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Only in California: Electronic License Plates May Turn Your Car Into a Billboard

hiding license plate Here’s proof that  Governments’ creativity in finding new revenue sources is unlimited, reports The Merc:

The California Legislature is considering a bill that would allow the state to begin researching the use of electronic license plates for vehicles. The move is intended as a moneymaker for a state facing a $19 billion deficit.

The device would mimic a standard license plate when the vehicle is in motion but would switch to digital ads or other messages when it is stopped for more than four seconds, whether in traffic or at a red light. The license plate number would remain visible at all times in some section of the screen.

Note: the bill is not passed yet, and it’s only about a feasibility study. And guess who would fund the research: the company that would make such licence plates, San Francisco-based Smart Plate.

Forgetting all technical details, visibility and driver distraction issues, a few questions that naturally come to mind: just whose car is it?  ( yeah, I thought so…) Who gets to decide what ads to display or not, and more importantly, who receives the revenue?

accenture Of course once the license plate is electronic, new opportunities about – just look at this research by Accenture, the global Consulting firm:

  • RFID
  • Toll Plazas
  • Parking
  • Fleet management
  • Police monitoring..etc.

The last point raises the possibility of another arms race, just like what we’ve seen with radar detectors, between those wishing to hack the system to fake/shield  their license information and law enforcement…

And here’s the business that would certainly benefit: body shops.  Bumper repair prices would sky-rocket, and so would the number of low-speed, bumper-to-bumper accidents.  You know, when the driver behind you has the urge to click the ad you’re displaying. :-)

Oh, well … while you wait for the 2-year research to conclude, you may wish to implement your own solution. (hint: iPad + velcro)

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Your Old Copy Machine a Security Risk?

If this is true (and it appears so, I’m just using conditional since it’s so insane .. beyond insane) discarded old photocopiers may represent a huge security / privacy risk.

Nearly every digital copier built since 2002 contains a hard drive – like the one on your personal computer – storing an image of every document copied, scanned, or emailed by the machine.

Used, discarded copiers then get sold without the previous owners having a clue about all the data they just let go of. In a way it’s worse then disposing an old computer with a “live” hard disk – at least in the case of the computer, you know what information may still reside in it…

A random pick of 3 units from a warehouse showed data from sex crime and drug related police investigations, building designs, payment records with names and social security numbers, and detailed medical records from drug prescriptions, to blood test results, to a cancer diagnosis – with names of the patients.

A huge, huge timebomb.

Read the full story on CBS News


Watch CBS News Videos Online

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Police Loses Shoot-out with Killer Bees

This would be funny, if it wasn’t said. Yet I can see all the late night shows making fun of Mexican police trying to shoot on a moving target: killer bees.

Africanized Bees Attack Mexican Police

MEXICO CITY (AP) — At least 70 police officers were hospitalized after so-called Africanized bees swarmed a police shooting range in southern Mexico, authorities said Tuesday.

Talk about precision targetingsmile_wink.    But wait, there’s more:

The attacked occurred Monday in Tapachula, Chiapas, after one of the policemen hit the bees’ hive with a bullet.

Oh, so Police started shooting first.  AP has the wrong title, it should read:  Police Attack Killer Bees – They Launch Counter-attack.

Update (4/9):  Simple math from the Beemaster Forum:

70 cops with 36 bullets each (appox) = 2520 shots
1 hive = 50,000 bees (minimum on a healthy well established hive.

Sounds like the bees win.