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California Wants To Put E-Ads On License Plates 624

techmuse writes "The San Jose Mercury News reports that the California state legislature wants to put electronic advertising on license plates. The plate would display standard plate information when the car is moving, but would also display ads when the car is stopped for more than 4 seconds (say, at a red light). Not distracting or annoying at all! 'The bill has received no formal opposition. It passed unanimously through the Senate last month and is scheduled to be heard Monday by the Assembly Transportation Committee.'"
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California Wants To Put E-Ads On License Plates

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  • by Bronster ( 13157 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:42AM (#32637128) Homepage

    Oh goody - programmable number plates. What could possibly go wrong. I can just imagine how happy the jackers are going to be - no need to switch plates, just upload a custom firmware and you're gold.

  • by Bronster ( 13157 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:43AM (#32637132) Homepage

    On the flip side, I'd love a "back off" button I could get to make the plate flash a message at the wanker behind me, or even a "turn your lights on".

  • The cycle (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrsteveman1 ( 1010381 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:44AM (#32637138)

    Spend too much money -> need money -> get more money with stupid schemes -> spend too much money -> ....


  • by Monty845 ( 739787 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:45AM (#32637144)

    The idea is cool, but I would be really pissed if someone could put ads on my car without my consent. But how else will they rake in the money for the state? (Maybe make it optional and split the ad revenue with the driver?)

  • by nametaken ( 610866 ) * on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:51AM (#32637176)

    It says they're looking to be able to put logos and such on the plates too, to "support your favorite team". So I can just imagine what the first hacker is going to draw on a plate.

    So they're running a $19 billion deficit and these are the ideas they're coming up with to fix the problem? How about, STOP SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY?

    The best ones were at the bottom... other upcoming CA legislation. Making it illegal to use a mobile device while on a bicycle? Really? They have nothing better to worry about? Making all lead ammunition illegal for hunting... excepting that it's already illegal to use in most cases? Time well spent, you goofs. Oh, but they remembered to throw in some legislation to make it easier for people to transfer their foodstamp program benefits. Glad to see they have their priorities straight. :P

  • by an00bis ( 667089 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:51AM (#32637178)
    The idea is definitely not cool. But technically the plate belongs to the state so I guess they could do whatever they wanted with it. It's going to eventually come down to someone taking offense to what could potentially be placed on their car. I really don't see this ever happening.
  • by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:51AM (#32637184)
    Wait till they GPS the shit. Oh your in zip code #####, advertise this.
    Privacy people will go nuts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:51AM (#32637186)
    This is in California where they use lost of speed cameras
  • Re:Lower fees? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darth dickinson ( 169021 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:01AM (#32637244) Homepage

    When has the government *ever* lowered fees?

  • by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:04AM (#32637250)

    I can see a huge underground industry built up around this because there's no way in hell what ever "encryption" they use will last.

    And then, once the encryption is broken, they can justify passing an even more draconian version of the DMCA that makes breaking encryption a felony with mandatory prison time. Hooray for the future!

  • issues (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnAdventurer ( 1548515 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:11AM (#32637274)
    If they can send (?) ad and other information (FTFA) to your plate, they can receive it as well. I am guessing; where you are, for how long, or for how fast you are going. Possibly privacy takes another icicle in the eye.
  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:24AM (#32637350)


    8 words : Ballot measures making a lot of spending mandatory.

    6 more words : Super-majority required for tax increases.

    People vote for ballot measures for spending, but then vote against the tax increases to pay for it.

  • by madfilipino ( 557839 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:29AM (#32637382)
    I can't believe no one has asked this yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:32AM (#32637396)

    Please don't leave. We don't need you, you don't know how to behave and you're not welcome. You can't help but bring your bat shit crazy leftist nonsense with you so you end up ruining the refugee states you move into. Arizona, Colorado, Texas and the rest would rather you just stay where you belong. Thanks!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:35AM (#32637414)

    I don't want my shit displaying advertisements of any kind. I purposely buy clothes without logos, shoes without logos, sand the logos off my electronics, etc. Now they want to shove ads into my motherfucking license plate. Fuck you, and fuck the people who passed this bill.

    And anyway, IF they were to be showing ads on MY license plate, I expect ad agencies to pay me for that.

  • Fuck No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:41AM (#32637432) Homepage Journal

    I will bill every applicable agency $10,000 for every watt-hour of power the thing consumes.

    Let's see you try to encroach upon my shit, assholes.

  • by Splab ( 574204 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @02:25AM (#32637606)

    Roads are built to code, they are designed to handle cars at the speed politicians have set with a margin for idiots.

    Please make sure you only kill yourself when you have an accident...

  • Green technology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoverOfJoy ( 820058 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @02:50AM (#32637740) Homepage
    California is totally into green technology lately. I've got a great idea for them. Normal non-powered license plates. Once created they use no energy and produce no emissions.
  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @02:51AM (#32637744) Homepage Journal

    This. 85th percentile rules.

    Want a realistic speed limit, with zero meaningless bullshit involved? Build your road. Open it to the public. Monitor the speed of traffic for a month or more. There WILL be some idiots who drive to fast - just let them, they are part of the formula. There will also be some other morons who drive so slow, you wonder if they are alive or not. No problem - they are also part of the formula.

    After you've monitored speeds for a reasonable period of time (remember, I said a month or more - six months seems to long, probably 60 to 90 days is right) you find that 85th percentile, and post that as the speed limit. Go ahead, and round it to the nearest 5 mph, or, if you insist (out of some unfounded fear) round to the next LOWER 5 mph. Post that speed limit now.

    You will find that *almost* nobody speeds. You have found the magical number, which reasonable people can all agree on. Some still drive to slow - and you really ought to check them out. Elderly people, people with poor vision, people with poor reflexes, people with near zero experience. Go ahead, and check them out.

    Those who normally speed through bullshit speed zones are *mostly* going to recognize that the speed limit here is reasonable, and they will tend to observe it, or stay within that 5 mph over range, for which almost no cop ever pulls a guy over.

    The oddball who INSISTS that he is going to drive 10 to 30 mile over the speed limit is an utter moron, and he needs to be taken to court, fined, driver's license suspended, and possibly given some jail time. He has no business on the road.

    This formula scares some people. "Oh dear, doing things this way might mean speed limits over 80 MPH!"

    Tough noogies. If 80, 90, or 100 MPH scares you, then you have no business driving on a major highway. Take the back roads, and look at the pretty farms along the way. Or, just stay in town, and fly if you must travel to another city.

  • Whatever... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @02:57AM (#32637780)

    This idea is too stupid to be taken seriously but so is Hitler.

    I love in TFA how they state their goal is not to turn everyones license plates into a roving billboard. This was of course after mentioning the whole point of the exercise is to find additional revenue streams to counter the states budget deficit.

    Doubletalk is the hallmark of human stupidity. Heres an idea how you can save money and balance your budget California... Get rid of the stupid asshats your paying to come up with shit like this.

  • Re:The cycle (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @03:21AM (#32637886)

    Prop 13 is not the problem. They'd just be wasting even more money while retirees are taxed out of their homes.

  • by u17 ( 1730558 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @03:37AM (#32637974)
    My car does not do 100 MPH, you insensitive clod! And at 90 the engine is revved up like crazy while the car ceases to drive stably.
  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @04:06AM (#32638104) Homepage Journal

    The point of posting the speed limit, you ask?

    There will ALWAYS be some few damn fools who think that they are Mario Andretti. Places where everyone else is quite happy to drive 50 mph, he will insist on doing 80 or more. Places where everyone else is doing ~100 mph, he will insist on going 150 or more.

    Remember, we don't have an Autobahn here in the states. There are few places that really are designed to run more than 100mph. There is SOME POINT at which an increase in speed is reckless endangerment, on any and all roadways in the states.

    Those reckless drivers who insist on endangering every single soul that they get close to should be dealt with, and harshly.

    The speed limit isn't to limit the reasonable person who is driving within safe limits - it is only there to enable the cops to identify and cite the less common idiots.

    If the US should ever build the equivalent of the Autobahn, and decide not to post any speed limit at all, I will be among the first to drive it. :^)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @04:10AM (#32638132)

    People drive at what *they* perceive a safe speed to be, not what is a safe speed.

    People also drive at a distance behind other cars at which they perceive to be safe.

    How many people stay the requisite 3 seconds behind other cars? (or even longer on wet/icey roads)

    How many people are aware of why that 3 second rule exists and understand it enough to obey it?

    The point here is that people will drive in a manner that is neither safe for themselves or others on the road because they can and because they think it is ok without understanding why it isn't.

  • Re:The cycle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Third Position ( 1725934 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @04:25AM (#32638192)

    California is becoming a place for the rich and the poor. The rich can afford it, and the state pays* for everything if you're poor. If you're middle class they bend you over and pound you in the ass. With sand.

    * with borrowed money

    Well, isn't that liberalism in a nut-shell? The rich and the poor teaming up to stick it to the middle class? I'd expect no less from any reliably Democratic voting state.

  • by halowolf ( 692775 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @04:48AM (#32638294)
    Yes, and what do the powered license plates display when they break? And what will they display when hacked?
  • Does it ever end? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BinBoy ( 164798 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @04:59AM (#32638338) Homepage

    At what point is the beast satisfied? Couldn't we agree on some reasonable percentage of the total personal/corporate income and then force the government to spend within that limit?

  • by SolitaryMan ( 538416 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @06:12AM (#32638686) Homepage Journal

    Yes, and what do the powered license plates display when they break? And what will they display when hacked?

    The second one is easy: porn

  • by swamp_ig ( 466489 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @06:28AM (#32638728)

    The problem with this approach is most people's *perception* of a reasonable speed limit is incorrect.

    For an individual major accidents are a highly unusual occourance, hence the feeling of 'too fast' is strongly associated with whatever you're used to. Remember back to when you were first driving, and how everything seemed too fast? You soon got used to it.

    Unfortunatly e=mv^2 is not your friend. At high speeds that huge amount of energy turns a fender bender into a 6 month stay in hospital and two years of rehab for the survivors.

  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @06:33AM (#32638758) Homepage Journal

    The state and federal taxes are not related. It does not matter how much the people of California pay to the federal government, only how much they pay to their own state. Now if your saying that the forty billion dollar difference is not making up for unfunded mandates at the federal level, well boo hoo, that still does not help California's problem.

    California's problem is based in part on too many entitlements, too much pay and benefits to the government workers, and far too many people off the tax rolls. The amounts going to pay government employee pay, pensions, and benefits, is staggering and only getting worse as politicians pay that group to keep themselves in power.

    No, having that forty billion extra won't save California, they need to have reasonable expenditures before any amount of income matters. The sad part is, many states in the Northeast US are in worse shape but you never hear of it

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @07:37AM (#32639028)
    That's too be expected. In general the blue states pay for running the federal government, but it's typically the red states that whine and demand tax breaks. California, New York and almost certainly Florida would be paying more than they're getting. Here in WA we've got the same problem on the state level. The vast majority of the taxes come from the west of the cascades, but east of the cascades is where most of the support for hobbling government and the ability to pay for things the voters demanded is supported.
  • by andi75 ( 84413 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @07:46AM (#32639076) Homepage

    My car has a built-in range check and its computer tells me how far behind I am behind the car in front of me.

    I feel most comfortable at a time distance of +3 seconds and let the car drive in cruise control then, which I turn off at 2.0-2.5 seconds. I have currently set the range check to start blinking warningly at 1.5 seconds or less. At that point you really need to be paying very close attention to what's going on on the road (yes, that means watching quite a few cars ahead). When it's at less then 1.2 seconds I usually put my foot on the brake to be able to quickly react to anything (and it's high time to lose some speed anyway).

    If someone cuts into the lane right in front of me it sometimes goes down to 0.8 seconds. Needless to say that I make damn sure it doesn't stay that way for long.

  • by Myopic ( 18616 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @08:17AM (#32639232)

    The California state legislature throws stupid stuff like this around all the time. It never goes anywhere. They don't do it because they want to pass the law. They do it because there is some wealthy business behind it.

    That is a motherfucking stupid reason to vote for or pass a bill. It borders on treason.

    My apologies for the profanity.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @08:27AM (#32639296) Homepage Journal

    make all legislators, state and local, wear those garish advertisement suits (like the Nascar idiots).

    That's not advertising, it's sponsorship. Entirely different thing, just like campaign contributions and bribery.

    So, those "garish advertisement suits" should clearly show every company who's money the politico thinks is more important than his constituents opinions.

    Sounds like a great idea. People will know who to blame when things go sideways.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vtcodger ( 957785 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @08:32AM (#32639332)

    A truly brilliant idea.

    Policeman to bystander. "So, the bank robbers were driving a black sedan and you aren't sure of the make or year because all cars look alike nowadays? I don't suppose you got the license number?"

    Bystander. "Sure. It was 'WALMART ROLLS BACK PRICES'".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @08:37AM (#32639372)

    And I hope someone runs over your kids while speeding in a built up area just so you know what it feels like.

    Would it feel like I'd failed to teach my kids not to play in the road or failed to teach them how to safely cross one? Would it feel like I'd failed to explain the danger of large, heavy objects moving at speed? You're right, far better to limit everyone in their actions all the time so that I don't have to fulfil my duties as a responsible parent.

  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @08:56AM (#32639568)

    The point of posting speed limits it is to keep most traffic driving at roughly the same speed. I absolutely agree with your suggestion to remove speed recommendations altogether (having lived in Germany myself, and clearly understanding where you are coming from), but that will NEVER happen in America. We are uptight, conservative and lack proper driver's education.

    Also, the Autobahn is engineered with minimum inclines and declines and beautifully engineered equal-radius corners. US highways are engineered to cut around the path of least resistance and for the least amount of money. This leads to wild changes in elevation and dangerous increasing-radius corners, to go along with our giant, crappy cars with their non-handling cloud suspensions and our uneducated drivers.

  • The state and federal taxes are not related. It does not matter how much the people of California pay to the federal government, only how much they pay to their own state.

    The money is collected from taxes and sent out of the state, that sounds like a problem to me. We're not printing the fucking money and sending it to them. The money comes ultimately from businesses and individuals throughout California, and we're funding other people's mandates! Why should any state that can't stand on its own continue to exist? If the state isn't worth having around on its own merits, merge it with some state that is, and take a star off the damned flag.

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @09:58AM (#32640250) Journal
    Wow. He covers up the "live free" slogan, and they jailed him for that. Sounds like "the beatings will continue until morale improves" ;).

    Later on he moves to Connecticut and covers up "The Constitution State" and gets a citation for that... Talk about irony.

    Anyway, the e-ads are a ridiculous idea from so many points, are they really serious about it?

    Just because the vehicle is stationary doesn't mean you wouldn't need to know the license plate number. Most people drive around with non-faked license plates because they think they'll never commit a serious enough crime. But the difference between a law abiding citizen and a criminal is often just a lapse in judgement, a bad mistake or two.
  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:12AM (#32640412) Homepage

    An acquaintance who worked for one those agencies for forty years assures me that the primary consideration in setting speed limits is revenue. The bureaucrats ask the engineers what the optimum safe speed is and then set the limit as far below that as they think the voters will tolerate. He says that unrealistically-low limits increase accident rates by increasing the speed dispersion.

  • by intheshelter ( 906917 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:22AM (#32640516)
    I'm stunned I haven't heard this from anyone else, but you know these will have to be wirelessly connected somehow so it can update with the latest advertising. And with that wireless connection is a nice easy way for the state to Lojack your car and know exactly where you are every minute of the day. How convenient.
  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:45AM (#32640956) Homepage Journal
    From the link:

    He believed that the motto violated his religious beliefs because it implied that one had to give up his life for the state.

    Reading comprehension FAIL.

  • Re:The cycle (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:50AM (#32641054) Homepage Journal

    We have no business taking out foreign leaders because we disagree with their methods. Bay of Pigs, anyone?

    It's preferable to carpet-bombing of countries. I do see that this is a false dichotomy. We created this problem in the first place.

  • There are always other roads. The Interstate is never the only path.

  • by Golddess ( 1361003 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:18PM (#32642442)
    Right, because highway driving and residential driving are completely the same thing.

    GP may not have explicitly stated they were talking about highways, but I cannot believe anyone out there thinks speed limits should be removed everywhere, including residential neighborhoods.
  • My thought (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Capt.DrumkenBum ( 1173011 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:04PM (#32643070)
    If you want to put an advertisement on my car you can god damn well pay me for the privilege!
  • by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:30PM (#32643350)
    Corporations are our enemy, therefore it is treason.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling