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Malaysia to Use RFID Number Plates Next Year

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the following-cars-made-easy dept.

Privacy 104

durianwool wrote in with a story about Malaysia's plans to introduce RFID number plates. It reads: "'The first thing thieves do after a car theft is change the registration plates,' Road Transport Department Director-General Ahmad Mustapha was quoted as saying. The microchips, using radio frequency identification technology, will be fixed into the number plates and can transmit data at a range of up to 100 meters (yards), the report said. They will have a battery life of 10 years, it said. "

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104 comments

Now the second thing.. (5, Insightful)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174016)

will be to fry, change or overwrite RFID tag

Re:Now the second thing.. (5, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174374)

And how exactly are you going to cross a road toll or a police checkpoint?

This is one of the few possible use of RFID which make sense. Your number plate is out in plain sight anyway, it is also visible at the same or greater distance as the reader range. So there is no privacy implication here. In fact many privately run road toll systems already use this tech and this is simply an extension to cover the entire country.

Compared to the alternatives like Ken Livingston's London CCTV camera recognition and the UK dept of tranport "GPS in every car" scheme this is considerably less privacy invasive and much much cheaper. In fact - I would prefer this to them any day (especially to the GPS in every car idea).

Re:Now the second thing.. (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174714)

Ah, because they don't need human interaction in order to check for you passing between the gates. If someone is sitting at a computer monitor with a stopwatch mechanism and times you between the gates and calculates that you are speeding, I have no problems with the "technology" (as it's just like VASCAR over a longer distance).

What I do have a problem with is automated systems to do this job (i.e. lowjacking cars) so that it's fast and easy to make revenue.

Re:Now the second thing.. (4, Interesting)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175126)

In a situation like this, you'd eventually see a complete turnover of traffic laws. Traffic analysts have shown that without speeders, congestion is unbelievable (or more accurately, if everyone is going the same speed, the congestion is terrible). Because so many people are willing to go the speed limit, and a few people drive below and above it, traffic flow is reasonable. Speeders only speed because there is a low chance of being caught.

With automatic tracking/ticketing of speeders, beyond the obvious problem of loaning your car to someone, you'll see the roads getting clogged constantly. Something will have to be done to alleviate the problem, and that something will either be having personal speed limits (you can drive faster if you pass a safety test), greater public transportation to reduce the cars on the road (I'm all for this--there's virtually none in my state), bigger roads (ug), or a reversal to manually tracked speeding.

Re:Now the second thing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17175412)

Traffic analysts have shown that without speeders, congestion is unbelievable (or more accurately, if everyone is going the same speed, the congestion is terrible).

Any examples? I've never heard of that, but that is interesting if it's true.

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 7 years ago | (#17183438)

No example, except that a self-righteous driver travelling in the "overtaking lane" at what he thinks is the speed limit, will cause frustration to those behind who's speedos read with a different error. Driver frustration breeds impulsive driving behaviour.

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175766)

Couldn't the same effect be achieved if nobody actually exceeded the speed limit, as long as there were some people driving slower than most other drivers?

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

evolseven (941210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176512)

Not necessarily, as I believe a road can handle more cars per hour the faster they are traveling. So that might negate your advantage..

Re:Now the second thing.. (3, Interesting)

p43751 (170402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17179342)

You would believe a road can handle more cars the faster they go. If you really looked at the facts you would find that with quite simple math you can draw a line-chart showing cars/hour and you would see that you are correct all the way up to around 17 km/h after that you actually get less cars/hour. The reason is quite simple, the space each car use increase as the speed go up so that every car will have enough space to stop(remember 1 sec. 2 sec.. 3..)

So max cars pr hour on a straight road all using a reasonable distance to the car in front is actually around 17 km/h. We did the math in highschool to mix math and physics. (we also calculated how much current will pass through you if you get run over by an electric train, how far would a bicyclist bounce if hitt by a truck etc..... fun times)

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177820)

The highways are not something you just dump something on. They're not a truck.

They're a series of tubes.

And the faster the things move down the tubes, the more things you can move through the tubes ...

In Soviet Russia, bad technology analogy explains cars!

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176882)

On tolled roads another option could be to have speed-dependent pricing: Have the price go up when exceeding the desired most common speed, and have an absolute speed limit a bit above that. A few people will be willing to pay the additional price for the additional speed, while the majority will just keep at the maximum normal-price speed instead.

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178992)

having personal speed limits (you can drive faster if you pass a safety test)

Extremely dangerous. You don't want cars limited to 50 mph sharing the same road with cars zooming along at 80. Speed differential kills!

-b.

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

collectivescott (885118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17181190)

But that's already how it is...

And honestly, some people are much more comfortable and capable driving compared to others.

Re:Now the second thing.. (2, Insightful)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17183970)

That's still a manageable risk, though, with proper training, laws, enforcement, and to a lesser extent better road design. Have you ever driven on the autobahn? Cars zipping along at up to 140+ mph in the inside lane, 70-100 mph in the middle lane or two, while the outside lane lumbers along at 50-60 mph. Accidents are rare, although admittedly when they involve the inner two lanes things can get kinda messy.

The Germans do it by having a longer driving course than the US does, their traffic laws and penalties are designed to enforce common courtesy between drivers, and their traffic cops are very aggressive about enforcing their laws. The autobahns were designed to fit the countryside as opposed to blowing straight lines through it (reduces driver fatigue by giving them a road that requires that they actually look at it instead of get hypnotized), and they have road beds that are designed to last much longer than the US's. Frankly, I think that if people here could see how well the German system works, most of them would vote to adopt the first three practices immediately if it meant that we could actually have sane traffic flows at much higher speeds.

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17182128)

Maybe if everyone drove the speed limit, and the roads got completely congested, the roads would be safer, and more people would walk or take public transport, and help alleviate the two big environmental and health issues in America.

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17182182)

I live in a medium-sized city with virtually no public transport... neither walking nor our pitiful public transport is feasible for me.

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17182532)

I live in a medium-sized city with virtually no public transport... neither walking nor our pitiful public transport is feasible for me.
If your city is big enough to get congestion, public transport and walking facilities would improve enormously. The only reason things are the way they are is that most people don't want it any other way. But since when have people known what's best for them?

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

xmundt (415364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17182874)

Greetings and Salutations

        Actually, it has been my observation (and other studies have shown) that even flow is PROMOTED by similar speeds. Around here (where there is a fair amount of interstate construction going on at the moment) the big clogs occur when speeders go blasting up to the choke point, then have to slam on their brakes and slow down. It produces a standing wave that can last for HOURS after the initial burst of traffic. This behavior also cuts down on the open spaces in traffic, increasing the probability that a standing wave will form.

        The numbers on those speed limit signs are not there because those happened to be the ones on sale when the state bought the signs. They are the traffic engineer's "best guess" as to what a safe speed through an area will be in less than optimal conditions.

          So...the "best" way to drive safely and with minimal delays would be for all of us to follow the basic rules:

          1) Always leave either three car lengths or three seconds of clearance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you when rolling. Now, when I stop at intersections, I prefer to stop far enough back from the vehicle in front of me that I can still see the pavement under their back wheels, but, that is, I think, less important.

          2) Be considerate of other drivers. let them merge or turn in in front of you.

          3) Always signal (EVEN when changing lanes on the Interstate).

          4) Maintain your vehicle, so it always in good running order.

          5) Always drive as if everyone ELSE on the road is a homicidal maniac with YOUR picture on their dashboard.

          Regards
          Dave Mundt

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174720)

I fully agree - this is good use of RFID. It probably won't help with theft, but it won't hurt either. As for congestion charge use, that's a good use: it uses it for tracking things - what RFID was designed for.

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

the_wishbone (1018542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175040)

While I agreed with you initially, I RTFA and it says the chip contains information about the vehicle and its owner. I think there's a difference between broadcasting "XYZ-123," which is meaningless to just about anyone, and broadcasting "I'm XYZ-123, I'm owned by John Doe who lives at 123 Main Street USA." If someone figured out a way to read these things, they could, hypothetically, drive around scanning for nice cars, take note of where they live, and go steal or break into them later. It all depends on what the chip is broadcasting...but something tells me it's not just broadcasting the license plate number.

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

virtualchoirboy (717310) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175550)

Gee.... maybe they should get smart and just have it broadcast "I'm XYZ-123 and I'm attached to vehicle A with VIN 1ZX7846927AB2342346"

Re:Now the second thing.. (3, Interesting)

4815162342 (940334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176086)

Actually I have to agree with this. Normally I am opposed to the increasing use of technology in ways which reduce our privacy.
However in this case I think the benefits actually outweigh the costs.

I do see potential for abuse but I also see how this technology can be used to make car theft (and particularly resale) much more difficult.

The way I see it, it could work like this:

Licensing authority when issuing plates encodes the following information on the integrated chip:
"KV4782-Blue Honda Civic Saloon-VIN 1M8GDM9A_KP042788"
The proposed information being : License number-Description-Vehicle Identification Number

The trick being that, along with the plain-text, is stored a private key signed signature of the encoded data, using one of the recognised encryption/signing algorithms such as RSA.
Furthermore the private key used is only stored on the government issuing equipment and never on the chip itself. Thus no amount of tampering can reveal the key.

Granted there is still the requirement to ensure the security of the issuing machines. However this is can be solved with good old fashioned physical security, multiple keys, revocation lists etc.

The government then publishes the corresponding public keys allowing law enforcement agencies and other interested parties to validate license plates.
e.g. Officer stops the car, pulls out hand-held device compares the license plate and vehicle description. If he has any reason to be suspicious, he can also ask to inspect the VIN.

The other benefit of this system is that companies can start to offer hand held scanners which perform the same function.
Thus if I am buying a new car I can pull out my cheap $10 scanner and perform a verification that the car plate matches the VIN.
If the government then publish a list of stolen plates I can have a reasonable degree of confidence that the car I am buying isn't stolen.

I reckon that if such a system was in widespread use the lives of the car thieves would get considerably more difficult.
It will be very interesting to see how this system works out in Malaysia but if its done right I think it could be a powerful tool against crime.

Re:Now the second thing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17181116)

Politicians normally do things to increase their fame, not to solve problems. How many time you read about lame politicians announcing silly rules for the public to follow?

There were once another politician said every motocyclist should be forced to buy two helmets, to reduce road (deadly) accidents -- as if everyone has two heads to start with. Yes, that was in Malaysia (boleh).

No doubt people know about encryption and stuff, but not most politicians.

If you have chance to study about the security model of the Malaysian smartcard-based identity card, you'll be surprised!!!

Re:Now the second thing.. (1)

GeekZilla (398185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176090)

"Your number plate is out in plain sight anyway, it is also visible at the same or greater distance as the reader range. So there is no privacy implication here."

Uh...no. Last time I checked, I couldn't read a license plate at 100 yards-so it isn't the same thing. Also, if I want to sit on the sidewalk and record every license plate that drives by my business or maybe, the local pr0n shop, I could do that-but man would it get boring. Now however, I can automate the process. I don't even have to be there-just set up an RFID recorder and walk away. Come back in a day/two days/more days and I will have a record of all the cars that stopped by the pr0n shop. Oh! Wait-I would also have a record of all the cars that only drove by the pr0n shop and didn't stop. Now how am I going to differentiate that?

Anyway, I use the porn shop as an example of how nut-jobs (tm) would use the technology in an attempt to further their personal views. Do I actually think that someone would do that? Monitor traffic at a porn shop and then post it on a website because they have a bone to pick with porn? You betcha. And maybe not a porn shop/movie theatre-what about a Planned Parenthood office/abortion clinic? There are nut-jobs that would do just that-post the information of every car that "stopped" by. Oh, guess what? My wifes car would show up twice a day, every day because my son's daycare is right next door (i.e., much less than 100 yards to the parking lot of Planned Parenthood). And there are people protesting outside PP almost every day! Do I think it is likely that someone would leverage that technology to further their own cause? Hell yeah! In fact, I think it is more likely that someone would gather data on people "stopping by" an abortion clinic than it would be that someone would actually kill the doctors and patrons of abortion clinics (google it-it's happened more than once). Yes, yes, yes-you can do the same thing by standing at the entrance to the parking lot-but with this technology- you can have an accurate record (dates, times) of every car that came within 100 yards of for the entire year! All you have to do is sit at home while the machine does all the work.

If the technology was never used for anything besides what it was intended, I would not have a problem with it. But it won't be.

less privacy invasive (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176626)

less wrong is acceptable? How about just saying no to ANYTHING that isnt acceptable?

This is invasive, and wide open for abuse. its wrong, period.

Now, if it was 10inch, instead of 100yards, you might have an argument that its good for the cops.

Re:less privacy invasive (1)

GeekZilla (398185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176908)

"less wrong is acceptable? How about just saying no to ANYTHING that isnt acceptable?"

Thank you! Well freakin' said.

Re:Now the second thing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17178528)

I think the low price and ease of tracking RFID chips will lead to privacy issues that we can't yet fully understand, and that go beyond current Optical tracking of license plates. Think about a time when every block of every street, intersection etc. will have RFID readers, and it will be possible to track your every move, every minute that you are in a car. Anti-terrorist laws will make this a reality sooner rather than later. Anyone who the government doesn't like for ANY reason will be a "suspected terrorist" and will be tracked.

Yards != meters (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176410)

"number plates and can transmit data at a range of up to 100 meters (yards)"
A meter is 39.37 in, 1000 cm
A yard is 36 in, 91.44 cm

At 100 meters, the difference between meters and yards is about 30 feet, or 10 yards.

At this precision, yards do == meters (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176834)

Yes, yards and meters are different, but by less than 10%. RFID range is highly unlikely to be that precise - it's going to depend on angles, speeds, battery age, dirt, equipment sensitivity. If you care about the answer, either because you've stolen a car or because you don't want your government tracking everywhere everybody in your country goes, or because you don't want advertisers or burglars easily tracking cars, you know they can nail you at around that distance.


At least this isn't like the US RFID passport ranges, where they're blatantly lying about "oh, the range is only a couple of inches", because that's what they use for the passport-control officers' readers, when in reality there are more sensitive readers that can read them from 10 yards or meters away, and not only can identity thieves use them, but the government can also use them for whatever creative illegal tracking they come up with.

Huh? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174050)

RFID tags that use batteries?? That just sounds like lo-jack?

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

Colgate2003 (735182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174080)

There are both passive (no battery) and active (battery-assisted) tags. Want an example of an active RFID? Try EZ-Pass [ezpass.com].

Re:Huh? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174752)

The only thing remarkable about RFID technology is the battery-free property. Anything which needs power might as well be called a "radio transmitter" and not RFID.

Re:Huh? (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178754)

The only thing remarkable about RFID technology is the battery-free property. Anything which needs power might as well be called a "radio transmitter" and not RFID.

RFIDs are radio transmitters, just with a bit of smarts. Battery-powered RFID is completely valid. They have drive-by applications where the tag cannot be expected to pass within a couple of meters of reader/writer devices, but because of battery life limitations need to be replaced every few years.

So-called "Passive RFID" tags are still active devices, they just get their power by rectifying the incoming RF signal from the reader/writer device. Some of the incoming signal must be snooped to see if the tag should respond, the rectification process will always be less than 100% efficient, the digital/memory circuits need power, and the RF transmission circuitry will always be less than 100% efficient, so the response transmission range of passive tags will always be fairly low - a couple of meters at best, dependant on the transmission power output of the reader/writer device and the distance between the reader/writer and the tag (power falls off at the inverse-square of the distance).

Active RFID tags have their own battery but spend most of their time in a "sleep" state. When they receive an authenticated signal they'll power their transmission using the battery and then go back to sleep. This enables them to increase their transmission range (sometimes further than the range the reader/writer device can reach itself).

Re:Huh? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17179714)

I did not mean to imply that a passive RFID tag is not a radio transponder. I only intended to point out that battery-powered radio transponders are common and uninteresting. RFID is interesting and uniquely useful only because of passive RFID.

Cloned! (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174060)

Step 1: Steal Car
Step 2: Change plates and either clone or transfer original RFID tag
Step 3: There is not Step 3
Step 4: Profit!!!

Re:Cloned! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174268)

Step 2: Change plates and either clone or transfer original RFID tag


Why? That would make it easy to recognise as the stolen vehicle. You want to use the RFID chip that comes with the new number plate for all the same reasons that you want to use a new number plate at all - to discuise it.

Worst case is that the new number plate's RFID doesn't fit the true description of the vehicle but so what - the police can see that ONE of the cars within 300 feet of them should be a volkswagen but they can't actually see it. Maybe it's around the corner. This doesn't seem like much of a step forwards in tracing stolen cars.

Re:Cloned! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174554)

Change step 2 to:

Fit the stolen car with your own number plates complete with relevant RFID information and presto!

There is nothing to suggest that criminals cannot produce these tags. Malaysia is not a backward country. Heck they produce some of the technology our [American] government uses in some cases.

Re:Cloned! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176982)

Change step 2 to:
 
Fit the stolen car with your own number plates complete with relevant RFID information and presto!
A digital signature on the RFID tag should be sufficient to prevent that.

Re:Cloned! (1)

stephenpeters (576955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178192)

If thieves are just swapping plates on stolen cars embedding a tag in the plate will not change much. As tyre manufacturers are currently embedding RFID tags in new tyres now, would it not be easier to just scan the tyres at a checkpoint. If this is combined with an automatic number plate recgonition camera it would be simple to check if the tyre ID's match the number plate. If the number plate did not match then the police could assume with a high degree of confidence that the vehicle is stolen.

Better List (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17182218)

Step 1: See car you want to steal

Do you know that there is RFID tags? If yes go to Step 4

Step 2: Steal car (hard in itself)
Step 3: Get caught

Stop Here

Step 4: Feel daunted by technological measures (as most people are)

Do you have the technology to duplicate the RFID tag? If yes go to Step 6

Step 5: Steal the car and get caught, or just don't bother

Stop Here

Step 6: Contemplate your time to steal the car

Can you replace the RFID in time?

etc, etc.

Not so simple, huh?

Not groundbreaking (2, Informative)

Raindance (680694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174078)

This is not as groundbreaking as it would seem. I believe all new automobile tires in the U.S. come with unique, tamper-proof RFID chips in them already.

No such thing as tamper-proof (2, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174208)

There is tamper-evident, and tamper-self-destructing.

Unless the car depends on the chip to work, it should be easy to disable the chip using microwaves or some such. The hard part is destroying it without causing visible damage to the tire.

Re:No such thing as tamper-proof (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178866)

You don't even need visible damage to render a tyre unsafe - I wouldn't want to microwave a RFID unit in my tyre, possibly generating a small bubble that's delaminated some of the plies in the tyre and have it blow out at 100+ km/h

Re:Not groundbreaking (1)

MollyB (162595) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174210)

...new automobile tires in the U.S. come with unique, tamper-proof RFID chips in them already.
Genuinely curious about "tamper-proof" and the implications for sticking these things in people, which I should think would be the most-likely goal for such a Machavellian technology.

Try to keep the tinfoil-hat jokes sparse, please.

Re:Not groundbreaking (2, Interesting)

thestuckmud (955767) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174410)

I believe all new automobile tires in the U.S. come with unique, tamper-proof RFID chips in them already.
No. Not yet, anyway. There is a standard for auto tire RFIDs, that meets both automobile industry and retail requirements, but RFID industry sources say it will be years before these are widely deployed. Michelin is testing them. Goodyear has them to track leased race tires. Your car does not.

Even so, it may be time to start thinking of ways to extend that tin foil hat.

I don't get it. (1)

had3l (814482) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174092)

Ok, so probably they will be scanning every car that passes through a roadblock, the one that doesn't have a valid RFID information will be pulled over.

How does that make it harder than changing registration plates? Can't you just remove the registration plate with the RFID tagged as "stolen" for another one from a car that wasn't reported stolen?

What's the catch?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174104)

> Can't you just remove the registration plate with the RFID tagged as
> "stolen" for another one from a car that wasn't reported stolen?

Where do you get non-stolen cars from, other than by buying them?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

in2mind (988476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174146)

> Can't you just remove the registration plate with the RFID tagged as > "stolen" for another one from a car that wasn't reported stolen? Where do you get non-stolen cars from, other than by buying them?
Simply removing the plate from another car & leaving that car alone does it.
What's the idea?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175138)

> Simply removing the plate from another car & leaving that car alone does it.

Presumably the owner of a car with no plates will get in touch with the police and those plates will be treated as stolen?

> What's the idea?

Is this a sigfile, joke, what?

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17176102)

This is easy:

Step 1: Buy cheap ($30,000) car
Step 4: Switch plates
Step 5: send cheap car to junkyard
Step 6: Sell expensive car on black market
Step 7: $29,000 dollars profit!

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Programmer_Errant (1004370) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174180)

If they just scanned at roadblocks that would probably work. What they really need to do is have a network of sensors that log traffic. They can either track the car from the logs, or if plates were switched, figure out what plates were substituted and track that. Thieves probably aren't up on graph theory.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Insightful)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174272)

Um, and have the government know exactly where every car is, where they've been, and how long they've been there?

What a doubleplusgood idea for MiniLuv, citizen...

I for one do NOT welcome any such RFID overlords.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175080)

Ever tried driving round the UK?

Number plates are quite frequently scanned to check for speeding. If you are caught speeding, you get a letter saying where you were when caught speeding. How do you think that works?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174448)

The catch is the car thieves, according to the plan.

You're right, though. It wouldn't take much effort to get "valid" plates. One could buy a junker, or steal the plates, or simply go to the DMV and buy a set of plates. The RFID does nothing to strengthen the link between registration plate and vehicle. It seems to me, the only thing it is good for is automating the plate lookup on the police computer at the roadblock. That way, when the computer says a red Datsun should be coming through the roadblock, and it turns out to be a black Rolls Royce, the cops would know to pull it over.

I don't get it. (4, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174132)

I don't get it. The first thing they do is change the plates... so we're going to put tags into the plates???

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174386)

I couldn't parse that, either. :-\

Why not embed the chip in the structure of the car- somewhere in the frame? Or pull a Lojack and put it in a random location even the owner doesn't know. Do it at factory and use the VIN.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174426)

The first thing the government does is tell its people that its spying protects them from harm.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Informative)

tilandal (1004811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177688)

Your plates are registered to a VIN. They scan the plate to get the VIN from the RFID tag. They then look at the VIN on your car and if they don't match you go to jail.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177938)

So? My plates are registered to a VIN. They READ the plate and lookup the matching VIN. They then check the VIN on your car. If they don't match they go to jail.

So what did the RFID gain me again?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

drawfour (791912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178724)

Two ways this helps.

1. New plate does not have RFID signal. Police pull over car for having an improperly registered car, and do manual checks. If things are A-OK, the guy is sent off with a "fix-it ticket", which probably means no fine, he couldn't know the RFID chip was malfunctioning, but needs to get a new plate within 2 weeks or something. Or upon manual inspection, it is found that this is a stolen car (from VIN number, registration, etc...)

2. New plate has an RFID signal. Police driving along just do a "random" check. They point their RFID reader to the car, it pulls up recorded information about the car the plate is registered to. Make, model, color. If those don't match, the person gets pulled over, do everything manually.

Otherwise, they have to manually enter license plate information each time, and that can be tedious.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

xmundt (415364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17182936)

Greetings and Salutations...
          1) I suspect that what will happen is that in areas that have high car theft rates, we would see a huge increase in the sale of rf generators designed to burn out the chips. If I were running a car theft ring, I would be as interested as I could be in ensuring that a goodly percentage of the vehicles running around had their rfid chip zapped. A quick drive through a parking lot at almost any mall would produce hundreds of unmarked cars that would randomly scatter through the area.

          2) Couple of issues here. First off, of course, at least in the USA, there is at least lip service to the concept of "probable cause". The authorities have to have a decent reason for running plates, which works out to NOT doing it unless the car is involved in a traffic stop already. "random" checks would get thrown out of court so quickly you would hear a clap of thunder from the vacuum where the paperwork USED to be, and that is unlikely to change.

        On a final note, It seems that in MOST cases, luxury cars, as mentioned in the article, are stolen "on order", and are not simply targets of opportunity (at least in America). The article also states that the chip will contain information about the car and its owner...not that it would be checked against a central database. Sounds to me as if it will have the D/L no and VIN (at least), and, so will be easy enough to clone.

Regards
dave mundt

Speed of the car ? (1)

Rastignac (1014569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174142)

Can you read the RFID of a high speed running car ? Can you use the RFID to catch drivers running too fast ?
ie: can you install RFID readers on the highway ? Or they only work for stopped cars ?

Re:Speed of the car ? (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174538)

I hate not being able to use my mobile phone in the car or listen to the broadcast radio whilst moving.

Re:Speed of the car ? (1)

JasonTik (872158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176110)

The GP's real question was whether these chips could be read fast enough that the car could not leave the range of the reader before scanning was completed.

In all reality, where these are proposed to be used, such places as roadblocks, that won't be a major issue, as the cars will be slowed to whatever speed is necessary to check them out anyhow.

Cost of Deployment to Police force (1, Offtopic)

with_him (815684) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174182)

I am wondering if the cost spent on deployment, not of the plates (that could passed on to the consumer) but the scanners to the law enforcement, wouldn't be better spent on something like addressing the spread of HIV in their population.

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/malaysia_2412. html [unicef.org] from the link "HIV/AIDS prevalence is increasing. Reported HIV cases are doubling every three years."

Another stupid plan fromt he stupid Malaysian gov. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174306)

The Malaysian government is full of hair brained idiotic ideas.

The fact is, this plan is nothing more than another way for the ministers to siphon off public money into their own private pockets. I am sure that one of our many minister's relative or friend would be the beneficiary of the government contract to supply the technology for these RFID tags. And as what usually happens here, the payment the government makes to this contractor will be far beyond the market price.

Corrupt and stupid, that what the Malaysian government is.

Re:Another stupid plan fromt he stupid Malaysian g (1)

iMaple (769378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174798)

The Malaysian government is full of hair brained idiotic ideas.
You can remove 'Malaysian' from that statement and your statement still remains as true. :)

Re:Another stupid plan fromt he stupid Malaysian g (1)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174810)

Sounds rather like starting a war and then paying your friends' companies to rebuild the place again afterwards...

Re:Another stupid plan fromt he stupid Malaysian g (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176554)

Sounds rather like starting a war and then paying your friends' companies to rebuild the place again afterwards...
...and fail miserably.

i guess (2, Informative)

sleepsleep (1019008) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174322)

i guess it would works like this eg. when the thief steals a car, they would change the plate, (if that plate is without RFID tag) the police would probably double check the car and its owner, if the replaced plate got its own RFID tag, the police would check the car description based on that RFID tag, if it is correct, then they can pass the block, otherwise, the police would invite them to police station.

btw, the police could just drive along the road and just check everybody RFID tag and their car description without asking them to stop ;) and if the tag doesn't match the car, then they can ask the driver to stop :) i guess something like that ;)

Meters (yards) ??? (1, Insightful)

drpimp (900837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174338)

"can transmit data at a range of up to 100 meters (yards)"

Which on is it?
100 meters = 109.36133 yd

It might not be much at only 100 of them, but there is a difference.

Re:Meters (yards) ??? (3, Insightful)

Ralph Yarro (704772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174624)

INSIGHTFUL?

The range isn't really a round number of standard measuring units. In fact it isn't even constant, depending instead on a whole range of conditions and on the equipment in use. 100 meters and 100 yards are both approximations that are sufficiently inaccurate that it really doesn't matter which you use.

Re:Meters (yards) ??? (1)

drpimp (900837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175248)

Insightful, perhaps not. Estimation or not, by no means are meters = yards ... PERIOD that was my point. Nice spin though. If you "estimate" meters and yards on a larger scale, your estimation deviates substantially. Measurements are based on something set by humans, outside the scope of what we know, they mean nothing more.

Re:Meters (yards) ??? (1)

b.burl (1034274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176696)

Ot, but does anyone except teh united states still use the imperial system, zepplins, or leech therapy?

Re:Meters (yards) ??? (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 7 years ago | (#17180944)

Ot, but does anyone except teh united states still use the imperial system, zepplins, or leech therapy?

I live around the corner from a place called "Master Ee Leech Therapy" in Malaysia.

No Zeppelins though.

Re:Meters (yards) ??? (1)

DrScotsman (857078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17180106)

It might not be much at only 100 of them, but there is a difference.

However .002 meters is the same as .002 yards.

For those of you who know Malaysians... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174490)

Now you don't have to slow down when you see an accident to read the number-plates! You can just install a box on your dashboard and upload your chosen digits directly to 4D!

Stupid (3, Insightful)

Life700MB (930032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174918)


I work in a RFID related start-up and I can assure you that putting the RFID tags in the plates just doesn't make sense, is just like adding a control number to the plate... what you want to know is if the plates correspond to the car, not a second way of identifying the plates!!!

They should add the tag into the inners of the car, so they can detect when a detected RFID value and the plate don't match. It's a lot more useful, IMHO.

Also I found funny to see the specs of the RFID chips (tags, as we know them) of 100 meters and ten years of battery, are exactly the same as ours... it would be priceless to discover reading Slashdot that our American partners are doing extra hours without telling my boss!!!

Superb hosting [tinyurl.com] 200GB Storage, 2_TB_ bandwidth, php, mysql, rails, ssh, $7.95

Cars are already tracked (optically) (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175032)

Border controls, some police departments and who knows else already implement optical automatic liscence plate detection and scanning.

The only difference is this has the potential to be a little cheaper. I don't see any cause for more fuss, if you're OK with the license plate being on your car already. What's the difference if it's done via RFID?

Brazil is on that wagon too (2, Interesting)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175108)

My country is going to introduce RFID plates, starting with cargo trucks, next year. What really pisses me off is that nobody here seems to care about the huge privacy issues related to this.

Re:Brazil is on that wagon too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17175738)

That's presumably because there aren't any privacy issues. If used correctly, RFID poses about as much of a privacy risk as, well, having license plates on your car.

battery life (1)

tonigonenstein (912347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175120)

They will have a battery life of 10 years, it said
I thought the whole idea of RFID is that the chip is powered by the reader so that the issue of battery life disappears.

I can see the dialog now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17176082)

Cop: "Do you know what I stopped you?

Driver: "No, sir. I have no idea. I know I wasn't speeding."

Cop: "You're right. You weren't speeding, but did you know your license plates are covered in tin foil?"

Driver: "Sir, I had no idea..."

Cop: "Well, I'm going to write you a ticket for this as it's totally against the law."

*** 1 month later at court ***

Judge: "Mr. Abu Aziz Rufallah, I find you guilty of attempting to evade the law. I'm sentencing you to 1 year in prison, where you will be making RFID-enabled license plates. Upon competion of this sentence, you will spend 100 hours of community service at the Reynolds Aluminum Foil plant."

Can they survive a good ole microwaving? (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178688)

Can you stick one in the microwave, put it on high for 30 seconds, and have it come out fine?

Clue-Stick, please ! (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17180398)

Can someone hit me with a clue-stick, please ?

We're driving an old car that probably nobody feels like stealing voluntarily. Often enough I don't even lock it.
If we were in MY, from next year on I couldn't sleep well at night without glueing, welding and chaining the plates to the venerable car. Why ? Because - I bet - chances are exorbitant that in the next morning I'll own a car without plates; something that will be *a lot* of hassle, to explain, drive, and whatnot.
Why? Because a car thief finds quite a value in the plates: Sticking them to a brand-new freshly stolen Merc.

I can't follow the logic how RFIDs will prevent theft.? Sure, if RFID readers combined with cameras scanned the highway, and evaluated that that red runner actually was supposed to be a blue heavyweight, could trigger an alarm.
Even the automatic identification of the brand from a camera image is not possible. So if the stolen car is a blue BMW and my vintage a blue Volvo ? What makes that BMW pop up as 'stolen' ? As far as I can make out, nothing; *except* if a human looked at the image of the BMW and compared it with the extracted characteristics of the RFID it carries: 1986 Volvo 240.

Take a break and a deep breath. Let's continue: Except of the outer appearance, that blue (recently stolen brand new) BMW has one and only one feature that identifies the illegal change of ownership: it doesn't look like a blue (vintage) Volvo.
And, no, contrary to what some state in this topic, adding the brand to the RFID doesn't help at all: Though the RFID will emit 'Volvo' (which the database will deliver within less than a second in any case), the crucial point is, that it still requires human intelligence to make out that the car in question isn't.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but to spot stolen cars, someone would need to observe all cars passing by and compare them with a pop-up displaying what the database says about their respective RFIDs.?
Does it help to identify the theft *after* having been pulled over by police ? Also there, I can't make out a lot of difference. Once the driver pops out licence and IC, it is quite easy to establish that no brand-new blue BMW is registered under her name. The chassis of which has been registered as missing, as well. Oh, well, time for jail term. No need for RFID in the number plate, here, neither.

The only 'advantage' that I can make out is - and this applies to any government, not only the Malaysian - that it is very easy to automatically scan all passing vehicles at each mile and build up just as automatically a profile of where the car (that is, the owner) moves about in his time, 24/7.

Scary.

Re:Clue-Stick, please ! (1)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 7 years ago | (#17183638)

Surely the solution is fairly simple. You put an RFID tag on the car and an RFID tag on the vehicle. If they don't match then you have a problem... Put it somewhere it cant't be easily modified - link it with the ECU/immobiliser or something. Break/change the chip, car stops working.

Of course this does require twice as many RFID tags!

Surely a great number of possibilities exist. Put an RFID scanner in the car, connected to the ECU. When you start the car it looks for its numberplate, a chassis ID code, the key, the alarm etc. Car thieves are often clever, but the opportunist tends not to be a hardware/software engineer. It would require some pretty significant hacking to get round a security system like this. It could also be used to prevent the trade in stolen parts - cars stolen, broken down and parts sold on.

Mind you that might be a bit risky - I can see a WGA type situation where changing a part of your car inspires a message along the lines of "You appear to have significantly changed your cars configuration. For your own security we have immobilized it. Please return it to your dealer to have it reactivated".

(Hell yeah, a car situation explained using a computer analogy!)

time for democracy in Malaysia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17180868)

Given the frightening recent developments and ongoing human rights violations in Malaysia I think we should take a break from messing around in less important countries and turn our focus to Malaysia and help establishing freedom and a true democracy there. This would greatly enhance stability in the region.

Pakistan (1)

ady1 (873490) | more than 7 years ago | (#17183150)

They already started using such number plates for all newly registered vehicles since august of this year. Make no mistakes, RFID is here to stay.
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