Don’t even think about having sex on this high-tech beach

Florida’s Martin County, officials are debating the use of talking, networked Web security cameras to scare off people looking to have sex on the beach.  No word on what the systems does if you show up there looking to just, say, get a tan.

Officials are concerned about a number of recent arrests of men soliciting men for sex at county beaches in the Palm Beach area.  Proponents say they want cameras to watch all beaches and parking lots but not public bathrooms because that would be an invasion of privacy.

The Q-Star Technology cameras the county is looking at contain FlashCAM devices that sense motion and then flash a bright light before playing a recorded verbal warning that the camera is about to start recording, the Palm Beach Post reported this week.  According to Q-Star’s Web site the verbal warning sounds like this in a vandalism application:  "Stop! It is illegal to vandalize this area. Your photo has just been taken and we will use this photograph to prosecute you. Leave now!"  A similar message presumably would be crafted for the non-sex application. (It might sound something like this: hey, we know you are thinking about sex, stop or this picture will flash across the Internet faster than you can say “we’re just friends”).

The cameras run on solar power and can be affixed to light poles and trees along the shorelines of public beaches, officials said.  Officials would like to wire the cameras to the Web and have a central location monitor them, but the costs of such as system might be more than officials are willing to spend. Needless to say the talking camera idea also could scare off tourists, another official said in the Post article.

Other Beach communities across the country have explored other options to increase safety and prevent crime. Ocean City , NJ is deploying radio-frequency identification chips (RFID) and Wi-Fi wireless technology to offer a variety of services and safety options. Meanwhile Long Beach, Calif cops use Segways to prowl for bad guys.  

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