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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 00:18 
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I'm annoyed again....last time it was the government putting tracking equipment into cars based on GPS technology, I showed how easy it could be for someone who was determined enough to defeat that.

I've just been toying with a silly idea which an unscrupulous person might use to avoid paying towards a road useage or tax system which could be based on the ANPRS system....and guess what, it works well enough to confuse any infrared camera.

I've uploaded a short video of the camera I have switching it's view between normal and Infra-red and uploaded it here.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANPRS/

I spent just 15 minutes and used led's which are only 1/10th the brightness of modern IR led's.....what other rubbish will they come up with next ?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 09:23 
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..the point being ? :roll:


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 09:45 
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I suppose it's not immediately obvious, and probably has a lot to do with how rich an individual is and how much money they don't mind paying in taxes.
The installation of the ANPRS system is costing you and me over £100million pound this year alone.
I wouldn't mind if it was a fair system, designed to catch everyone flouting the law. ANPRS is also the forerunner to a notaional road toll charging scheme, In time, as more hardware is installed stretches of road will be toll levvied using this exact system

There are three problems here....
1)The investment of millions of pounds of our money in a system which isn't up to the job, being defeatable by £2 worth of electronics any ten year old could throw together
2)The loss of revenues as a result of operating a system which is so easiily defeated
3)The ANPRS system will be used to track the movements of terrorists......considering many terrorists are very well educated in science subjects it's merely a matter of time before they figure it out.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:08 
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fixitsan wrote:
3)The ANPRS system will be used to track the movements of terrorists......considering many terrorists are very well educated in science subjects it's merely a matter of time before they figure it out.


They don't need to figure it out, you've just told them.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:26 
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Last I heard, all you had to do to defeat ANPR was to use a different font on your numberplate.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:29 
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It was only a matter of time before I stuck my nose in huh? :)

I have screen grabs if anyone wants to see this device in action (assuming fixitsan gives permission to do so).

I assume you really also meant for these things to work against SPECS speed cameras?


My opinion:
you would need a fair few LEDs to give proper character coverage. Any improper coverage [edit: or an unusual font] will lead to a ‘unrecognisable’ error being flagged and you might get a pull from the waiting plod down the road, the subsequent inspection resulting with a charge of obstructing officers in their duty. It is an offence to tamper with VRM characters to make them unreadable – even to IR cameras. Use of just a few LEDs will be obvious to casual observers which will include the occasional plod.

Note, the IR LEDS on ANPR cameras are incredibly bright, not just because they are efficient. They are in fact strobed: flashed regularly – at very high power, to eliminate movement blur; the electronic shutter time of the camera is adjusted accordingly – your LEDS would have to be an awful lot brighter, or be synchronised to have any significant impact (even though it works with your home camera).

There are other, better, ways of circumventing VRM type cameras (but I won’t post my ideas on such a respectable website).


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 15:02 
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Yes post the images as you wish.

An important factor here is that the led's I used were 15 years old and less than 1/10th the power of even cheap ones being sold on eBay.

I take your point about the strobing, but the first or second step in image processing is contrast enhancement and here the large white led lit area would have to be taken into account by the procccessing software....and a consequence is the reduction in visibilty of existing areas OR the led lit area is vieqwed as beeing white and then the font isn't recogniseable.
As for the plod down the street scenario, only the mobile units will work with a mobile police unit to assist in stops. For the cameras fitted on gantry's often a colour photo is taken , for use in court, but from what I've read a colour image isn't produced unless a succesful recognition has taken place.....otherwise the system is generating evidence which has no accompanying crime.

Yes the led's could be detected by someone with an IR camera, but when you consider how bright the roadside IR illuminators are, a simple solution would be to fit an IR phototransistor (50pence) to somewhere inside the car looking forwards and only turn on the number plate IR led's when a strong IR flood is detected. Making it virtually undetectable at all other times.

Liek I say, this was only playing around with some low grade components and some free time........someone with a more serious intent would achieve far better results......to thiink I pauid for part of that camera on the understanding that it wasn't going to be used in anything but a fair way, and it appears it can't discriminate very well with even the smallest disruption to the imaging process.

I worked on banknote recognition systems on photocopiers, a while ago now, and they were very secure , but that was because the effort had been put into the developement and enough people tried their best to fool the system......this is a simple case of 'it's an infrared camera, I wonder if IR can confuse it'....and it can do that very easily.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 15:04 
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Yes post the images as you wish.

An important factor here is that the led's I used were 15 years old and less than 1/10th the power of even cheap ones being sold on eBay.

I take your point about the strobing, but the first or second step in image processing is contrast enhancement and here the large white led lit area would have to be taken into account by the procccessing software....and a consequence is the reduction in visibilty of existing areas OR the led lit area is vieqwed as beeing white and then the font isn't recogniseable.
As for the plod down the street scenario, only the mobile units will work with a mobile police unit to assist in stops. For the cameras fitted on gantry's often a colour photo is taken , for use in court, but from what I've read a colour image isn't produced unless a succesful recognition has taken place.....otherwise the system is generating evidence which has no accompanying crime.

Yes the led's could be detected by someone with an IR camera, but when you consider how bright the roadside IR illuminators are, a simple solution would be to fit an IR phototransistor (50pence) to somewhere inside the car looking forwards and only turn on the number plate IR led's when a strong IR flood is detected. Making it virtually undetectable at all other times.

Liek I say, this was only playing around with some low grade components and some free time........someone with a more serious intent would achieve far better results......to thiink I pauid for part of that camera on the understanding that it wasn't going to be used in anything but a fair way, and it appears it can't discriminate very well with even the smallest disruption to the imaging process.

I worked on banknote recognition systems on photocopiers, a while ago now, and they were very secure , but that was because the effort had been put into the developement and enough people tried their best to fool the system......this is a simple case of 'it's an infrared camera, I wonder if IR can confuse it'....and it can do that very easily.

The ultimate test hjas got to be that i drive down into England and find one of the speed monitoring cameras , used in roadworks and so on, where you speed and registration number are flashed up on a small board. We don't have them in Scotland. Yet. But the technology is similar enough to ANPRS to give a fair indication of what the result is likely going to be for other ANPRS systems.

As for telling the terrorists about this, they are mostly on a one-way journey, or seem to be at least.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 15:11 
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Is there some sort of pen that could be used to upset ir just like those uv pens to post code your property. :idea:

Just draw a few nice invisible paterns over your number plate and hey-presto 8-)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 15:47 
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fixitsan wrote:
I take your point about the strobing, but the first or second step in image processing is contrast enhancement and here the large white led lit area would have to be taken into account by the procccessing software....and a consequence is the reduction in visibilty of existing areas OR the led lit area is vieqwed as beeing white and then the font isn't recogniseable.

Correct, but........

fixitsan wrote:
As for the plod down the street scenario, only the mobile units will work with a mobile police unit to assist in stops. For the cameras fitted on gantry's often a colour photo is taken , for use in court, but from what I've read a colour image isn't produced unless a succesful recognition has taken place.....otherwise the system is generating evidence which has no accompanying crime.

Don’t believe everything you read, besides, that would be bad design practice. It makes more sense to setup the system to capture as much data as possible in the event of a recognition fault for later examination. The original image could then be adjusted for contrast and brightness to reveal the tell-tale greyscales.

fixitsan wrote:
Yes the led's could be detected by someone with an IR camera, but when you consider how bright the roadside IR illuminators are, a simple solution would be to fit an IR phototransistor (50pence) to somewhere inside the car looking forwards and only turn on the number plate IR led's when a strong IR flood is detected. Making it virtually undetectable at all other times.

“At all other times” doesn’t fill me with confidence :) all plod need do is set up an IR enabled camera at the time which isn’t “at all other times” i.e. at an ANPR site ;) and watch for offenders with such IR arrays.


To be frank (but with respect), this is a respectable site concerned with road safety policy, you can’t expect the members to take ideas regarding illegal activity too seriously.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 17:20 
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I take no offence but feel it's important that potential problems are considered with these systems before we become a nation of habitual payers. This is supposed to be a 'legally binding' system, for want of a better expression, and if it has faults and flaws it has no place in the judicial system until those faults are circumvented.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 23:17 
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fixitsan wrote:
I take no offence but feel it's important that potential problems are considered with these systems before we become a nation of habitual payers. This is supposed to be a 'legally binding' system, for want of a better expression, and if it has faults and flaws it has no place in the judicial system until those faults are circumvented.

I would like to agree with you, but the world we live in is far from ideal.
Take the LTI2020 as an example. The flaws with this device have been explained and proven, yet the courts remain ignorant and continue to convict on the evidence derived from such machines.
The larger issue of the effectiveness of speed cameras is another example. The SCPs have been trumpeting their success at fatality reduction at these sites but their statistics never – ever – account for a blindingly obvious flaw: regression to the mean; there are other flaws yet the policy is allowed to flourish.

Clearly, faults and flaws have a place in the judicial system :(


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 23:02 
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a guaranteed way of being immune to speeding fines is to wear a disguise while driving, no way can anyone then ever identify you, the best ideas are always the simple ones, and this one is foolproof, same for CCTV cameras if you object to being spied on :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 11:25 
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I'm fairly certain that the ANPR cameras are not infra-red but panchromatic, just like all modern video/digital cameras.
The recorded image includes both the visible and the near infra-red part of the spectrum. During the day, the image appears normal (although trees etc. appear brighter as they reflect highly in the near IR), during the night the IR strobe gives good returns in the near IR and your number plate lights/streetlights still give returns in the visible.

Your system may indeed wash out the near IR portion of the image slightly, but, unless you drive with no lights on a very dark night, i'm fairly confident your numberplate would still be visible.

You should also be aware that there is a lot more data in the image than the computer can actually display at any one time - if the cameras are of a moderate quality, any half competent analyst could process out the glare from your LEDs and read the plate.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:49 
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BlackadderTF wrote:
I'm fairly certain that the ANPR cameras are not infra-red but panchromatic, just like all modern video/digital cameras.
The recorded image includes both the visible and the near infra-red part of the spectrum.

The ANPR camera itself operates exclusively in the IR spectrum. However, they also supply overview cameras (monochrome or colour) that operate in the visible spectrum. The images from these are usually used in tandem.

Pips Technology supply the cameras for the UK ANPR network.
These cameras use a narrowband IR filter such that they operate in a solar blind area of the spectrum. The filters are used to purposely filter out wavelengths outside those emitted by the IR arrays such that the uncontrolled light/reflections from the sun has less impact on the captured image.

It took me a while but I found the link:

http://www.pipstechnology.com/spectral.htm

BlackadderTF wrote:
During the day, the image appears normal (although trees etc. appear brighter as they reflect highly in the near IR), during the night the IR strobe gives good returns in the near IR and your number plate lights/streetlights still give returns in the visible.

As you can see from some of these pictures from mobile units, that’s not the case.

http://www.pipstechnology.com/album_har ... plates.htm


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 18:58 
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Thanks Smeggy,
all the ANPR stuff I've seen has been on the software development side, using multi-image character recognition from moving video (kept on chucking out the same numbers several hundred times until the vehicle moved out of shot).

Using filtered single-image NIR seems pretty stupid, IIRC the IR-reflective pigment in standard military paints reflects from about 750 to well beyond 1000nm, a quick coat of the clear base pigment over the plates would render the PIPS system fairly useless.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 20:25 
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:shhh:

Although ANPR mobile patrol might soon spot it (depends on how smart you are)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 16:33 
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To achieve optimum resolution in order for the automatic character recognition software to work most effectively, ANPR systems almost exclusively use infrared filtered silicon CCD cameras. Those that don't use an IR filter are used in close distance ANPR, such as those used in access control systems - car parks and the like. All 'open road' ANPR systems need to use IR imaging. A silicon CCD can see up to about 1100nm and the light scattering that occurs in fog and rain is significantly reduced toward that top IR limit. If its foggy and the CCD views the IR and the visible together, or just the visible, image resolution is compromised (its called Mie scattering) and the character recognition software struggles.

'Automatic' is the important word here. Road tax evasion cameras, congestion charge cameras, even ANPR equipped speed cameras (SPECS etc) generate 'automatic' 'recognition' of a vehicle registration. There's nobody sitting looking at car number number plates through these cameras and quickly scribbling down a registration on a piece of paper! What happens if you've got a 4x4 and been driving across some muddy field half an hour before you go into the LCC zone and you forget to wash down your number plate? It's illegal, for sure, but the cameras don't recognise you and they don't issue you a ticket. Believe me - I know. If the authorities want to find out your registration, they can track you with other cameras, viewing the rear of the car with a different view or whatever. Of course they can. Eventually....

Therein lies a major flaw with near IR ANPR - block the view of the camera and it doesn't work. And the camera 'sees' in the IR, not the visible. Easy! Block the IR view, but keep the visible view clear and the beat bobby can't tell you have anything over your number plate, but the cameras can't see them. It might be still illegal, but the laws of physics allow it.

I'm new to this blogging game, but if anyone's interested in some pictures, I guess I could post some if can I work out how to do that.

Ash


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 18:03 
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Ash wrote:
Therein lies a major flaw with near IR ANPR - block the view of the camera and it doesn't work. And the camera 'sees' in the IR, not the visible. Easy! Block the IR view, but keep the visible view clear and the beat bobby can't tell you have anything over your number plate, but the cameras can't see them. It might be still illegal, but the laws of physics allow it.

Mobile police patrols have ANPR systems, and I believe they can see exactly what their IR camera captures (in real time). Hence if the plate has a IR absorption filter over it, they are likely to notice; a tug and investigation (and court summons) will invarably follow.

That aside, there is some good detail in your post, things to chew upon. This forum is over-represented with engineer types, so you might find you like it here :welcome:

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 08:34 
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Engineering types? Ha ha! Complement or insult?!

Thats absolutely true - if you are observed in a mobile ANPR with one of these devices over your plate, you run the risk of being chased and stopped. And you'd deserve what you got. You can't fool all the people all of the time, just some of the people some of the time.

But last week when I sat with an (admittedly) civilian ANPR tax evasion camera operator and my good lady drove up and down in full view with one of these on the car and I asked him what was wrong with the system and why it didn't pick her number plate up (he didn't know who she was), he said 'Oh that's just a dirty plate, we ignore those because we don't get many...'

Moreover, a freshly retired traffic officer friend, who spent the last 15 years patrolling the M62 and has them on his bike and cars, tells me that he wouldn't know what to prosecute me for if he stopped me with it on. Construction and use he reckons - £30 fine, no points. I do have some finely honed (and expensive) legal advice that tells me ultimately if you try to evade something like the congestion charge, you are committing fraud and that could be expensive and/or time consuming.

But let's face it - it's only a little bit naughty isn't it? And I'm sick to death of a society that's shortly going to make everything either illegal or compulsory. The Germans are a free thinking modern democracy, right? And they've banned ANPR as an invasion of privacy. I agree. And this is just my way of giving the powers that be the old Agincourt salute and shouting 'Bol*ocks!'


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