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Repo Men Using New Technology To Track Cars

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  • This is just perfect! ( Score:5 , Insightful)

    by dfetter ( 2035 ) writes: < [email protected] > on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:09PM ( #31300358 ) Homepage Journal

    ...for stalkers.

    Time to ban!

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    • Re: ( Score:2 )

      by Dan541 ( 1032000 ) writes:

      Time to ban!

      For that you need to add.

      "Somebody think of the children!"

    • Re:This is just perfect! ( Score:5 , Insightful)

      by BitZtream ( 692029 ) writes: on Sunday February 28, 2010 @03:43AM ( #31303706 )

      It sounds like a perfect time to start destroying video cameras we find in public, regardless of who owns them or what they are for.

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  • Can you help me... ( Score:4 , Funny)

    by ak_hepcat ( 468765 ) writes: < [email protected] d e n a li.net > on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:12PM ( #31300376 ) Homepage Journal

    find my internet girlfriend?

    she said she went to school yesterday, but my best friend Mike who says he's in her class didn't see her at all, and that she hasn't taught class all week..

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    • i thought ( Score:3 , Funny)

      by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) writes:

      she was canadian

  • That's the first I've heard of this! ( Score:2 )

    by ipX ( 197591 ) writes: As a "nosy citizen with enough cash," I have been waiting to find out if the mayor is having an affair [slashdot.org] by tracking his plates. The ACLU doesn't like it [slashdot.org] but nobody cares [slashdot.org]. Or do they? [slashdot.org]
    • Re: ( Score:2 )

      by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) writes: Dr Zoidberg: Hey, look, everybody! It's a Slashdot trifecta! That place knows everything ... perhaps too much ?
  • Pay for what you buy, no problem. ( Score:2 , Insightful)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) writes:

    Plate scanning systems are just a fast way to do what repo folks have been doing for years. They still need to verify the VIN, and in some areas present Claim and Delivery paperwork to repo a vehicle.

    Lots of car buyers try to rip off dealers, and instead of working out payments (most dealers would rather have incoming money than a car sitting on the lot) they disappear with the car.

    Plate scanners also offer a way to catch uninsured drivers (= "people who don't care if they can pay for the damage they cause

    • Re:Pay for what you buy, no problem. ( Score:5 , Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) writes: on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:41PM ( #31300574 ) Homepage Journal

      Plate scanning systems are just a fast way to do what repo folks have been doing for years.

      But if too many uses for registration plates are found people with less to lose will just start making their own plates. Some of those people presumably have experience in the field anyway ;)

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  • Like the film says ( Score:4 , Funny)

    by BigFire ( 13822 ) writes: on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:29PM ( #31300488 )

    "The life of a repo man is always intense."

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  • Big Business Will Bring Big Brother ( Score:5 , Insightful)

    by weston ( 16146 ) writes: < westonsd AT canncentral DOT org > on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:30PM ( #31300496 ) Homepage

    I've long said that we'll lose our privacy to business before we lose it to a totalitarian state. It's pretty obvious that under a laissez-faire system some parties will happily sell information about anyone to other parties public and private who are interested in being Big Brother for reasons of power or profit.

    This is happening now with license plates. It's starting to happen with human image recognition, and will likely be pervasive in our lifetimes. It'll start with systems like this, it'll grow through systems in retail establishments -- some enterprising business will pitch them on the idea "Wouldn't it be great if you knew *who* was coming into your store? Let us set you up with a system that not only records and manages your video, but actually cross-references it with an image/identity database." They'll sell it to consumers, too: "Wouldn't it be great if you knew who was coming to your door? Who secondhand guests at your party are?" And now that we have social networks, it'll be even *easier* to bootstrap with a corpus of social tagged photos which are available to, say, anybody who sings up for the Facebook development platform. And of course, they'll eventually make a deal to share data with local, state, and federal governments. Or if that's technically illegal, with the contractors said government outsource photo surveillance functions to.

    And you'll need one hell of a disguise something like a Philip Dick's scramble suit in order to move around society anonymously... if such a thing can actually disguise your identifying gesture and movement habits successfully. If you can come up with something that isn't clearly a disguise that would make people suspicious. If such a thing is even allowed by retailers and citizens who *like* knowing who's coming to their door. If they're not illegal in some way, whether by statute or sheer fact that even wearing one looks like probable cause for suspicion to the police.

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    • Re: ( Score:3 , Interesting)

      by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) writes:

      Anything that can be legally done by a person can be legally done by a computer.

      For example, when I walk into a small store the shop keeper may do the following; scan my face, match that face to my name, remember what I have purchased, greet me by name and suggest similar items and sale items. Just because some of those steps are done by machine does not bother me. Now if all that information was posted on the internet that would be a problem.

      I have no assumption of privacy if I walk into a store that I hav

      • Your Argument is Why This *Will* Happen ( Score:2 , Insightful)

        by weston ( 16146 ) writes:

        Not only are the incentives to collect and sell this information already present in the system, arguments such as yours will be convincing to a significant portion of the population and in the framework of the existing legal system. People might *say* they want privacy, but a lot of them aren't willing to pull on the other end of policy/rights/philosophy which are tension with it.

        That's why I say this *will* happen. The only alternative is significant and nuanced new laws accompanied with public oversight.

    • Re:Big Business Will Bring Big Brother ( Score:5 , Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * writes: on Saturday February 27, 2010 @08:27PM ( #31300874 )

      I've long said that we'll lose our privacy to business before we lose it to a totalitarian state.

      And you'd be wrong, but not by much. We're losing our privacy because because both of those entities have been sleeping together. As Benito Mussolini pointed out: Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power That's where we're headed.

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      • Re:Big Business Will Bring Big Brother ( Score:5 , Interesting)

        by weston ( 16146 ) writes: < westonsd AT canncentral DOT org > on Saturday February 27, 2010 @08:37PM ( #31300932 ) Homepage

        And you'd be wrong, but not by much.

        Though this is nitpicking, I have to object. Despite some serious erosion of privacy protections on the civil front over the last few decades, we're not really there: the State doesn't yet have the apparatus for mass-tracking for even telecom. They know they're technically forbidden to have a lot of this stuff, which is why they largely rely on large powerful private entities or agreements with foreign states for the go-to.

        But this: We're losing our privacy because because both of those entities have been sleeping together.

        Is true enough indeed. And it gets worse over time because the amount of power in private hands keeps growing. And there's no other way to check private power other than with public power driven by large-scale civic participation. And we don't really do that anymore, or, if a lot of the recent anti-government populism is any indication, really believe at all in the idea of public power checking private power anymore. So it's down the path we go.

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        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * writes:

          Despite some serious erosion of privacy protections on the civil front over the last few decades, we're not really there

          True, but we're both talking about a possible future. You're right, we're not there yet, but there are plenty of people in big government that would very much like us to be.

        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by bendodge ( 998616 ) writes:

          And there's no other way to check private power other than with public power driven by large-scale civic participation. And we don't really do that anymore, or, if a lot of the recent anti-government populism is any indication, really believe at all in the idea of public power checking private power anymore.

          So the lack of civic participation is the problem, and the recent spate of Tea Parties and similar movements aren't civic participation? This sounds like a weird sort of oxymoron.

          • Re: ( Score:2 )

            by winwar ( 114053 ) writes:

            "...and the recent spate of Tea Parties and similar movements aren't civic participation?"

            No they aren't. The key here is "civic", implying a large group of informed, educated and motivated citizens actively involved in government. The tea party members are largely uneducated, uniformed anti-government populists who are very good at saying "no" and "x is bad" and want to apply simple solutions to complex problems. They are precisely the type of group that will make things WORSE because they are easily ma

  • Not Private Information ( Score:2 , Interesting)

    by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) writes:

    From a legal standpoint there is nothing wrong with this. The fact that a vehicle with a certain license number is at a certain location is public information and there is no reasonable assumption of privacy. Anyone walking down the street can gather this information. The use of vehicles and tag scanners just makes it faster. If they were logging license numbers of vehicles in locked garages, private property not visible from the street, etc then there would be an issue as there is an assumption of privacy

    • Re:Not Private Information ( Score:4 , Insightful)

      by Vellmont ( 569020 ) writes: on Saturday February 27, 2010 @08:23PM ( #31300846 ) Homepage

      The use of public information and technology to catch deadbeats and lawbreakers is not a bad thing. How about other "bad" people? My new Bar Watcher service will tell you if your loved one is at one of 30 local area bars. For only a search we'll give you time, location, and duration. For an annual subscription of only 0 we'll send you a text message every time we see your loved ones car (or one of his friends cars) at the local bars. Sign up now! *

      We also have our gamblers search! Same service, for all the local Casinos!

      *(service not available for elected officials, law enforcement officers, or judges by state law)

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        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by Vellmont ( 569020 ) writes:

          I don't find this all that threatening, I try really hard to be truthful with the people that I trust and care about. Bar Search, Strip Club Search, and Gamblers Search give no guarantee of accuracy of results, and cannot be held liable for inaccurate or misleading results.

          Oh, and did I mention we're now offering bulk rates for employers?

    • Re:Not Private Information ( Score:4 , Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) writes: on Saturday February 27, 2010 @08:30PM ( #31300898 )

      From a legal standpoint there is nothing wrong with this.

      Well, its about damn time that the legal standpoint changed. Technology has changed and the laws need to catch up. At one point we didn't even have license plates, the law changed because there was a need for something like them and at the time the balance of pros versus cons tilted towards the pro side. New technology has changed that balance towards the con side and the law needs to change with it.

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      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by cetialphav ( 246516 ) writes:

        The question, though, is just how should the law be changed. We can't just prohibit the collection of data in general. We can't just prohibit the selling of collections of data. Things like HIPAA protect medical records. Should we have individual laws that target particular types of data as illegal to distribute? That seems very complex and cumbersome to me.

        I think there are few people who are unconcerned with the direction that these data collections are taking us. It is easy to see how this can be a

        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) writes:

          I think Europe set a pretty good example until the US started punching holes in it in the name of terrorism. In a nutshell, EU privacy laws prevented anyone from putting together a database without getting the consent of the people who's information was in the database - and none of the typical american cop-out of "in order to do any business with us in any way you consent to being fully abused." Sure, some companies bitched-and-moaned about it being anti-business, but they seemed to do business just fine

    • Re: ( Score:3 , Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * writes:

      From a legal standpoint there is nothing wrong with this.

      There isn't? I think we need some actual legal advice here.

      The use of vehicles and tag scanners just makes it faster.

      Which is problematic in itself.

      All it does is allows more organizations access to the same database of vehicle locations.

      Even more of a problem. Data is power in the modern world, and any time power is concentrated sufficiently it becomes a liability. You need look no further than Experian, Equifax and Transunion to realize just how dangerous this can be. Hell, a couple of credit cards I've owned since the Internet went public have suffered security breaches, and I got hit with several thousand dollars in charges. They took them off ...

    • Re: ( Score:2 )

      by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) writes:

      The fact that a vehicle with a certain license number is at a certain location is public information and there is no reasonable assumption of privacy. Anyone walking down the street can gather this information.

      Agreed. However, the fact that the certain license number is linked to an actual human being is where the privacy part comes in. You can certainly walk down the street and collect license plate numbers all day long if your little heart so desires.

  • I wonder... ( Score:2 )

    by marciot ( 598356 ) writes:

    ...if it is legal to mount your license plate upside down -- and whether it would fool such systems.

  • This is good news... ( Score:2 )

    by mi ( 197448 ) writes:

    The faster the recovery of stolen property (including the lender-owned vehicles driven by deadbeats), the better.

    In the typical theft, the shorter times reduces the chance, the car will be destroyed by the either by the thief — and increases the likelihood of his getting caught. In the lender-deadbeat case, it is good as it reduces the lenders' costs, allowing them to give a slightly better deal to the rest of us, who pay on time...

    Efficient and effective law-enforcement is a good thing, generally

  • Freedom is lost playing the statist game. ( Score:2 )

    by MrSnivvel ( 210105 ) writes: How many more examples do people need before realizing that giving the state the power to force people into compulsory handing over of their privacy GUARANTEES that privacy, freedom, and security will be lost. Stop with the collectivist/slave mentality. Read the laws for your state regarding cars, you will be surprised to learned that they only apply to commercial activities, not to individuals traveling from point to point.
  • Defeat it with a public DB ( Score:2 )

    by lanner ( 107308 ) writes:

    What is to stop members of the public from setting up a distributed license-plate tracking system, to say, track politicians and government officials, and make said information public?

    If you can't beat em, at least make it so they can't make any money doing it.

    • Re: ( Score:2 , Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward writes:

      Aside from parts of NYC, you can't get around any American city without having an automobile. It's almost as necessary to live as water, food, shelter and clothing.

      • Re: ( Score:3 , Insightful)

        by Joce640k ( 829181 ) writes:

        So? Nobody's denying you the privilege but you have to drive a car you can afford, pay the insurance and park it properly when you arrive.

        From what I've seen though, "living within your means" isn't what Americans are best at.

        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) writes:

          From what I've seen though, "living within your means" isn't what Americans are best at.

          Well, saying what we mean isn't exactly our strong suit either.

        • Re:driving is not a right ( Score:5 , Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward writes: on Saturday February 27, 2010 @08:15PM ( #31300808 )

          Go "eff yourself." I mean really. You may enjoy your European/Chinese/Arab/whatever surveillance society. No doubt Mussolini made the Italian repo men run on time too.

          As for me, I would prefer that no one be able to purchase my travel history from a private company. Or any of my medical, personal, credit information for that matter.

          As a reporter, I can tell you there are numerous and perfectly ethical reasons why wholesale breaches of privacy are abhorrent to freedom. The least of which is that I certainly don't trust some MVTRAC dumbass employee having his laptop stolen from his car.

          "MVTRAC utilizes a centralized database that receives license plate image reads from remote systems in real time via the Internet. The license plate reader systems can be either fixed or mobile, and utilize a wired, Wi-Fi, or Verizon wireless broadband connection. Plate images are stored in the database, and clients can connect using a web browser to manually search for plate sightings."

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          • Re: ( Score:2 )

            by stephanruby ( 542433 ) writes: Why even steal it when a criminal could just buy that information from a reseller? There is no law against sharing public information, such as license plate numbers and where they've been sighted.
      • Re: ( Score:3 , Interesting)

        by sayfawa ( 1099071 ) writes: People who exaggerate are worse than Hitler. I've lived in several non-NY American cities, and visited plenty of others, and got around on public transportation just fine. Sometimes they were big cities, sometimes they were small. Sometimes they were even on the west coast.
        • Re: ( Score:3 , Funny)

          by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) writes:

          People who exaggerate are worse than Hitler

          People who keep using Hitler analogies are worse than, well, Hitler.

          • Re: ( Score:2 )

            by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) writes: I think he probably meant to reference Mussolini. He's the one who made public transportation run on time.
          • Re: ( Score:2 , Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward writes:

            People who exaggerate are worse than Hitler.

            Yes because everyone knows that engaging in a bit of exaggeration is far, far worse than plunging the world into the most violent conflict of an entire century as well as orchestrating the industrialized murder of millions of innocent people.

            *facepalm* and WHOOOOOOOOOSH!

            This, my friend, is why you will never, ever get out of community college.

      • Re: ( Score:3 , Insightful)

        by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) writes: right. Like bicycles don't exist. Like you can't move closer to work. If you can't see past anb automobile in your life, you won't have a life to live much past 2025.
        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by russotto ( 537200 ) writes:

          Like bicycles don't exist. Like you can't move closer to work.

          Bicycles suck in bad weather, and not everyone can live close to work. If households were all one income (or at least everyone employed had the same employer), you'd need a company town system to manage that. Since they aren't, it's not even possible that way.

      • Try having a seizure ( Score:4 , Informative)

      • Re: ( Score:3 , Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward writes:

        Are we supposed to feel sympathy for you? If you suffer from chronic seizures not only are you a danger to yourself behind the wheel but a danger to other drivers and pedestrians.

        I'm guessing from your comments that State DMV's don't share information with each other if you were able to get licensed in each of them, which is quite galling. Either that or you were perpetrating some sort of fraud whenever you moved and applied for a license.

        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) writes:

          I'm guessing from your comments that State DMV's don't share information with each other if you were able to get licensed in each of them, which is quite galling. Either that or you were perpetrating some sort of fraud whenever you moved and applied for a license.

          No, it doesn't work like that. If you lose your license in one state you cannot just move to another state and start driving again. They all share this information as you move from state to state. It follows you like a curse. But also, there are varying time limitations with respect to the required lengths of seizure-free time. And enough time passed in one state. So it's not really as bad as a string of DUIs in that respect.

        • Re: ( Score:3 , Insightful)

          by zappepcs ( 820751 ) writes:

          I'm going to guess you never use your pda/phone while driving? That you never have a conversation with another passenger while driving? That you never have the music too loud while driving? That you never drink a beverage or eat anything while driving? that you never allow passengers in your vehicle that might distract you? That you never operate a motor vehicle while suffering the affects of a cold?

          To single out one small group of people and say they are dangerous is to completely ignore the huge impact th

          • Re: ( Score:2 )

            by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) writes: (NOTE: when I say "people with seizures" I mean people with chronic seizures that are a danger to other people on roads.) I'll occasionally use my cell phone, have a conversation, and listen to music. Of course, none of these things is nearly as dangerous as having a a seizure that completely removes your ability to operate a vehicle in any capacity whatsoever. I'm not saying that it isn't dangerous, I'm saying that having a seizure is one hell of a lot MORE dangerous than using a cell phone. Yes, there are
          • Re: ( Score:2 )

            by russotto ( 537200 ) writes:

            On topic: while having a camera sit and record license plates is no more intrusive on a public road than someone physically standing there doing so, recording my travels is tantamount to stopping all travelers and asking for their papers.

            The first step along the slope was taken when license plates were required. It's just taken a while for technology to grease the slope.

            In principle, I could hire an army of people all over the nation and write down license plates and times on index cards, and then another

      • Sorry Man! ( Score:2 )

        by gbutler69 ( 910166 ) writes: That Sucks! Really. Not kidding. But, most people don't give a shit. They could give a fuck less if you get run over repeatedly by a BMW. Fuck you for being less than perfect.
      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by ThrowAwaySociety ( 1351793 ) writes:

        Having a reliable warning period of several minutes before seizures makes no difference legally. (This is just continued whining now.) But tactically it makes a huge difference. I managed to hide my condition from the medical community in California for several years. I fibbed to doctors and didn't let them know. If I saw an aura from a rising seizure, I made an immediate exit and found a good place to hide (or I ran outside, into the woods, wherever). ...

        I'm sorry you have this condition, and I sympathize with the disruption it causes, but I'm glad I don't have to share the road with you. Sometimes, even if you have half an hour's warning, you just can't safely get off the road. You have no business driving a car, I'm sorry to say.

        Yes, there are jerks on the roads today that are probably more dangerous than you would be. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect and they're still allowed to drive. That does not, however, mean that you should be as well.

      • Re:Try having a seizure ( Score:5 , Insightful)

        by BitZtream ( 692029 ) writes: on Sunday February 28, 2010 @03:57AM ( #31303766 )

        esult. I've spent my entire life living in NJ, NY, PA, and CA, and I've been pedestrianized by every single one of them.

        FUCKING GOOD you inconsiderate bastard.

        If 4 fucking states said you don't need to be driving because its unsafe ... YOU DON'T NEED TO DRIVE BECAUSE YOU ARE UNSAFE.

        I don't give a shit if you think you have a 'reliable' warning period.

        Whine all fucking day long, you don't need to drive, lifes not fair, too fucking bad, good for the states that aren't allowing you to potentially kill someone else when you have a clearly dangerous condition for someone driving to have.

        I have a friend who can no longer drive for the same reason. Legally he can drive, but he's not so stupid as to risk other peoples lives when he knows its unsafe.

        I managed to hide my condition from the medical community in California for several years. I fibbed to doctors and didn't let them know. If I saw an aura from a rising seizure, I made an immediate exit and found a good place to hide (or I ran outside, into the woods, wherever).

        Thank you for giving another prime example of why you shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a drivers seat you inconsiderate son of a bitch.

        Now I'm riding a bike six miles to work to get my water, food, shelter etc

        You have a 6 mile spread between living, working and food supply ... and you can't drive ... let me tell you what they did a hundred years ago or so in your situation ... THEY MOVED CLOSER TO ONE OF THOSE THINGS. Or in your case, they wouldn't have moved 6 miles away from everything they needed, and you knew it when you moved there since you've already been banned in states. You're obviously not a real quick thinker, another reason you don't need to drive.

        Some of us are just fucked.

        You aren't fucked. Michael J Fox is fucked. Christopher Reeve was fucked. Stephen Hawking is fucked. You just can't drive, get some fucking perspective and stop being a cry baby. You can still walk. Come back to me when you can't walk, then maybe I'll feel some sympathy.

        Yes, this is a rant, inconsiderate self centered people piss me off. The world deals you what you get, its not my problem or anyone elses, it sucks that you can't drive, but its hardly a requirement for life. Do you know how many millions of people in the world live like you do by choice? ... go visit Europe, or hell, just move to any of the American city with public transportation, we have a few, not a lot, but enough that I'm sure you could find ONE of them that fits your wants.

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    • Re: ( Score:2 , Informative)

      by dookiesan ( 600840 ) writes: For restricted areas, the bus system in Seattle isn't too bad. If you work downtown or near one of the main roads, the bus is preferable to driving (because parking is a pita). You could choose a house or apartment near a bus stop., but most of us can't be picky about where we work, so if that's not near one then you're SOL anyway.
      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) writes: If you think that hitchhiking is a viable solution to transportation then you're a fucking dipshit for multiple reasons that I shouldn't have to explain here. As for biking, you have to deal with asshole motorists (Actually I don't ride a bike and I fucking hate bicyclists but there ARE a LOT of asshole motorists too) Rollerblading, skateboarding, scooters (unpowered) aren't allowed on most public sidewalks. It certainly won't work in busy areas simply because there are too many people on the sidewalks. Moped
  • Re: ( Score:2 , Informative)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) writes:

    I agree...if you want to drive you need to pay insurance/tax/parking, etc., ie. act like a member of the society you're so happy to leech off. Oh, and pay for the car as well - they catch loads of stolen cars or cars where people don't make payments.

    ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras are widespread in the UK and they definitely get my vote.

    • Re:driving is not a right ( Score:4 , Insightful)

      by russotto ( 537200 ) writes: on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:53PM ( #31300648 ) Journal

      I agree...if you want to drive you need to pay insurance/tax/parking, etc., ie. act like a member of the society you're so happy to leech off.

      Thank you, Thomas Hobbes. Any other arbitrary and capricious hoops you would like people to be required to jump through before engaging in ordinary activities?

      ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras are widespread in the UK and they definitely get my vote.

      Yeah, the UK, now there's an example to follow in the realm of privacy.

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      • Re: ( Score:2 , Insightful)

        by Threni ( 635302 ) writes:

        Insurance isn't an `arbitrary` hoop. It's a way of ensuring that if you hit my car, you get to pay for it. What's the alternative? The courts of the country being clogged up with loads of civil law suits for every last accident?

        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by zippthorne ( 748122 ) writes:

          Yes it is. It's fairly easy to have a pile of money in the bank that is larger than the minimum level of insurance in your state, and if you have that pile of money, why should you be required to bleed it to an insurance company? You should be able to risk your own dough if you want.

          • Re: ( Score:3 , Informative)

            by Qzukk ( 229616 ) writes:

            I think most states allow you to post a bond for the minimum amount in lieu of insurance, the catch being that you don't get interest from your k being held.

  • Re:driving is not a right ( Score:5 , Insightful)

    by weston ( 16146 ) writes: < westonsd AT canncentral DOT org > on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:49PM ( #31300618 ) Homepage

    Driving's not a right, but a certain amount of privacy should be, and unless you want a database of where you drive for sale whether you make your automobile payments or not, you should probably be on the side of people who are interested in oversight.

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    • Re: ( Score:2 )

      by misexistentialist ( 1537887 ) writes: Bullshit, movement by any means is a right. License plate and photo card scanners are what you get when you surrender your right. Maybe you think relinquishment is in your best interest, but just because every driver's manual denies that such a right exists, doesn't mean it's true. In my state illegal aliens don't have to read that manual and are usually given a pass if pulled over.
  • Re: ( Score:2 )

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * writes:

    I'm sorry, driving is not a right in the US.

    John

    Are you sure about that? [educate-yourself.org] [the7thfire.com] [capmag.com] [lawfulpath.com] That's what all of about three milliseconds of Google time found me.

      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * writes:

        In other words, you're fucked up, and you're wrong, but good on you for caring.

        I wasn't making any particular claim either way. I just prefer people to think about what they say, rather than just spout what they've been told. Particularly when it comes to legal issues about which very, very few people are even remotely informed. I know I'm not in this case, which is why I just cut & pasted a few links. Glad you enjoyed them. And hey, thanks for caring.

    • Re:Why? ( Score:5 , Insightful)

      by JeffSh ( 71237 ) writes: < jeffslashdot&m0m0,org > on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:23PM ( #31300454 )

      Pretty dumb question. Like a lot of other things, license plates weren't intended to be this easily accessed for their location and traffic habits. I did a lot of work managing municipal data and one of the concerns is that the ease of access of "public" information is causing a major headache.

      For instance, lots of public records were public records because in order to get them you had to go to the court house, fill out a request, pay some money and receive them. Removing the barrier to access by opening certain public records up to electronic access is causing a notable and legitimate concern for privacy where none existed before.. The clear reason is because before it used to require a concerted effort and will as a barrier to entry. When things are made easier it removes the barrier which previously existed as a bulwark that satiated existing privacy concerns.

      Speed of information should legitimately be a concern in the digital age where our laws and regulations what is publicly available information just don't adapt well to the modern age.

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      • Re:Why? ( Score:4 , Funny)

        by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) writes: on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:32PM ( #31300508 ) Journal

        Then ride a bike, problem solved. I just don't see the BFD.

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        • Re: ( Score:3 , Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward writes:

          Then ride a bike, problem solved. I just don't see the BFD.

          How about this. You shed skin cells while you are in public. You shed skin cells on receipts when you sign for things you paid with by credit card. My private company has a right to collect your DNA, match it up to your name, and do whatever it is I want to do with the data.

          If you don't want your DNA scraped, don't go into public. Problem solved. I just don't see the BFD.

          • Re: ( Score:2 )

            by Arthur Grumbine ( 1086397 ) writes:

            Then ride a bike, problem solved. I just don't see the BFD.

            How about this. You shed skin cells while you are in public. You shed skin cells on receipts when you sign for things you paid with by credit card. My private company has a right to collect your DNA, create a clone of you, and do whatever it is I want to do with that clone.

            If you don't want your DNA scraped, don't go into public. Problem solved. I just don't see the BFD.

            Fixed that to make an even more interesting point.

        • Re:Why? ( Score:5 , Insightful)

          by DAldredge ( 2353 ) writes: < [email protected] > on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:42PM ( #31300580 ) Journal Why don't you post on /. under your real name? Parent Share twitter facebook linkedin
          • Re: ( Score:2 , Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward writes:

            I do - MOTHERFUCKER.

            My fist name is ANONYMOUS

            And my last name is COWARD.

            As in Noel. coward. And my parents were stupid fucking hippies who thought it would be cool to name me Anonymous.

            Luckily, my middle name is Aloysius. So, my friend call me Al, and a lot of other known me as A. Coward.

            Fuckers.

          • Re: ( Score:3 , Insightful)

            by mi ( 197448 ) writes:

            Why don't you post on /. under your real name?

            The Slashdot username is just as anonymizing, as the license plate number. But if someone — say, an ex-spouse — know your nickname (as the bank or police know your license plate number), they can track you down on Slashdot. And subpoena the last-used IP-address...

            License plate numbers are publicly visible and thus, really, ought not to be subject to regulation. It is going to get worse — in a few years the same cameras/computers will be able

          • Re: ( Score:2 , Insightful)

            by RealGrouchy ( 943109 ) writes:

            Is my "real name" the name my parents chose to call me, the name the government chooses to call me, or the name I choose for myself?

            - RG>

            • Re: ( Score:2 )

              by blitziod ( 591194 ) writes: my real name is blitziod...A. Coward is just my slave name
        • Re:Why? ( Score:5 , Insightful)

          by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) writes: on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:46PM ( #31300602 ) Driving is pretty much required in the US. Tracking license plate 'location related activity' is analogous to tracking your cell phone's GPS. Just because you're "out in public" doesn't mean your movements should be logged or recorded. I have nothing to hide, but I'm still not comfortable with someone/government tracking my movements just because they can. Parent Share twitter facebook linkedin
          • Re: ( Score:2 )

            by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) writes:

            Sorry by carrying a cell phone does not place a tag on you butt with you name and address. Location information for a cell phone is not available to a person standing next to you but a car license number is available to anyone looking at the car.

            • Re: ( Score:2 )

              by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) writes:

              Sorry by carrying a cell phone does not place a tag on you butt with you name and address. Location information for a cell phone is not available to a person standing next to you but a car license number is available to anyone looking at the car.

              If you're standing next to me then you don't need the cell phone GPS to know where I am, now do you? By your logic tracking the movement of my car by its license plate only tracks the car and not necessarily the owner of the car. Who knows who parked it there? Maybe it was a guy wearing a monkey mask and not me? Maybe it was me wearing a monkey mask?

          • Re: ( Score:2 )

            by Anonymous Cowpat ( 788193 ) writes:

            What regulations are there regarding putting a tail on someone to follow them everywhere and record their movements, and what restrictions are there on the use of data gathered in that way?

            Whatever they are, they should be considered the minimum amount of regulation required.

          • you can live in the usa without a car ( Score:2 )

            by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) writes:

            just move somewhere mass transportation friendly

            but that's already happening: when the real estate market tanked, it was found that the further a house was from mass transportation, the more value it lost

            and obama is finally the first president in decades to have the balls and the wisdom to invest in high speed rail, god bless him for that

            i think this nations retarded obsession with the automobile and gasoline is finally waning. the hummer finally died last week. hallelujah. there was no greater symbol of t

          • Re: ( Score:2 )

            by couchslug ( 175151 ) writes:

            The seller of a vehicle typically requires full disclosure of drivers license info, etc, as part of the transaction if the vehicle is financed. Using technology to locate the vehicle in question merely assists finding it and isn't an intrusion into the life of the driver.

            If you don't want auto dealers to have your info, buy cheaper vehicles for cash from a private party. There are lots of other good reasons to do this, like avoiding debt.

            • Re: ( Score:2 )

              by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) writes:

              Your GPS position is just a number.

              GPS is just a number to you or me, but it's a real location someone or some company with a the ability to use those numbers (if my cell phone can show me where I am on a map someone's servers can too). What's to prevent a wireless carrier from selling that location data just like a company tracking license plates can? Government and law enforcement don't need a warrant [newsweek.com] to get the info on where you've been. Some wireless carriers even have internet portals [arstechnica.com] to make it as easy as possible. Sure GPS is just a

      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) writes:

        "Public record" as it applies to a municipality is is different from tag scanning. Am I wrong or can anyone, no matter what the reason, request and be given access to information on the public record? The need for a request is that the information must be gathered by a municipal employee and the reason for fees is to cover the cost of gathering the information. There are many cases in which public record information is put up on web sites and is available at no charge to anyone with an internet connection.

        A

      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by timmarhy ( 659436 ) writes: i think the real concern government has about the digital age is the population working out just how much information about them is out there, and getting angry about it where before finding out requried going down to a court house....
      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by mrmeval ( 662166 ) writes:

        Public records must be public. if you don't want a government record to be public don't allow them to make it. Get rid of the licensing scheme and license drivers.

        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by zippthorne ( 748122 ) writes:

          We do license drivers. We register vehicles. A licensed driver is supposed to be operating a registered vehicle when on public roads, and that registration requires a certain level of maintenance to hopefully ensure that all those licensed drivers aren't putting us all at undue risk.

          It's just some kind of weird historical quirk that the registration tag ( you know, the tag which conspicuously displays the vehicle's registration number..) is so ubiquitously referred to as a "license plate" in common parlan

      • Re:Why? - military grade computation... 20 yrs ago ( Score:2 )

        by j-stroy ( 640921 ) writes: I recollect that computation, imaging hardware and certain algorithms were considered "munitions". They were banned from export due to their possible use in weapons and as intelligence devices. This kind of thing is no different. I now see it as a deep incorporation into our civilian domains of military grade technologies. Information age demands an information equivalent of "posse comitatus" [wikipedia.org] and organizations/corporations such as this could be viewed as illegal private militias. Culturally, we are dan
      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) writes: Yeah, I bought some land in 1998 and had to make repeated trips to the courthouse to research recent sales, ownership histories, etc. It took days and weeks, hundreds of road miles, time off from work, etc. Now we can get the same information from virtually any county in the United States 24/7/365, for free, from our bedroom. Great for us if we ever do another land deal, but you're talking about dropping the "cost" of that information by many orders of magnitude, it has to have messed up the playing fiel
      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by cetialphav ( 246516 ) writes:

        Pretty dumb question.

        It doesn't sound like a dumb question to me. From a legal perspective (in the US), we don't really have a "right to privacy". There are some rights (e.g. prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure) that come close, but they really aren't the same. The law specifically grants a privacy right for some things (e.g. medical information), but it is limited in scope. It could become feasible that for a fee you could collect a complete history of someones driving, phone calls, grocery list, movie rentals.

      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by KahabutDieDrake ( 1515139 ) writes: Having worked in government records... I have the opposite opinion. Public records are just becoming truly public for the first time in history. I don't have a problem with this. It's a public record, what exactly do you think you are hiding? So anyone can find out where you live, how old you are, where you went to school, which hospital you prefer, and what you drive. Big deal. All this information was trivial for anyone to look at before. The only difference is you THOUGHT it was hard. That's not
        • Re: ( Score:3 , Insightful)

          by dr2chase ( 653338 ) writes: Theory and practice. The theory of what is "public" has not changed much, but technology changes the practice in huge ways. And what most people care about, is practice, not theory. There's two "howevers" for this story, however. First, automobiles are large, powerful, pieces of equipment, and carelessly driven, they hurt hundreds of people every day (and kill about a hundred). Not all of those people are their drivers, and not all the drivers, hang around to accept responsibility when they are involv
        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * writes:

          So charge people money for access, and keep a database of who accessed what like the damn credit reporting agencies. Problem solved.

          Are you kidding me? The credit system in the U.S. (and its lack of basic security mechanisms, severe privacy issues and overall unaccountability) is a huge, ongoing problem with no resolution in sight. Geez, did you pick a bad example.

    • Re:Why? ( Score:5 , Interesting)

      What DOES require oversight is the same system, but writing it to a database including current location. Then selling said database to whomever. Your health insurance provider starts scanning it to see how many times you've been seen at Mickey-Ds in the last year. Once a week? Sorry sir, you'll have to pay a higher premium for that.

      Or how about the new business called Cyber Stalkers! For only a search we'll tell you the daily traffic patterns of anyone you desire. For only 00, you can get on the "privacy list" so people with can't see where you've been. (If you'd like to see the where people with the privacy option have been call us for pricing details).

      Too outlandish? Never happen because too many would object? Why not a more acceptable service where only "bad" people get reported on. Enter "Strip club search!" For only a search we'll tell you if you're loved one has been at all the local strip clubs (name, dates, locations, and duration). It's OK because it only targets those dirty strip club guys.

      There's countless ways an automated system like this can destroy peoples privacy in ways that don't exist right now.

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      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) writes: Wow - it's like you're already following me around and documenting my life. How do you know all this about me anyway? Hmmm?
      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by sjames ( 1099 ) writes:

        Need to take "extraordinary child custody measures"? We can help!

      • Re:Worse still ( Score:2 )

        by Phrogman ( 80473 ) writes:

        Its tracking my license plate information. Who is to say I didn't lend my car to a friend? I have no way to prove it wasn't me, so I get tarred with whatever my friend did while s/he had the car.

    • Re: ( Score:2 )

      by sjames ( 1099 ) writes:

      So it doesn't get used by stalkers, jealous ex-whatevers, etc. So it isn't used carelessly by banks such that cars get wrongfully repoed, etc.

    • Re: ( Score:3 , Insightful)

      by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) writes: I was thinking about near-future tech applications a few years back (maybe 2004), and I came up with the idea of mounting belly-cams in commercial jetliners. These could be trained on interstate highways and read license plates in favorable weather. Miami-LAX flights could monitor I-10, Miami-NY could watch I-95, etc. Not much investment or operating expense in exchange for a tremendous amount of near real-time information about who is traveling the long-distance highways. It isn't "if", it's "when" t
    • Re: ( Score:2 )

      by cgenman ( 325138 ) writes:

      Why does somebody driving down the (public) road taking a picture of your (public) license plate on your car parked in (public) plain view and comparing it to a list need oversight?

      Well, let's say that you're driving from work to some suppliers, then see some customers, then drive out to dinner with someone else. Theoretically, a competitor could put a tail on you and find out where you buy all of your supplies from, who your client list is, and where you like to eat dinner. In practice, though, it's proh

    • Re: ( Score:2 )

      by AmberBlackCat ( 829689 ) writes:

      Why does somebody driving down the (public) road taking a picture of your (public) license plate on your car parked in (public) plain view and comparing it to a list need oversight?

      Because law will not allow me to cover or remove the license plate. It would be like saying it's perfectly fine for a person to take a picture of you through the window in your home, and having a law requiring you to have an open window in every room.

    • Re: ( Score:2 )

      by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) writes: I'm guessing the 0 also includes the encrypted DB of 'cars destined to be re-homed'.
    • Re:simple ? ( Score:4 , Insightful)

      by The End Of Days ( 1243248 ) writes: on Saturday February 27, 2010 @07:49PM ( #31300616 )

      Yes, it is perfectly normal to pay more for a service than it costs to do it yourself. The money saved is invested as time and effort, which is what you compensate the service provider for providing. This is basic to the US society, and quite a few others as well. It confuses me that you are obviously educated enough to compose English sentences yet somehow missed a fact that even 10 year olds understand.

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      • Re: ( Score:2 )

        by SharpFang ( 651121 ) writes:

        Especially if you consider the cost of your time. I can wash my socks myself, which will cost me in water, electricity and washing powder, or I can use the time to work at my project which will bring be over that time, and spend from that on paying someone to wash my socks.

    • Re: ( Score:2 )

      by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) writes:

      The automobile is cultural heroin, and countries, as they "modernize", are lining up at the pusher's corner.

      I hope they're allowed to part at his corner or they'll end up with another ticket and we'll be right back to where we started again.

        • Re: ( Score:2 )

          by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * writes:

          "Mexican" isn't a race. It's a nationality. One can't exhibit "racism" towards something that isn't even a race.

          Oh for ... just lighten up a little. Sheesh.

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