrounding the alleged payoffs.
Schmidt said he answered two questions from a grand juror regarding yellow light times at red light camera intersections. According to Schmidt, the questions pertained to a Tribune investigation of suspicious spikes in tickets first published Friday.
"He seemed really interested in how the yellow light times work in Chicago," said Schmidt, who oversaw Redflex computer systems in Chicago until he was laid off last year amid company downsizing.
In an interview after his testimony Wednesday, Schmidt said he gave the grand jury essentially the same account he related to the Tribune in February — that he was among a contingent of company executives who met with Bills in the Signature Lounge atop the Hancock Center on the eve of a crucial meeting at City Hall that would help decide which of two competing companies would get the contract.
"Essentially, he spent two hours coaching us on how to win the contract, telling us how to behave, what things were going to work and what wouldn't," Schmidt told the Tribune in February.
"That's when I really knew for the first time that we already had that contract before we even checked into the hotel that day," he said then. "We were going through the motions, but it was clear to me we were getting that contract. It was a done deal."
Bills has denied that the Hancock Center meeting took place.
Redflex went on to win the contract and build the Chicago program into the largest automated enforcement system in the country. It has raised more than $450 million in ticket revenue for the city, and more than $120 million in fees for the company.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired the company last year amid Tribune reports about the cozy relationship between Bills and the company, and allegations that Bills had accepted lavish vacation trips and cash bribes. Even after it was fired, Redflex got a series of contract extensions until a new vendor could take over the work in March.
Schmidt said Wednesday that he detailed the Hancock Center meeting in a six-page statement he prepared before his testimony with the help of a federal prosecutor.
He said he and five other Redflex officials flew from Arizona to Chicago in February 2003 to attend a meeting at City Hall where city officials would set out the parameters of the trial program and answer any questions from the two potential vendors. That team included Karen Finley, then vice president of operations, and Aaron Rosenberg, the company's top salesman at the time who is now cooperating with federal authorities under an immunity agreement.
Finley would go on to become company president and CEO. Rosenberg was fired last year by Redflex and sued for his role in the bribery scandal. He has countersued the company, alleging that Finley and others made him a scapegoat to cover up a long-standing practice of "providing government officials with lavish gifts and bribes."
Finley was among six top company executives jettisoned amid the scandal.
Calls to Finley, Redflex and attorneys for Bills and Rosenberg were not returned Wednesday.
In a series of interviews with the Tribune earlier this year, Schmidt recounted the meeting from 11 years ago, recalling that Finley ushered the team to the lounge, where the midlevel Redflex managers were surprised to meet Bills.
He said he and others sat slack-jawed as they listened to Bills — at the time an assistant commissioner in the city's Department of Transportation, later to become managing deputy commissioner of transportation.
"Bills looked right at me and told me, 'I'm going to address you by name, but you have to pretend like we never met. It has to look on the up and up,'" Schmidt said in February. On Wednesday, Schmidt said he detailed to the jury how Bills pretended not to know him at the City Hall meeting the next day. "He went out of his way to say, 'You're Mike, right?' when he didn't have to. I thought that was very telling."
In February, Schmidt described Finley at the Hancock: "I remember glancing over at Karen, and she just put her finger to her mouth quietly as if to say, 'Sshhh.' There was a deal under the table to get that contract before we even went to the Hancock that night. It was obvious that something was going on that shouldn't be."
On Wednesday, Schmidt said he detailed the entire meeting for the grand jury.
"I told them what Bills said. I told them about Karen's gesture, everything," he said. "They seemed to be very interested, nodding as if they were listening to every word."
He said that when he put down the statement after reading it, the grand jurors had three questions for him. One was a technical question about the organization of the company and two more centered on the yellow light times at camera locations.
"One juror asked me if I had anything to do with adjusting yellow light times," Schmidt said. "When I told him no, he asked me about the procedure for doing it. I told him that the city adjusted the yellow light times, not Redflex."
The Redflex scandal erupted in October 2012, after the Tribune obtained a 2-year-old internal Redflex whistleblower memo by an ousted vice president that detailed the alleged bribery scheme and lavish company-paid vacations for Bills and suggested that "the level of this insider fraud would take down the contract and most likely the company."
At first Redflex disputed much of the memo, saying it had thoroughly investigated the allegations internally and found them without merit except for one hotel stay for Bills at the Arizona Biltmore in 2010 that was inadvertently paid for by Redflex. Company officials said their failure to notify City Hall at the time was an "oversight and a lapse."
But fallout from the news reports prompted Redflex to commission a second internal investigation, this time by former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman. Hoffman's probe, completed last March, confirmed the corruption allegations in the 2010 whistleblower memo and expanded upon them, the company said in its summary of Hoffman's investigation filed with the Australian Securities Exchange. Hoffman identified 17 company-paid trips for Bills — which included airfare, hotels, rental cars, golf outings and meals, according to the filing.
Hoffman also found that Redflex paid its Chicago consultant, who has personal ties to Bills, more than $2 million, the company said. The "highly suspicious" arrangement among Redflex, the consultant and Bills "will likely be considered bribery by the authorities," the company said.
Bills retired in 2011 after a 30-year city career that saw him rise from a streetlight maintenance worker to the deputy managing commissioner of the Transportation Department under former Mayor Richard M. Daley. He was a longtime precinct captain in the political operation of House Speaker Michael Madigan.
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