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Scandalous Redflex surveillance cams—those insidious scoundrels!

Posted by on February 1, 2016.

Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., is a company riddled with bribery dealings, mismanagement, and ongoing scandals.
Redflex Surveillance Red-light camera busted me

It’s been almost four years since I received a a red-light camera ticket for failure to obey a traffic control device. I remember that morning clearly. The sun was shining bright and it was rather warm for the third week of February. I had my adult son in the car with me, both of us overly animated and involved in a heated discussion on higher education. I was disappointed and frustrated that he was thinking of leaving college and he was hung up on the fact that I was spinning my hair into curly ringlets—both of us fully aware that I only do the annoying ringlet thing when I get ticked off.

While he was busy with hand gestures, I continued with passive-aggressive ringlet manipulation—sliding past the all-you-can-eat buffet (on the right) and upon arriving at the intersection looked left-to-right, and right-to-left and proceeded to make a rolling right turn on a red light, without coming to a full stop. Yes indeed—I pulled one of those infamous California stops unaware that there was a red-light camera recording my naughty, not-so-secret misdeed.

Ten days later I opened my mailbox to find an Oregon Uniform Citation and Complaint. I violated ORS 811.265: Failure To Obey A Traffic Control Device. The citation contained the citation; plea options; four graphics of my Jeep in action, and a link to view my violation captured on video at www.photonotice.com. There was no disputing the fact that the video had captured every detail of my violation.

Redflex surveillance-intersection

Privacy concern: my data has a long shelf life at Redflex

My citation data is still available at Photonotice.com website. With all of the data breaches that have occurred over the past two years—this concerns me. There is absolutely no reason for this company to retain my personal data, as the citation was paid by the due date.

I called the number listed at the Photonotice.com site and asked the representative how long they retain user data. She told me that user data expires at six months. I laughed. I asked her “If data expires at six months, why is my data still sitting on your server since February 2012?” She replied: “I am not sure why. It depends on the police department.” I laughed again. I asked her who had access to my data and she told me that the Medford Police and Oregon DMV had access to the data. I told her that I was aware that the initial viewing was actually screened by their company prior to sending the data to the local police department. She said “Oh, yes—but, we do not have access to your private information.” Alas, I did my homework and watched this video prior calling them:

I called the Medford police department and spoke with executive support specialist, Julie Moran who told me that she would pass my message on. I received a voice message from Officer Nichols stating that Redflex was only supposed to retain the data for one year unless there was a hold placed on it. He saw no reason for a hold to be placed on my data and said that he would update me when he heard back from a Redflex account manager. As of this writing (2/01/16), there has been no update from the officer and my data is still available on the Redflex server.

Photonotice.com surveillance

What does their FAQ say?

What Photo Enforcement means:

“Photo enforcement” is a law enforcement technology agencies can use to enforce existing traffic safety laws. It enables officers to monitor, detect and deter dangerous driving behaviors, such as red-light running, speeding, illegally passing a stopped school bus or crossing railroad tracks while the crossing signal is active.

Is Photo Radar unconstitutional?

As determined by the United States Supreme Court there is no right to privacy on a public roadway. Consequently, the use of photo radar provides no foundation upon which to base a 4th Amendment challenge to unreasonable search and seizure or invasion of privacy. The constitutionality of photo enforcement has been repeatedly upheld by the courts of Arizona and the United States Supreme Court.

Interesting Terms and Conditions

PHOTONOTICE.COM CANNOT ENSURE THAT ANY FILES OR OTHER DATA YOU DOWNLOAD FROM THE WEB SITE WILL BE FREE OF VIRUSES OR CONTAMINATION OR DESTRUCTIVE FEATURES. PHOTONOTICE.COM DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL LIABILITY FOR THE ACTS, OMISSIONS AND CONDUCT OF ANY THIRD PARTIES IN CONNECTION WITH OR RELATED TO YOUR USE OF THE WEB SITE AND/OR ANY SERVICES. YOU ASSUME TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR USE OF THE WEB SITE AND ANY LINKED SITES.

Why should I be concerned?

Though the company introduced their first Redflex Traffic System program in Paradise Valley, Arizona in 1997—Redflex has been rifled with scandalous headlines since 2012:

Prosecutor: City official in red-light camera trial ‘world champion’ at bribery

As closing arguments got underway Monday at the red-light camera corruption trial, a federal prosecutor told jurors that the camera vendor and the Chicago bureaucrat at the center of the case “deserve world championship rings for how they played the game of bribery.”

Ex-Redflex exec pleads guilty to helping orchestrate $2M bribery scheme

Whistleblower: Redflex Had History Of Bribing Govt. Officials

Bagman says he handed over $557,000 in cash bribes at lunches 

DID KAREN FINLEY AND REDFLEX BRIBE ARIZONA OFFICIALS?

There has been so much bad press that Fire Redflex has devoted an entire website to warn citizens and governments alike:

Governments: Learn the truth about the company you have hired or are considering hiring!

Citizens: Learn about the company your government has entrusted with law enforcement and access to your personal information!

Falsified court documents, drunk speed van drivers, machine malfunctions, contract performance issues, and other information about Redflex and photo enforcement that they don’t want you to know about.

Aside from all the scandals, I am deeply troubled that a company that is known to participate in unethical dealings, still holds the key to my private data. I am also not impressed with any city or local government that conducts business with them.

More from the down & dirty department:

Redflex, CEO Paul Clark, previously chaired Melbourne Water. This utility company had it’s own little Harper Valley PTA scandal when customers were unfairly overcharged $266 million for a water desalination plant that was not completed prior to charging customers.

How the red-light scandal unfolded: Timeline from 2002-2015.

Ex-city official convicted on 20 counts in red light cameras trial
Guilty: Corrupt ex-city official who pushed red-light camera deal convicted

A May 2014 affidavit written by an FBI special agent suggests that Bills likely used some of this money to purchase and store a boat, buy a car, pay for an addition to his Michigan cabin, pay his girlfriend’s mortgage, pay his own mortgage, pay for his kids’ schools, and hire a divorce attorney over the course of several years. —ars technica

With so much bad press—one would think that there would be more public resistance to red-light traffic systems operating in the following 18 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Redflex whistleblower, Aaron Rosenberg (ex-salesman for Redflex) alleged in a lawsuit that thirteen states also have their hand in the cash-cow bribery-scheme cookie jar: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington State.

Follow the money

Citizens don’t care much for red light/traffic cameras. These revenue generators do little more than turn moving (or parked) vehicles into ATMs for the governments that deploy them.  —Techdirt

Bribes, lucrative contracts with cities, political corruption, and surveillance are a few of the perks offered—in reality, red-light traffic systems are merely cash-cow generators cloaked as traffic safety devices. It’s no secret that lobbying is huge—and that kickback lobbying may run rampant. Payments made to political lobbyists to promote pro-camera legislation is standard procedure.

The Redflex payment model is unclear. Locally, reporter, Damien Mann, wrote in the Medford, Oregon Mail Tribune that “Redflex Traffic Systems receives 70 percent of the fine from each citation as payment for the installation of the red-light cameras.” Redflex handles the maintenance, while the city pays for the permits and signs.

Mann also noted in his column:

For the first 50 citations — on a standard $260 red-light fine — Redflex receives $162, the state gets $45, the county gets $16 and the city receives $17.

After the first 50 citations, Redflex gets $130, the state gets $45, the county receives $16 and the city gets $69.

Medford Oregon Redflex court actions 2010-12

Medford currently operates two red-light cameras.

In contrast, the city of San Buenaventura, California price model appears to be per-camera and not based on a percentage of citation payments. Though I made many attempts to contact Redflex, they did not return any phone calls.

The 2015 Redflex Annual Financial Report states:

The USA photo enforcement market continues to be challenging. Despite saving lives, our commercial opportunities and indeed the entire industry in the USA has been adversely impacted by negative civil rights sentiment that often results in the implementation of legislation designed to prohibit the use of photo enforcement systems in various states and precincts in the USA. The combination of these factors can and has led to contract terminations, lower contract renewal rates and the delay or abandonment of new programs.

Negative civil rights sentiment has finally placed a major drain on the Redflex financial coffers.

There is hope—Americans in many cities and states are refusing to jump over the cliff with the rest of the sheep or support money-grubbing corporate scripts. Yes indeed—American eyes are opening up and beginning to scrutinize traffic safety smokescreens vs surveillance vs corporate profit. Many Americans are beginning to realize that traffic fines should be funding cities, counties or states—not corrupt politicians and cash-cow corporations. Do you agree or disagree?

 


You can catch my other blog posts at the TekSecurity blog & Dell PowerMore,

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