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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 19:00 
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Brit License Plates Get Chipped :?

The British government is preparing to test new high-tech license plates containing microchips capable of transmitting unique vehicle identification numbers and other data to readers more than 300 feet away.

Officials in the United States say they'll be closely watching the British trial as they contemplate initiating their own tests of the plates, which incorporate radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags to make vehicles electronically trackable.

"We definitely have an interest in testing an RFID-tagged license plate," said Jerry Dike, chairman of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and director of the Vehicle Titles and Registration Division of the Texas Department of Transportation.

So-called "active" RFID tags, like the one in the e-Plate made by the U.K. firm Hills Numberplates, have built-in batteries, allowing them to broadcast data much farther than the small passive tags used to track inventory at retail stores.

Active RFID is already enjoying limited use on U.S. roadways. Under a new program, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is issuing RFID tags to foreign freight and passenger vehicles as they enter the country.

The technology is also used in electronic toll-collection systems in the United States to automatically charge participating drivers as they breeze past unstaffed toll booths. In the San Francisco Bay Area, FasTrak toll transponders are also polled at readers away from the toll booths, to determine how quickly traffic is moving through particular areas.

Proponents argue that making such RFID tags mandatory and ubiquitous is a logical move to counter the threat of terrorists using the roadways, and that it will scoop up insurance and registration scofflaws in the process.

"We see tremendous advantages to the (e-Plate) for everything from verifying registration and insurance to Amber (missing child) Alerts," said Dike. But because the RFID plates can cost 10 times more than ordinary plates, they will need strong support from governors and state legislatures before they are tested in the states, Dike added. "It will be several years before Texas will be able to test the e-Plate" on any of the 4 million to 4.5 million cars it registers annually.

Privacy advocates are less enthusiastic about the technology.

"It's too easy for (RFID license plates) to become a back-door surveillance tool," said Jim Harper, director of information studies at libertarian think tank the Cato Institute and a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee.

Civil libertarians don't object to an RFID automatic toll-collection system that "anonymizes" vehicles in databases once a transaction is completed. But they doubt the government -- given its thirst for intelligence -- will use such privacy-protection measures. From a law-enforcement perspective, "there is no reason to have privacy for anything," said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Active RFID is a huge improvement over cameras that use optical character recognition to read license plates and are accurate only 75 to 90 percent of the time, said Michael Wolf, president of the EVI Management Group.

The U.K. Department for Transport gave the official go-ahead for the microchipped number plates (as they are called in the United Kingdom) last week, and the trial is expected to begin later this year. The government has been tight-lipped about the details. One of the vendors bidding to participate in the trial said it would start with smartplates added to some police cars.

The point of the test is to see whether microchips will make number plates harder to tamper with and clone, said U.K. Department for Transport spokesman Ian Weller-Skitt.

Many commuters use counterfeit plates to avoid the London congestion charge, a fee imposed on passenger vehicles entering central London during busy hours.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 19:14 
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Please, everyone, when we quote news stories, can we be sure to give credit to the source? Where the story is web published we should give a link to the original.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 19:25 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Please, everyone, when we quote news stories, can we be sure to give credit to the source? Where the story is web published we should give a link to the original.


sorry about that..stand corrected :roll:
Try www.wirednews.com

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 19:36 
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belladonna wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Please, everyone, when we quote news stories, can we be sure to give credit to the source? Where the story is web published we should give a link to the original.


sorry about that..stand corrected :roll:
Try www.wirednews.com


actual link is:
http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,184 ... tw=rss.TOP

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 21:00 
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One of the vendors bidding to participate in the trial said it would start with smartplates added to some police cars.

The point of the test is to see whether microchips will make number plates harder to tamper with and clone,


Are our BiBs fond of tampering with their plates?

This idea is even worse than ANPR, if a car doesn't have a tag then it is totally invisible.

And it does nothing to prevent plate theft.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 15:52 
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I can't help wondering how susceptible to damage the chipped plates are. I mean, would a chipped plate stop working if it gets the right corner knocked off or cracked just so? If so I predict that introducing these plates will be swiftly followed by information appearing on the web on how to cause just enough damage to prevent it working.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 18:02 
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Gatsobait wrote:
I can't help wondering how susceptible to damage the chipped plates are. I mean, would a chipped plate stop working if it gets the right corner knocked off or cracked just so? If so I predict that introducing these plates will be swiftly followed by information appearing on the web on how to cause just enough damage to prevent it working.


I would bet that the more likely information will be how to get inside its knickers to give them a very slight twist..

EG Car plate number for real AB 55 CDE
Chassis number ABC1234567891DEF

Tweaked version AB 55 CDF
Chassis number Complete bollox but of the right format


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 19:45 
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Like Roger, i get not just worried, but very worried -

1) How do we get one of these new plates -
a) who sells them
b) how much.
2) - 99 more technical questions.

But 1 a+b is enough to start with.

a) once the plate making gear gets nicked from a plate maker whats to stop the technology geting out.
I could if i wished buy a card reader and read the info from my bank card --thats what the card cloners are doing - next step numberplates -
As Roger says - once this chipped plate takes over - ANPR will take over and what the van sees will be taken as gospel -
Whats to stop some bright spark coming up with a mobile re wrighter and altering 50 or so cars just before an ANPR van and causing chaos - similar to a computer virus.

b - once compulsary - we're held to ransom.

2- 99 open to new ideas.

As for me - suspect soldering iron on rear of plate will cause enough thermal problems to make them go daft.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 20:41 
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I know direction finding is possible, but if a load of cars all go past close together how are they going to tell with absolute certainty which car is sending which RFID?

I don't fancy being accused of someone else's speeding offence just because they picked up my RFID as they saw someone else go past.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 21:05 
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Quote:
As for me - suspect soldering iron on rear of plate will cause enough thermal problems to make them go daft.


:idea: What about a watty resistor that is speed-activated stuck to the back of the plate in the right place? :o :twisted:


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 22:51 
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Remove the plate and microwave it for about 30 seconds. Problem solved.

RFID tag? What RFID tag?......:p


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 06:17 
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botach wrote:
1) How do we get one of these new plates -


I heard about the idea a while back. The story that was going round at the time was that your plate would be replaced for you at the MOT. :o

The story was that the sensors are already in place and being used for some other application.

It smelt very much of urban myth at the time but it was in a major national newspaper.

As for who will pay for it. Well us, one way or another.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 08:57 
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RFID are definately up to the job for this sort of thing. We are starting to see them used for ID cards and hot desking systems. e.g. you arrive at your desk and your pass loggs you in to you phone and configures your local printer etc.

Its also being used for fire evacuation rosters etc.

The main blocker to RFID will be the mobile phone mast fear scenario.

RFIDs get their power transmitted to them :shock:

Secondly I can't see RFID being the final technology choice as they are ineffective when surrounded by a large metal body and there is no point in looking at remotely powered devices when the device they will be attached to is mm away from a 12v supply. The work feckwits comes to mind.

my concern is the govt. is wasting a fortune trying to find a way to replace the road tax system with some high tec option. It will cost a fortune and I for one will tamper with what ever device is fitted.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 15:56 
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[quote="Roger

:idea: What about a watty resistor that is speed-activated stuck to the back of the plate in the right place? :o :twisted:[/quote]


Roger --what a loverly idea -but diy has given me another idea - cover it with tinfoil and ground the foil / paint over with metal based paint- diy says signal sent to it - not screened it wont.

But the ideal place to start is not with the car but with the transmitter


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