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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 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:45AM (#32637140)

    Speed and red light cameras become useless too, 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.

    Car in motion > 30 mph = some random number.
    Car stopped and < 30 mph = your 'real' number.

    Then ads for being stopped.

  • No way. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TavisJohn ( 961472 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:50AM (#32637168) Homepage

    No way would I plug that stupidity into my cars power supply.

    Want to advertise on MY property, then pay ME not the state.

    I wonder how long after this goes into effect that some guy files a lawsuit for embarrassing him by displaying a tampon advert on his truck's plate.

    Or some religious crazy files a lawsuit because the plate displayed a condom advert...

  • pulled over? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:57AM (#32637218)

    "I'm sorry officer. Guess you should've written my number down BEFORE you pulled me over!"

  • by blai ( 1380673 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:12AM (#32637282)
    What if, somehow, the licence plate will pay for your car insurance?
  • Re:The cycle (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:25AM (#32637352)
    Well I hate to be the one to say this but California is prevented from collecting sufficient tax receipts to administer any state government on a day by day basis because of the structural budgetary problems imposed by Proposition 13. If forcing people to watch cartoons while tailgating doesn't work then maybe California should start shutting off traffic lights during off-peak hours to save electricity.
  • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:40AM (#32637428) Homepage

    I'll slow down as soon as the speed limits are set by engineers and not politicians and people with a monetary stake in the revenue from tickets resulting from said limits.

  • by eugene ts wong ( 231154 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:44AM (#32637446) Homepage Journal

    I agree. I would also appreciate being able to say, "Sorry.", or "Thanks.". I realize that I can wave, but it isn't as effective, in my opinion. I feel that if we could communicate with each other, then we'd be safer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:55AM (#32637488)

    Why bother with the encryption.

    Just knock out whatever accelerometer they're using for "stop control" and let the speed trap fight it out with McDonald's or whoever is advertising this month. Tell the cops, I didn't notice, I guess it's that huge speedbump at the DMV.

    Hardware mods are more fun anyway...

  • by Nkwe ( 604125 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:56AM (#32637496)

    The article said it was to prevent animals from swallowing spent casings and introducing lead into the food chain. I couldn't speak to the likelihood or real impact of that actually happening.

    It is not the shell casings, it is the bullet or the shot inside shotgun shells. Birds that bottom feed eat the used shot on the bottom of lakes and waterways causing the lead to get into the (animal) food chain. It is not just waterfowl, scavengers such as the condor are also effected. Lead Shot []

  • by unkiereamus ( 1061340 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @02:05AM (#32637538)


    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.

    So, 2005 was the last year I could conveniently find (read 10 seconds of googling) numbers for, but according to, in 2005, CA sent ~$286,627,000,000 to the Federal Government, on the other hand they received ~$242,023,000,000 dollars worth of federal funding.

    I'd just like to note that this represents a 44.6 billion dollar disparity.

    Of course, the withdrawal of that money from the federal budget would mean the effective collapse of numerous other states (I started to add up the numbers, but frankly, I'm too lazy.)

  • Likely Scenario (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @02:14AM (#32637576)

    Someone suddenly and rudely steers into your lane,
    causing you to hit your brakes. Thirty seconds later,
    you both stop for a red light. The ad on his plate reads
    "Verizon covers more of the US...". Next time I shop
    for a phone, I'll be inclined to pick AT&T or Sprint.

  • story about that... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Max Threshold ( 540114 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @02:18AM (#32637584)
    I grew up in Indiana and lived all over the US. I've always ignored those yellow advisory speed limit signs on curves and stuff. But I discovered that in Tennessee, more than anywhere else, you ignore those at your own peril. Even in a BMW!
  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @03:12AM (#32637846) Homepage Journal

    You, sir, seem to have bought into the idea that the politicians who vote and set the speed limits have a clue. GP knows what he is talking about. Google the terms "speed limit" and "85th percentile".

    You, and all drivers and voters, should be aware that politicians have no desire to post "safe" speed limits, because the vast majority of people will observe those speed limits. Their motivation is to generate revenue, by posting speed limits BELOW what safety dictates. If you know of a road near you where more than half the people consistently speed by more than 10 MPH over the speed limit, then you know of a cash cow.

    There is SOME truth in your statement. In residential and business areas, streets that are poorly designed are indeed dangerous. For instance, there is absolutely NO REASON to put a 6 lane highway through a school zone - or, conversely, to build a school on a 6 lane highway. Depending on which was built first, whoever designed and built the latter structure was a complete MORON!!

    However, the 85th percentile applies even in built up areas, PROVIDED THAT the streets and roads were designed and built by engineers and contractors who have a clue about traffic flow.

    When you get into old city areas that predate motor vehicles, and when you get into cities and towns with no zoning or planning committees, then all bets are off.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @04:10AM (#32638128) Homepage

    That would be cool. Apart from that it's all fail.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @05:24AM (#32638442)

    Speed and red light cameras become useless too

    Correct. These plates have built in wireless networking that you can't turn off. You would be tracked all the time.

    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.

    The encryption would be cracked, but the tag data would still need to flow to the servers or your car would stick out like a sore thumb to any cops or automated monitoring stations. Fooling the system would be an uphill battle. I'm sure some criminal networks could manage it for awhile, but why would they? There would be so much control that it would be too much risk.

    Right now any organized gang could get machines to stamp their own license plates. Heck, they could hire people in prison to work on the side. This might work in a movie, but in real life this stuff doesn't make sense.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thrawn_aj ( 1073100 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @05:27AM (#32638454)

    Indeed. I live in CA and my answer to the numbnut legislators who came up with this is simple - use Sacramento as a fucking billboard instead of whoring out the entire population of the state because you can't do your job worth a damn and balance your fucking budget. I propose an alternative. Turn the state capitol and its environs into a billboard farm (the walls should sell for a high price dontcha think?) and make all legislators, state and local, wear those garish advertisement suits (like the Nascar idiots). That oughta bring in the cash. I swear, at this point, it seems like those douchebags have just given up entirely. Twits. Another year of this nonsense and I swear I'm gonna go Republican :'( NTTAWWT

    Someone clue me in on this - exactly what happens if a state goes bankrupt? What if a state legislature just throws up its hands and says, "I got nuthin". Can they just, ah ... foreclose on a state? I mean, what are we looking at here, worst case? Should I start stocking up on canned goods and shit? Emigrate to Oregon? What?

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @08:44AM (#32639442) Homepage

    >'s designed to display warnings for local traffic conditions so it
    > presumably has built-in GPS to know where you are.

    Short-range roadside transmitters would suffice for that (paid for by the company so that they can sell local ads). However, this is an opportunity to get state-owned black boxes onto every car in the state. Initially, of course, Californians will be assured that no information will be gathered. Then the exceptions will start creeping in. Finally, a connector will be mandated and the plate plugged into the vehicle CAN bus.

    It will be a felony to meddle with the plate in any way, including suppressing the ads.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ComputerGeek01 ( 1182793 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:34AM (#32640748)
    I live in Buffalos NY and our CITY has been backrupt for awhile now. They got assigned a control board from ??? by ???, I didn't vote for any of those retards, who don't allow them to spend anything but then they whine and cry like little kids until they get what they want anyway. They close down parks and the such (although a state wouldn't be responsible for that anyway) and spend what ever money they can pry out of the control board for project A on special interest project B anyway. So basically you get less services and pay more taxes and nothing else changes.
  • by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:34AM (#32640756) Homepage Journal

    It has been proven many times over, the slower you go in a built up area, the less critical and minor accidents occur.

    Among all drivers? Or only the crappy ones?

    All those studies are biased in their selection, in that only people who get into accidents are selected.

    They don't prove that accidents happen because of speed. They prove that people who are likely to get into accidents are more likely to get into accidents at higher speeds. They demonstrate nothing about drivers who are not likely to get into accidents in the first place.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by qazxsw ( 207003 ) on Monday June 21, 2010 @12:51PM (#32642918)

    How about selling the state name like a sports stadium? :)

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!