Glenn Reynolds (aka InstaPundit) has this article in Popular Mechanics about red-light camera systems in the US. It’s a good summary of the issue; pointing out that:
These systems don’t really result in any reduction of accidents
It’s really all about revenue generation anyway
There are tremendous privacy implications
As a related article in PM notes, questions are being raised about the legality of such systems. The problem is that these systems cite the owner of the car who may or may not be the driver when the infraction occurs.
It’s interesting that Glenn mentions the various kinds of counter measures that drivers try employing to thwart camera-based systems. MythBusters addressed a variety of these schemes (episodes 72 and 84) and found that none of them could beat the cameras. They did manage to beat the cameras by simply driving fast enough to be out of the frame before the camera was triggered. To do this they merely had to use a 300 MPH jet powered car.