Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Something to watch in traffic jams. Or something that watches you...


California lawmakers consider license plates that flash ads

Motorists who already feel bombarded by digital billboards, freeway advertisements and vinyl-wrapped buses say a new proposal to put ads on license plates is a bad sign.

State lawmakers' flirtation with digital license plates moved another step forward Monday as the Assembly Transportation Committee voted 9-0 in favor of a feasibility study to determine if advertising revenue from millions of digital license placards would help close the state's $19.1-billion deficit.

Besides bringing in revenue, electronic plates could streamline car registration procedures and quickly notify motorists of hazardous road conditions and AMBER alerts, some officials suggested.

Shit, might as well put a GPS and a mic in 'em. If you drive someplace "they" don't want you to, it'll tell you, maybe CHP'll be waiting for you when you get home. And you pay (through the nose) for the privilege. Yeesh.

Critics warn that the ads would distract drivers and add to a growing clutter of intrusive signage. Others fear that it would give the government one more way to track the public's every move and could lead to taxes on miles driven, or instant notifications to authorities when registration expires or insurance lapses. Some also say that the computerized ads could be hacked by vandals intent on posting rogue messages.

But tech blogs have lit up in recent days with dire warnings from commentators ridiculing the idea.

The plates "will have to be wireless, which will entail a statewide wireless network" that is open to hacking, wrote one commentator on the Daily Tech website blog. "Imagine all the license plates at once displaying porn or something." The next commenter joked: "Suddenly I support the idea."

I get a disturbing visual of entire neighborhoods full of guys out in their driveways watching their license plates with their pants around their ankles. A double bleach, please.

There's more. Oh God, is there. Another awful idea from government.

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