In case you are wondering, "D" is my husband -- Dave Liu! As you've probably noticed, I don't update this blog often but I may post more as I've linked this to my Google+ account.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Surveillance Systems in SF Taxis

I took a taxi to a meeting last week, and noticed that there were stickers all over the windows indicating that a "FareView" in-vehicle camera system was installed inside. I asked the cabbie about it, and he informed me that it's a new system that was implemented in all San Francisco taxi cabs a few weeks ago. The next time you take a cab, look at the windshield near the rear view mirror: you'll see a small digital camera that looks like ones in those advertised in those annoying Internet pop-up windows. According to Silent Witness, the Canadian (woo hoo!) company (Nasdaq: SILW, Toronto Stock Exchange: SWE) behind FareView, the camera "... snaps a picture every time a door is opened, the fare meter is initiated, or the driver presses a panic button. Each digital image is stamped with the date and vehicle identification number, then stored in the recorder unit installed elsewhere in the vehicle."

The taxi driver told me that the FareView images are stored in the taxi and are not transmitted (wirelessly or otherwise) anywhere, i.e., there's no central database. There's enough memory for 3-5 days worth of information, at which time older pictures are overwritten. May be Big Brother-esque to some, but I think it's a great crime deterrent, and protects both taxi drivers and passengers alike.

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