Big Brother is watching: South Australia implements phone detection cameras

New mobile phone detection cameras spark debate over privacy and surveillance.

Big Brother is watching: South Australia implements phone detection cameras
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South Australia is the latest Australian state to implement mobile phone detection cameras after a two-month trial, stirring up privacy concerns.

These cameras have been installed at five key locations, with plans to introduce more early next year.

The current camera locations include South Road in Torrensville, North South Motorway in Regency Park, Port Wakefield Road in Gepps Cross, Southern Expressway in Darlington, and Port Road in Hindmarsh.

On Wednesday, South Australia Police announced a three-month grace period for educational purposes.

During this time, drivers caught using their phones by these cameras will only receive a warning letter instead of fines or demerit points.

However, starting September 19, drivers caught using their phones will face a $540 fine, a $99 victims of crime levy, and three demerit points.

Superintendent Darren Fielke, Officer in Charge of SAPOL's Traffic Support Branch, highlighted that the grace period is limited to detections by the mobile phone cameras.

"People caught by police illegally using their mobile devices when driving will still be required to pay a fine," he stated.

Fielke defended the cameras, stressing the need for drivers to change their habits.

"Our message to drivers is simple; leave your phone alone while driving. We all need to break the habit of reaching for our phone every time it rings, beeps, or pings."

Despite these assurances, the implementation has raised significant privacy concerns. Critics argue that constant surveillance infringes on individual privacy rights. There is apprehension that these cameras might lead to broader monitoring and data collection practices.

During the testing phase from April 19 to June 16, the cameras detected 71,044 instances of drivers using mobile phones from a total of 6,794,050 vehicles.

While authorities claim these measures are necessary for safety, opponents remain wary of the potential overreach and the implications for civil liberties.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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