License plate scanners have become all the rage in the slave tracking market. But what if you eliminated the need for scanners by making the license plates themselves broadcast their current location? That’s a feature now being rolled out in California:
California’s dramatic new license plate is hitting the streets — a digital display board that allows changeable messages controlled by the driver or remotely by fleet managers.
The new plates use the same computer technology as Kindle eBook readers, along with a wireless communication system.
If the car is stolen, the plate’s manufacturer says the plate can tell the owner and police exactly where the car is or at least where the license plate is if it has been detached.
Of course if the license plate can tell law enforcers where it is if the car to which it’s attached is reported stolen, it can tell law enforcers where it is when the car isn’t reported stolen as well. In addition to broadcasting their location, these license plates can likely provide other valuable information. For example, they can probably determine how fast you’re driving (a simple calculation if you have real time location information). If that information is tied with the location information, law enforcers can determine remotely whether or not you’re speeding and potentially issue you a ticket. Likewise, if you park somewhere, the license plate could provide law enforcers information about how long the vehicle has been stopped. If, for example, the vehicle is parked in a two hour spot, a parking ticket can be issued if the car has been stopped for two hours and one second.
Fortunately, this is currently a pilot program. During this pilot I doubt the license plates will be used for anything nefarious. But if this pilot program is successful, it will give the government of California an excuse to make these license plates mandatory. After that they will likely be used to expropriate additional wealth from drivers by being used as automated traffic and parking citation dispensers.