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California Legislature Approves Trial Program For Electronic Plates

timothy posted about a year ago | from the but-for-bumper-stickers-it's-not-so-bad dept.

Government 185

Do you worry that the widespread use of plate-scanning cameras might be used in ways that violate your privacy ? Now you can ratchet your worry level up a bit: Ars Technica reports that "This week, the California State Senate approved a bill that would create the nation’s first electronic license plate. Having already passed the state’s assembly, the bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for his signature." From the article: "The idea is that rather than have a static piece of printed metal adorned with stickers to display proper registration, the plate would be a screen that could wirelessly (likely over a mobile data network) receive updates from a central server to display that same information. In an example shown by a South Carolina vendor, messages such as 'STOLEN,' 'EXPIRED,' or something similar could also be displayed on a license plate. ... The state senator who introduced the bill, Sen. Ben Hueso, a Democrat who represents San Diego, did not respond to Ars' multiple requests for an interview or comment. It still remains unclear as to exactly why this bill was proposed and what its objectives are. The precise technical details of the program are similarly unclear, as is how long plate information would be retained and who would have access to it."

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185 comments

Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783303)

What privacey?

Re:Sigh (4, Funny)

MacDork (560499) | about a year ago | (#44783497)

Have you ever tried to read an LCD screen in sunlight? This is the best privacy idea evar! Thanks moron legislators from California.

Re:Sigh (1)

MacDork (560499) | about a year ago | (#44783545)

FTFA "California has already chosen a small, unknown startup"... Oh, now I get it. Kickbacks.

Re:Sigh (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44783635)

E-ink.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783879)

Have any of you idiots actually read the article? This will be like a combination of RFID and e-ink. Even the summary got it wrong. Go to the actual vendor's webpage. http://www.complianceinnovations.com/productinfo.html
"Compliance Innovations patented application for e-paper utilization with the 21st century electronic tag"

Re:Sigh (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year ago | (#44783565)

I would love to hack those plates.

Re:Sigh (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44783927)

That would be one of my main concerns. The other would be a clerical error or bug listing a car that I'm driving in as being stolen or having expired plates.

I kind of like the idea, but I'm concerned that this will wind up being one of those things that never gets perfected because they can't get close enough without horrible bugs and abuses of power.

As far as privacy goes, this isn't really that much worse than what we already have. Which is huge numbers of license plate readers having their information fed into unregulated databases; because obvious a lack of right to privacy in public is the same thing as permitting all of that information to be compiled without any monitoring.

A screen (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#44783311)

receive updates from a central server to display that same information. In an example shown by a South Carolina vendor, messages such as 'STOLEN,' 'EXPIRED,' or something similar could also be displayed on a license plate.

You don't think thieves would get around that by stealing other cars' license plates and swapping the plate/screen of the stolen car with other non-stolen vehicles?

On the other hand... if the plate is controlled by the car's computer; the thief will likely have a defeat for this as well. At a distance you won't be able to tell that the plate or electronics have been tampered with, to prevent the plate from changing to STOLEN.

Re:A screen (2)

horm (2802801) | about a year ago | (#44783339)

On the OTHER hand... we could have assholes running around changing legitimate plates to alert that the car is STOLEN and watching while the cops use unnecessary force on innocent people.

Re:A screen (5, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#44783357)

Don't forget the part where everyones plates show gay pornography gifs after some 14 year old hacks their system.

Re:A screen (4, Interesting)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about a year ago | (#44783703)

Good point. I didn't think about the bright side of all this.

California already has a cheaper system for identifying cars, which is the physical license plate. The California Highway Patrol (and police departments as far as I can tell) already don't car if you are driving around with expired plates (which is already very easy to distinguish) or even if you have plates at all. I see so many cars on a daily basis with nothing but a license plate frame and the dealer logo in it.

I have no doubt that this is really just the entry point for authorities to place a GPS unit in every car.

Re:A screen (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#44784051)

I see so many cars on a daily basis with nothing but a license plate frame and the dealer logo in it.

When I first got here I drove around for six months or more like that. I even drove into Nevada. There was a small plastic pouch in the window with some documents in it, but they would have had to pull me over to read that. Nobody ever did. I wasn't trying to pull the Steve Jobs trick or anything. I asked some people how long it takes to get plates and they said, "a while, but usually not that long". So finally I called the dealer and it turns out my plates were sitting in a cardboard box for most of the time. They had moved offices and forgot about them.

Re:A screen (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about a year ago | (#44783783)

oh well, I was worried that our ex cons have nothing to brag about anymore. See that one right there? I did those plates, the way I made the R's look just right

Re:A screen (3, Funny)

Holistic Missile (976980) | about a year ago | (#44783985)

oh well, I was worried that our ex governors have nothing to brag about anymore. See that one right there? I did those plates, the way I made the R's look just right

Post modified for those of us here in Illinois...

"What do you have in the Blagojevich signature series? How about Ryan? Walker? Kerner?"

Re: A screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783377)

Or just kicking these new plates. I doubt they'd be made of gorilla glass.

What happens first:
- plates get hacked at the vehicle level?
- the mobile/wifi network encryption gets hacked?

Who's going to pay the data plan for all this stupidity? What if there's poor cell coverage? Does the plate display "Searching" or "No Signal"?

Re: A screen (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44783415)

All other phone customers. The government's going to mandate that cell companies provide connectivity "as a public service!", and they'll pass on the cost to everyone else.

Re: A screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783605)

All other phone customers. The government's going to mandate that cell companies provide connectivity "as a public service!", and they'll pass on the cost to everyone else.

They already do. Its called "Lifeline" and it is paid for by the Universal Service Fund (USF) on your phone bill.

Re: A screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783675)

All other phone customers. The government's going to mandate that cell companies provide connectivity "as a public service!", and they'll pass on the cost to everyone else.

They already do. Its called "Lifeline" and it is paid for by the Universal Service Fund (USF) on your phone bill.

Silly consumer sheep. New programs call for new charges and fees. It's the standard model for kickbacks and corruption.

Watch and see. You'll find yourself exclaiming "Baaaa!" when it happens.

Re: A screen (1)

horm (2802801) | about a year ago | (#44783567)

Or just kicking these new plates. I doubt they'd be made of gorilla glass.

Kicking, or if the apparent physical damage needed to break the system like that is too obvious, using a blowtorch, heat gun, high voltage device, or some other means to fry the electronics inside the plate. It would be simple to ruin the entire system after it is put in place with a small number of people going out at night and damaging the electronic plates on as many parked cars as they can find. Once enough cars are damaged, the system becomes useless and people can fry their own license plates without suspicion.

Re: A screen (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44783737)

Driving with a broken plate will be an offense.

Re: A screen (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44783951)

Driving without plates is already an offense. I'm not sure why they would need to specifically make driving with broken plates illegal.

Realistically, if you're driving around with a broken plate, the police will pull you over and verify things. And probably issue a citation for not having the proper plate on the car.

However, unlike ordinary plates, it sounds like the police would still know what the plate number was, even if the plate itself had a broken display.

also don't drive into mexico & canada if you c (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44783629)

pay $15-$20 a meg for data.

Re: A screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783659)

Don't forget who is going to afford this. The CA state is bankrupt due to piss-poor decisions. If they can't afford to keep state parks open, how can they afford to have fancy-schmancy license plates?

Of course... another $250 per year registration fee per vehicle.

And you wonder why Californians are moving to flyover states en masse.

Re: A screen (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44783959)

Because they already filled up WA and screwed up our political process with the same bullshit they screwed up their own state with?

Re:A screen (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44783753)

On the OTHER hand... we could have assholes running around changing legitimate plates to alert that the car is STOLEN

No hacking needed. A few stickers will do the job.

(And is a good way to protest this - get everybody to put 'STOLEN' stickers on their cars to waste police time - it's easy to claim you just came out of Walmart and somebody must have done it while you were in there. There's no way they can prove it's not true...)

Re:A screen (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44783983)

You're still responsible for driving without the necessary license plates. It's not the lack of license plates that gets you in trouble, it's the driving on public roads without an appropriate set of license plates that gets you in trouble.

And, what's more, if you're caught doing it as part of a conspiracy, you're facing more than just the civil infraction for the license plate being obscured.

Re:A screen (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44783361)

You don't think thieves would get around that by stealing other cars' license plates and swapping the plate/screen of the stolen car with other non-stolen vehicles?

Isn't that like stealing the PC display on which some information you want is being displayed, instead of just downloading the information into your own machine?

Re:A screen (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about a year ago | (#44783669)

I thought the intent wasn't to get information, but to trick the system to display "STOLEN" on the wrong vehicle.

Re:A screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783395)

Or, one could screw with someone by changing it to 'STOLEN' without their knowledge, and next thing they know a cop pulls them over and yanks them out of their car, wrongfully arresting them.

what about battry life and lost of power? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44783619)

Some stuff like the radio resets when the battery is removed so will the system lose it's info when you do a battery swap?

Re:what about battry life and lost of power? (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44783663)

There's no good reason for that these days though.

hopefully, it will be manufactured in the USA (1, Funny)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#44783331)

with American/western parts. This is a perfect opportunity for re-building industries.

Re:hopefully, it will be manufactured in the USA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783389)

Great. Now the good old tradition of making license plates in US (prisons) would be out sourced to China too.

Re:hopefully, it will be manufactured in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783519)

This is a perfect opportunity for re-building industries.

No it's not.

These plates are nothing of value, and all producing stuff like this
will do is add to the already unacceptable tax burden of the average
person.

If you actually want to create jobs which involve meaningful work,
a good place to start would be repairing the crumbling infrastructure
( roads, bridges, etc. ) in the US. That work cannot be "off shored"
so is well suited to putting Americans to work.

Seriously, you need to THINK about what you write before posting
the idiotic crap you post.

Re:hopefully, it will be manufactured in the USA (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#44783689)

Yeah, can not outsource roads or bridges. Google for 'illegal aliens united states'. Then google for 'bay bridge china'. Idiots like you have no clue.
OTOH, if a STATE requires that the item be made in their state using local material (and one as big as California), then it can not be outsourced.

Too bad we have so many trolls like you. Last I talk to you.

Re:hopefully, it will be manufactured in the USA (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44784017)

That would be a constitutional violation. As a state, they can't place restrictions on where items are sourced within the US. The reason that the Federal Government controls the regulation of interstate commerce is specifically to prevent that from happening.

If they're doing it, it's merely because nobody has cared enough to challenge it in court.

Re:hopefully, it will be manufactured in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783751)

>That work cannot be "off shored"
I care to challenge your claim. Instead of designing robots with AI, we could have robots controlled by an Indian call center. BAM. Outsourced road construction off shore. So the electronics for this would be outsourced to China. The fuel to have it delivered would be outsourced to whatever poor third world country we rape for gasoline. And the brainpower would be outsourced to India.

Coming up next: Outsourcing politicians!

we've legislated before we've innovated. (3, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#44783351)

no stable system has been proposed, only a concept, and yet we're willing to confide in private industry to fill in the gaps? what happens if a rock hits my expensive plate? how much more will this cost than a traditional plate? whats to prevent me from reverse-engineering the plate and reducing an entire parking garage to STOLEN?

hundreds of questions remain unanswered. legalizing the plates is one thing but unless there is more transparency in the trial program or its restricted to a small minority of state vehicles i cant see this as any sort of appropriate service to californians from their duly elected government. and given the nature of devops and software engineering in general, isnt it a bit hasty for a "trial program?" Shouldnt this proceed more like googles autonomous driver system as opposed to make;make install; plate.exe; "we're good!" or at very least throw it around the security community and see if we can break it first (im assuming it would be trivial.)

Re: we've legislated before we've innovated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783407)

plate.exe

Yikes! I certainly hope these plates aren't running Windows 8 For Plates!

Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44783437)

"whats to prevent me from reverse-engineering the plate and reducing an entire parking garage to STOLEN?"

Presumably, such a task would require access to DMV computer systems, which while certainly not impenetrable, likely have enough facilities in place to stop more than 99% of the people who would even be inclined to want to break into such facilities.

Plus, the perp compounds their crime by hacking into a computer system without authorization... something they would necessarily have to do *BEFORE* modifying somebody's plates, and exponentially raising the chance that they would be caught before such damage actually occurred.

I''m not saying that this idea is completely immune to all hacking efforts... I know enough to realize it is not.... and in fact,there are far more basic and entirely nontechnical reasons that this idea is elss than ideal which have nothing to do with privacy or the potential to abuse such a system (which I've already mentioned elsewhere on this topic)... so on the scale of things, I'd suggest that the issue you've raised with this point is probably relatively minor.

Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (1)

pla (258480) | about a year ago | (#44783561)

Presumably, such a task would require access to DMV computer systems

Why? Who the hell would bother hacking the server when they have physical access to the one part of the system that matters, the plate itself?


Plus, the perp compounds their crime by hacking into a computer system without authorization

Y'know, this point alone worries me the most. I can't think of any compelling legal argument against it, yet it sets a bad precedent about ownership and our already-thin right-to-modify/repair items you pay for and of which you have physical possession.

"Yeah, a rock hit my plate. I can fix it with a $20 replacement screen I install myself"
"Sorry, felony tampering with official gear, buddy! Pay $250 for a new DMV-issued plate, or go to jail!"

Re: we've legislated before we've innovated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783573)

Someone will steal some and send them out of the state or the country (somewhere where the CA laws won't apply) and they'll hack them. Once they've published the info on the interwebs lots of "hobbyists" will have some fun. Since these will all need to communicate on the same cell networks using the same encryption, well, you get the picture.

Also, these will probably have a UART port (or something similar) a wifi so they can be serviced directly.

Chaos, California is calling on line one.

Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#44783563)

why even make it a plate? who needs to innovate?

we've had electronic tolls tickers on our windshields (RFIDs) for years.
just use those.

no more unreadable plates. no more faded or peeling stickers.
just point the scanner at a car to get its license and registration.

no more visits to Hell, I mean, the DMV.
Just renew online or over the phone.

Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44783665)

why even make it a plate?

Because the average bystander doesn't carry an RFID reader. And they need to record the plate numbers of people involved in accidents, hit-and-run, etc.

The 'why' on tabs is a better question. Police plate readers can check a stolen/expired database in seconds and report back.

Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783779)

I think the idea whizzed over your head. Obviously the OP meant that an RFID tag would be in the corner of the plate that is still readable by humans. Done correctly, it could even work without batteries.

Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#44784111)

no, actually i was thinking remove the plates entirely.
if you have an RFID its not really needed. as for reading it for accident purposes, the VIN is already on the vehicle, write that down. OR, sinec the toll stickers we get here are about a 2x2" plasticized white paper square (with the chip about a 1/2" square in the center), just print a serial number on there and you get the equivalent of a plate number for accident purposes. or cars can have readers incorporated into "black boxes", that report "1205Z: Impact with VIN: 12f923289819sas2141". for cops checking for expired "tags", the RFID is your tag, and the cop could check in seconds to see if youre legal or not.

and using an RFID avoids any issues of power sources, hacking the electronic plate (hacking the dmv being a seperate issue, that already exists as a threat vector), accidents destroying the electronic plate, etc.

basiaclly i question the need to design an electronic plate at all when you can just summarily replace plates entirely with existing tech already common on the roads, if htey want to go this route. though i personally would just as well keep the existing plates.

Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (2)

ChairmanMeow (787164) | about a year ago | (#44783775)

no more visits to Hell, I mean, the DMV.
Just renew online or over the phone.

In most states you can already renew online. I renewed my plate online last week, and all I have to do after that is put the new sticker on my plate when in arrives in the mail.

Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (3, Funny)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#44784035)

I dont think my state government has even discovered the internet yet.
the DMV office is still using TRS-80 computers in the registration section.
and they're the newest equipment in the place.

Imagine the possibilities! (1)

kmahan (80459) | about a year ago | (#44783353)

What could go wrong with these? Invariably it will be hacked and someone will broadcast the "stolen" message to all the cards around her/him. Hopefully it'll be possible to send custom messages out to the plates.

Re:Imagine the possibilities! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783439)

Like diplomatic immunity?

Re:Imagine the possibilities! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783485)

Gee, I can't imagine why about a HUNDRED other people had the same thought, above you?

Did you even BOTHER to scroll up a bit, and see that sentiment over and over and OVER again?

Or did you JUST SIMPLY HAVE to SHARE your BRILLIANT INSIGHT with the rest of the world without pause?

Place is fucking going down hill.

Re:Imagine the possibilities! (1)

kmahan (80459) | about a year ago | (#44783511)

Look at the post times, remember that this is slashdot where posts don't show up instantly. My post was written with only 3 other posts visible.

Brilliant (5, Insightful)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about a year ago | (#44783359)

So, when there is a hit-and-run accident the witnesses will be telling the police to hunt for the car with license plate number "EXPIRED"?

Re:Brilliant (2)

krovisser (1056294) | about a year ago | (#44783399)

Yeah on the face of it, it doesn't sound like they thought this through. Now how are automated license plate readers going to work? Is there going to be RFID like capabilities as well? What was wrong with standard plates?

Re:Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783453)

Now how are automated license plate readers going to work? Is there going to be RFID like capabilities as well?

These will probably have GPS so they can track all speed & location data and send it back to the State. You'll start getting speeding and/or parking tickets based on how fast you got between points A & B, or how long your vehicle was parked somewhere.

Re:Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783831)

I hate people like you who think everything distance/location related has to be GPS. If they put RFID tags in plates and they had RFID readers along the road, they could still see if you're speeding by the times your plate is seen. The thing that annoys me the most is that idiots will still call this "GPS" for some reason.

Re: Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783931)

What idiots like you don't get is these already require cell communications. Why add RFID readers along every road in the entire state when a simple GPS (yes, GPS) unit in these pates can send your info using the existing resources in the plate?

Also, mister genius, RFID readers can't find a car that's parked unless it's within the range of the closest RFID reader (which would require millions of them to be deployed throughout the state).

Using GPS to track a stollen car (or one wanted for any reason) in real time is much easier than hoping they drive past a RFID reader.

Re:Brilliant (3, Funny)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#44783681)

"What was wrong with standard plates?"

No patents.

Re:Brilliant (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44783429)

You hit on another point without even realizing it: rear-end collisions. With the weights and forces involved in cars and accidents, are they even able to make an electronic display that wont shatter or malfunction if it is in a rear end collision?

Re:Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783793)

Thats the problem i see with a lot of the new tech put into cars. Camera's, radar etc. Get in an accident, now instead of $1000 for a new bumper, you're talking $5000. This is even more harsh for an Automated car future: Someone hits your side door in a parking lot, you now have to have all the sensors checked out and verify correct functioning. That'll be $750 and a half day or more without your car, whereas I see cars now that have a half dented side and they drive without an issue.

They could also save.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44783365)

When it comes to money spent on mailing out renewal stickers, it seems rather obvious to me that they could also save that money by passing the cost of postage onto the drivers that want their renewal stickers mailed. One could, obviously, go into the DMV in person when renewing, and pick up renewal stickers themselves, thereby saving the money on said postage, although I imagine that the hassles of probably waiting in a long line-up are more than enough to make the cost of the drivers paying for postage themselves to probably be worthwhile.

Electronic plates.... sheesh! Talk about unnecessarily overcomplicating something !

Re:They could also save.... (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44783677)

Saves money on the stamp but costs money for the DMV employee.

Just allow people to go online and print out the stickers themselves. You could either purchase waterproof printing materials or they could go in the windscreen like they do in other parts of the world.

MTBF? (1)

pla (258480) | about a year ago | (#44783367)

Clearly, California must have the single best quality roads in the entire world.

In the Northeast US, come spring, your license plate looks like a sand-blasted salt-shaker. These no doubt fairly expensive (large LCD screen and cell enabled?) license plates would last less than a year.

But hey, don't let that pesky ol' reality get in the way of yet another way for Uncle Sam to track our every move!

Re:MTBF? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44783611)

Cars are effectively immortal in CA. Your car will look great with 150,000 miles on it.

This Could Go the Other Way (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44783379)

I can't wait to hack one, that way I can change my plate on the fly. Metal plates are a hassle to fake, but an electronic plate that is designed to change at the push of a button is going to make counterfeiting super easy.

Hell, you could have your plate change to a new (fake) number every time the odometer clicks over another mile. That will pollute all those fancy ANPR databases. You could really screw with those ANPR systems by using your own ANPR via a dash-cam that scans on-coming cars and once they have passed, switches your plate to that other car's license number.

Either way you'll have a very small chance of getting caught since it will change so fast and you don't even need to stop the car to do it. Besides, normally no one even looks at your plate unless something bad has already happened,

Re: This Could Go the Other Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783493)

Scanning won't work on a non-reflective plate. But not to worry, they'll have GPS in these little beauties so they won't need to scan plates anymore.

Follow the Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783387)

This is such a useless and easily defeated idea, that someone is surely lined up to make a vast fortune off of it.

how is it powered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783411)

speaking as someone whose car battery was dead for months snd recently replaced

Re:how is it powered? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44783475)

Not all displays need to be powered when the image on their screen is not changing. Epaper is one such passive display technology... there are a handful of others as well.

That said, I think that this idea is hugely overcomplicating a solution to a not particularly complex problem.

Re:how is it powered? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44784005)

... I think that this idea is hugely overly complicating a solution to a not particularly complex problem.

Even more complicated:

This product also allows that screen, once a vehicle comes to a stop for four seconds or longer, to display a different image on the plate such as an advertisement.

So the license plate has an accelerometer or is otherwise connected to the vehicle's electronics - oh and (possibly) ads.

Technology is the last step (1)

supernova87a (532540) | about a year ago | (#44783419)

Sigh, these policymakers always want the answer to come from some technology that they don't have to do any work for, on a problem that doesn't affect many people

How about we first start with the things that are bigger problems for every day drivers? Highway design and traffic control? Road works and maintenance? How about the condition of public transit? Then after that, get to things like policing of carpool lanes, or people who drive around with license plates obscured. Maybe after all that we can get to your fancy electronic license plates.

These Sacramento politicians love to do anything that doesn't require their own state agencies to improve. Or anything except examine the way that they spend our money.

Re:Technology is the last step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783537)

But they're creating jobs! This is obviously going to be a huge boost to the economy, not to mention fabulously lining the pockets of whoever came up with the idea and those who pushed it through government.

I don't understand... (2)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44783421)

... California has a referendum procedure. Can't the Californians vote this sort of shit so far down that they'll be looking for it in the Marianas Trench?

Why stop at license plates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783455)

All residents will at birth have a LED light installed on their palm. It will start blinking red when they are determined to be any of the following a criminal, late on their taxes, obese, too skinny, too old, rude, carnivore, non-Christian, non-White, non-Demoncrat, Tea Party members or have been randomly selected for giving up their space on earth for the good of the environment.

Blinking red means cops get to hunt you down and kill you.

Re:Why stop at license plates? (2)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44783697)

Palm? How about Anroid and IOS?

the mark of the best people will not let that happ (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44783813)

the mark of the best people will not let that happen and the Amish and other Regions will sue to stop that from being forced on them.

Why our country and many states are in debt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783463)

Because they adopt silly solutions to problems that don't exist. Instead of a metal plate with a sticker, they want an electronic screen that is forced to communicate with a server. What could possibly go wrong? Do they really believe such devices won't be hacked? And the cost is likely 10 times what you are forced to pay now.

Government is the problem, not the solution. Stop hiding behind their skirts and rebel.

why even have license plates? (3, Insightful)

bkmoore (1910118) | about a year ago | (#44783505)

If plates become electronic and networked, then the question needs to be asked, why do we even need a license plate to display a number at all.

or maybe.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783531)

Probably rather then being a screen- it'll still be metal, still have stickers; but now you get a gps, cell modem, and of course it will tie into the can-bus on the car so they can shut it down whenever. they need to set the stage to be able to take control of those autonomous cars that will be coming. Think of the money we'll save on police officers, they'll just have the car lock the doors and drive you right to jail.

You Insensitive Clod! (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44783621)

My truck is over 30 years old. It doesn't have a CAN bus. And the fuse feeding the GPS/modem keeps blowing.

CNSFSNP tag needed (5, Insightful)

wolvesofthenight (991664) | about a year ago | (#44783541)

CNSFSNP: Complex Non-Solution For Simple Non-Problem

Admittedly, idiot is often, but not always, an appropriate alternative term.

Revenue Next? (1)

Ed The Meek (3026569) | about a year ago | (#44783543)

So does this mean a new revenue generator (concealed as a tax) is soon to be placed on vehicles? Will California now sell advertising on these new tags? You heard it from me first.

Re:Revenue Next? (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44783705)

Maybe they will take a page from Amazon's book (no pun intended) and you'll be able to pay extra for no advertising.

Oh it's very clear (4, Insightful)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about a year ago | (#44783547)

Someone in the legislature has ties and is getting kickbacks from the company that makes the technology, so they have a huge financial incentive to push thru this blatantly-invasive technology that will ultimately cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and provide virtually zero benefit.

See: red light cameras.

In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783553)

In related news, the California Attorney General is now investigating why every car in the state fleet now has a license plate flashing "WASH ME!".

Why scan cars? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#44783559)

When you can just scan the occupants instead?

Re:Why scan cars? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783609)

Exactly. Instead of showing 'STOLEN', the plates should just read 'Nigger on board'

Very clear objectives: follow the money (4, Insightful)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | about a year ago | (#44783595)

It still remains unclear as to exactly why this bill was proposed and what its objectives are.

The objective is to make money for the company which paid into Ben Hueso's campaign fund and which, shocker!!, just happens to make exactly this sort of item or has "key patents" on it. Whenever something smells fishy, follow the money. Just ask yourself, "Who stands to benefit financially from this?" and you'll have your answer.

Re:Very clear objectives: follow the money (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783727)

If you check the translation on hueso, you will see that Californians Ben Hueso'd. Should be his customized plate.

mobile data and fringe roaming (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44783601)

Who will be paying the for the data roaming fees then? or what happens if you are in area with no data network will it say error? default to EXPIRED? What good is STOLEN when some one can use a cell blocker to stop that from showing up?

A who? (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44783679)

" In an example shown by a South Carolina vendor, "

>South Carolina vendor
>California State Senate

Of course this would come from states that gets hardly any real weather. The advantage of dumb-stamped-metal plates is that they are dumb. They require no batteries, electronics, etc, that need to be shielded from snow, rain, sleet, salt, rocks kicked up from the road, or falling meteors. Sure, you can take an electronic picture frame and put it on a car to display this stuff. Good luck weather-proofing it for cheap. Not gonna happen.

Go look at how much a Toughbook costs compared to a similarly powered normal laptop.

There's a solution to this that's more reliable and cheaper, and it's already out there.

Encourage the use of EZ-Pass. Not only can EZ-Pass be detected by toll booths, but you can have readers in police cruisers. Done.

--
BMO

Yay! (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44783701)

No more retro-reflective license plates. So no more cop lasers. On many vehicles, the only thing that provides sufficient return for the laser pulse is the license plate. Other surfaces are either non-reflective or scatter the beam.

The cops hate my truck. Any impact with grass or brush (driving off road) bends the front plate to hell, scrapes it up and effectively makes it non reflective. I've been pulled over a few times when they get no laser return off it and told to get a new plate. Which will last for about three months.

Pure idiocy (2)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44783755)

This is beyond idiocy. A physical license plate has many advantages over an electronic one.
1. You can't hack a physical non-electronic plate.
2. Physical plates serve as excellent reminders of who was where, especially in the cases of drunk idiots slamming into your car so hard THAT THEY LEAVE A PERFECT IMPRINT OF THEIR PLATE IN REVERSE on your car for easier tracking later on.
3. Creation of physical plates does not result in as much pollution compared to electronic ones.
4. Most physical plates are still quite usable after an accident. Electronic plate isn't going to be so useful after one fender bender, most likely.
5. Electrical system problems might mean your car works but your license plate does not.

I see one advantage the electronic plate might have - you won't need those license plate lights any longer, and those stupid neon license plate frames won't interfere with the visibility of an electronic plate emitting its own light versus a physical plate that relies upon the reflection of light.

slightly OT, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783827)

here's what I noticed when I went to CA DMV to search:

"To assist you better, your DMV website session is being recorded for quality assurance."

near the bottom of the page. Guess e-plates are just another extension of the surveillance mentality already in place.

Moar advertising! (1)

L. J. Beauregard (111334) | about a year ago | (#44783835)

FTFA: This product also allows that screen, once a vehicle comes to a stop for four seconds or longer, to display a different image on the plate such as an advertisement.

*facepalm* Just what we need. Moar advertising!

California, land of free tablets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783975)

So this sounds like a nice, bright LCD with wireless capability and some kind of processor, carried around on the outside of everybody's car. You think plates get stolen a lot now? Just wait.

Is it Hackable? (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | about a year ago | (#44784049)

Because that sure would be handy when I'm coming up to an intersection or within range of a known traffic camera so that my plate can toggle to the governor's personal license plate number or that guy from accounting I don't like.

Hacker's delight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784065)

I can't wait for the spoofs on the politicians' license plates come next election.

This is fantastic. (1)

Michael Simpson (2902481) | about a year ago | (#44784095)

Step 1: Receive Plate
Step 2: Microwave Plate
Step 3: Place non functional plate on car.
Step 4: Profit

It's more than a LIcense plate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784117)

Notice how they can communicate with it. This opens up time+distance= speeding ticket. It also could help in tracking the car/driver. There are so many ways it could be abused that it is very scary.

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