By on November 1, 2009

Those were the days, eh? (courtesy retrothing.typepad.com)

Some of America’s most recognized corporations are growing increasingly involved in providing equipment and services to the automated ticketing industry. In many cases, these Fortune 500 firms play a behind-the-scenes role, without actively seeking publicity for their connections to controversial programs. Imaging giant Kodak did announce that it would be demonstrating a new CCD image sensor at a trade show in Germany on Tuesday. This sensor was specifically designed to work in red light camera and speed camera applications. The company claims the unit doubles light sensitivity, allowing a substantial increase in the number of tickets that can be issued in bad weather conditions.

“Improving camera performance for low-light imaging is a key issue for applied imaging applications such as security and traffic monitoring,” Chris McNiffe, general manager of Kodak’s Image Sensor Solutions group, said in the company’s statement. “Deploying Kodak’s new Color Filter Pattern technology… will provide these markets a new level of imaging performance — availability of color information in low light where it wasn’t available before. This integration is another example of Kodak’s commitment to develop and deploy our most advanced technologies for these key markets.”

IBM has an even greater involvement in speed camera programs, but it rarely comes to the attention of US audiences. The computing giant’s Mideast photo ticketing operations include a a $125 million contract to create a GPS-enabled black box, designed eventually to be installed in every automobile in the United Arab Emirates, so that tickets will be instantly issued if the vehicle ever exceeds a pre-set speed. The company is so heavily involved in congestion pricing that it filed a patent on the concept of using a computerized system to tax drivers at a variable rate. The company also runs the high-profile congestion charge programs in London and Sweden.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs last year invested heavily in the number two speed camera company in the US, American Traffic Solutions (ATS). By providing the capital ATS needed to expand operations, Goldman hopes to increase the number of traffic citations — and license points — issued to drivers. That will drive a boost in profits for Geico, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which in turn has a $5 billion stake in Goldman Sachs.

Photocopying pioneer Xerox went beyond a simple investment. It purchased the photo and parking ticket giant Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) in September at a cost of $6.4 billion. The deal still requires regulatory and shareholder approval.

Perhaps the strangest corporate connection was the former teaming of America’s oldest gunmaker, Remington, with Elsag, an Italian camera firm, to deploy technology designed to allow police to track and log the movements of innocent citizens as they drive on public streets. With Remington’s help, the Plate Hunter brand of automated license plate recognition (ALPR, ANPR in the UK) became one of the most widely used systems among local and state governments. In 2007, however, Remington sold its interest in the joint venture to Finmeccanica.

[courtesy thenewspaper.com]

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8 Comments on “Kodak, IBM, Xerox, Goldman Sachs: Corporate America Big in Photo Enforcement...”


  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    So continues the continued criminalization of the innocent American citizenry.

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    By providing the capital ATS needed to expand operations, Goldman hopes to increase the number of traffic citations — and license points — issued to drivers. That will drive a boost in profits for Geico, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which in turn has a $5 billion stake in Goldman Sachs.

    Much as I hate ATS, I think the conspiracy theory outlined above goes beyond reality to the outer fringes.

  • avatar
    RichardD

    Why conspiracy theory? ATS is a profitable company. Goldman Sachs makes money. Geico makes money off of license points in California & Arizona. That makes Warren Buffet, a 10% shareholder in Goldman Sachs happy. Don’t forget that Geico is the company that bailed out a lidar company and began handing out FREE laser guns to police departments so that they would drive up insurance rates. (google “geico guns” for the background)

    Or do you think Goldman Sachs doesn’t care about Warren Buffet?

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    .

  • avatar

    Lordy, where did you dig up a picture of the *original* PC, that preceded what everyone usually thinks of. That monster weighed around 100 pounds, was switch-selectable to run either in Basic or APL (and I learned that language on it ’round about 1983 or so), had a chain-drive pin feed printer and *no* hard or floppy drive. You saved to that tape.
    Guy at work has one in his personal technology museum. Then there was a short-lived IBM technology museum in Kingston (before the site closed in IBM’s ever-increasing devolvment of its American presence…save for the corporate headquarters, which, as management, is untouchable).
    *It* had bits and pieces of a SAGE system which was the Star Wars defense system of the ’50′s…which had a video of rocket dispatched by SAGE blowing up a prop-driven bomber….and one of of the mouse-equivalent raygun selecting operating terminal. Along with drum memory (you wound the head down until you sw sparks and then backed it off an RCH), an old 12′ long master computer terminal with hundreds of lights and lighted switches….and stuff from pre-computer IBM days…an IBM time clock and *cheese–slicer*.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Goldman Sachs would engage in harvesting organs from the living, if it could do so without getting caught, because money is their God.

  • avatar
    bwell

    Please. Don’t give them ideas.

  • avatar
    moawdtsi

    “The computing giant’s Mideast photo ticketing operations include a a $125 million contract to create a GPS-enabled black box, designed eventually to be installed in every automobile in the United Arab Emirates, so that tickets will be instantly issued if the vehicle ever exceeds a pre-set speed.”

    This is totally unnecessary and obviously just a revenue generating device. The car’s speed just needs to be automatically limited to the speed limit for the section of road it is on all based off of GPS. No tickets needed.


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