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Using Speed Cameras To Send Tickets To Your Enemies

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the ticket-me-elmo dept.

Privacy 898

High school students in Maryland are using speed cameras to get back at their perceived enemies, and even teachers. The students duplicate the victim's license plate on glossy paper using a laser printer, tape it over their own plate, then speed past a newly installed speed camera. The victim gets a $40 ticket in the mail days later, without any humans ever having been involved in the ticketing process. A blog dedicated to driving and politics adds that a similar, if darker, practice has taken hold in England, where bad guys cruise the streets looking for a car similar to their own. They then duplicate its plates in a more durable form, and thereafter drive around with little fear of trouble from the police.

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without any humans ever having been involved (5, Interesting)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26192955)

I've often thought if I got one of these tickets I would take it to court and ask for the right to see my accuser.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193017)

you have no rights. Are you not up to speed on the current state of democracy? If you don't like it .. tough. No one cares. You are a slave to be taxed with your hard work and money to go to wallstreet bankers that work daily to ruin the lives of the world and destroy democracy. Welcome to the New World Order where there are 6 billion people to murder because we are all equally worthless. There is nothing precious about a human life .. we are everywhere so tax them, skin them, enslave them and then kill them. This is how the rich will get richer and the human species will survive the next century.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (4, Funny)

lloydchristmas759 (1105487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193279)

Karl Marx, is that you ?

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (5, Informative)

Emnar (116467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193027)

The legislators have thought of that. It's an infraction, rather than a misdemeanor, so it's an administrative fine -- it goes on your driving record, but not your criminal record.

Because it's a criminal charge, you aren't given the right to face your accuser.

It's a perversion of justice for the profit of the state, but right now the judges let it pass constitutional muster.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (5, Interesting)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193071)

It's a perversion of justice for the profit of the state, but right now the judges let it pass constitutional muster.

That's just because nobody bothered to do the the same trick with the correct government or state official plates.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (5, Funny)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193285)

sounds like a dare

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (5, Interesting)

Pichu0102 (916292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193305)

sounds like a dare

I don't think anyone's really stupid enough to piss off someone who has the ability to ruin your life, or, if they're really corrupt, make you disappear.

Henry Mencken disagrees (5, Interesting)

bledri (1283728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193433)

I don't think anyone's really stupid enough to ...

Henry Mencken disagrees:
"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." -- Henry Mencken

I know, he was talking about profit, but I think the sentiment applies more broadly.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (5, Informative)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193447)

If you live in that much fear of government officials, then you have bigger problems than speed cameras. In a free society, the fear, if any, goes the other way.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (4, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193107)

The legislators have thought of that. It's an infraction, rather than a misdemeanor, so it's an administrative fine -- it goes on your driving record, but not your criminal record.

I don't know about where you are, but in Ohio automatic speed camera fines do not go on your driving record.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (5, Informative)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193155)

Since the cameras are generally owned by companies and not the local authorities, I think they only thing they can do is put it on your credit report.
Where I am, they recently took down some red light cameras because they were not generating enough revenue for the company and the city didn't want to pay for them. It has nothing to do with law and everything to do with profit.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193233)

So, I have to wonder: how many times a week do you have to hit one of these things with a paintball before they're not cost-effective to maintain?

One way to put a stop to any for-profit effort is to make it unprofitable.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (5, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193265)

if you fill your own paintballs and fill them with glue instead of paint so the entire front glass has to be replaced it will work faster.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (2, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193227)

I've heard the trick is to put the vehicle in a trust. Makes it a bit more difficult to enforce automated red light/speeding ticketing systems. YMMV and IANAL.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (-1, Troll)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193271)

Yeah .. it's a perversion to give people who are breaking the law speeding tickets. Terrible thing to gain revenue from people who are violating the law and causing accidents, traffic congestion and road rage. It's an awful thing that speed cameras are installed near entrance and exit ramps in an attempt to slow down traffic and reduce accident rates.

What should we think of a government that tries to find new ways to make our highways safe. It's much better to things the old way, just hire more police officers and put them to work. Who cares that a police car on the highway causes congestion, and slows traffic to it's knees when it pulls someone over. Or that a police officer might get struck by a passing car or shot by the person he pulls over. Or that a police car pulling out into high speed traffic from a standstill also increases traffic accident risks.

Better to just let people drive any speed they want whenever they want, cutting in and out of traffic without any concern for the disturbances they leave in their wake.

Funny thing, if most everyone would stop speeding, the revenue stream would dry up to the point the cameras become more expensive to operate than they are worth and they would just come down on their own. Wouldn't that be a terrible thing, for our highways to be free from people who think they know how fast they can drive safely, irregardless of their training or experience.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (1, Offtopic)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193333)

Wouldn't that be a terrible thing, for our highways to be free from people who think they know how fast they can drive safely, irregardless of their training or experience.

I was with you, up to the point where you wrote "irregardless". Didn't your browser/spellchecker flag that one for you?

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (-1, Offtopic)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193453)

There's nothing wrong with that word: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/irregardless [thefreedictionary.com]

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (5, Insightful)

jdcope (932508) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193421)

What should we think of a government that tries to find new ways to make our highways safe.

However, red light cameras do not make it safer. In most places, red light cameras INCREASE the occurrence of rear-end accidents because people are afraid they might get a ticket and stop short. And in my area, those tickets are nearly $200. On top of that, the camera companies get a cut in the profits from the tickets. So there is an incentive to ticket people. And it has been proven in certain cities that the governments are shortening the yellow-light times to catch people off guard. So even people who are not trying to "run" the light get caught in it. And speed cameras on on-ramps are just friggin stupid. There are enough people out there who dont know how to merge into freeway traffic. THEY are the ones who cause congestion.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (1, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193313)

It's a perversion of justice for the profit of the state

Why is it a perversion of justice? And isn't the accuser the state? Don't they have an officer to represent the automatic speed camera division show up in court?

All well and good, except... (3, Interesting)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193099)

In Arizona, all tickets are reviewed by
the police or local municipality of which
the ticket was issued.

ie, if the car doesn't match the ticket,
no ticket gets sent. If the driver is
one sex and the vehicle is registered
to the opposite sex, a notice is sent,
not a ticket. I can drive my wife's
vehicle and speed all I want, she gets
a notice that says, "Do you know this
person".

I can't see any instance where this would
work except same vehicle, same sex driving.

So... Fail.

-AI

Re:All well and good, except... (1)

bledri (1283728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193219)

I can't see any instance where this would work except same vehicle, same sex driving.

To paraphrase Meet the Parents, maybe in some crazy scheme to make a profit Toyota made more than one blue Camery... Now if they check against the DL photo it gets harder, but a wig and big fashionable sun glasses may go a long way.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193131)

How is being convicted on the basis of a speed camera any worse than convicting someone from CCTV footage?

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (2, Insightful)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193221)

Who says it worse. But generally CCTV footage is used as evidence to support a charge. The CCTV like in a convenience store doesn't generally initiate the charge, it only provides evidence. So if speeding/red light cameras were used to support a charge made by another person or the police it might be a little better.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193353)

But that's the same thing. The speed camera is not bringing a charge, the police are. The speed camera is merely providing evidence, just like the CCTV.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193237)

How is being convicted on the basis of a speed camera any worse than convicting someone from CCTV footage?

In this instance, there is no human filter. Speeding, flash, ticket in the mail. CCTV footage is merely evidence in a trial, with a of your 'peers' and a judge.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193369)

Can't you contest the ticket, and be the human filter yourself, just as you would with any other charge? Then the speed camera photo becomes evidence in a trial.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193267)

The CCTV does not decide if you're guilty or not, a human being looking at the pictures are.

In this case, no one even checks if it's possible that the machine made a mistake.

Re:without any humans ever having been involved (4, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193143)

"I've often thought if I got one of these tickets I would take it to court and ask for the right to see my accuser."

Print your tag using this link, along with some random tags from your area.
I found out about it when my co-workers pranked me by placing a "MAN SEX" fake over the plate on my tow truck...
Funny thing is that I towed several cars that weekend right past police without knowing about the plate (which is near my lightbar so I don't look at it).

Enjoy:
http://license.plates.txt2pic.com/ [txt2pic.com]

Glossy Paper and Printers (3, Funny)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26192969)

Duplicate plates? When I was in school, we used to actually swap the plates themselves lol.

Kids and technology these days.

Re:Glossy Paper and Printers (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193075)

Yeah, great idea if you want the operation to be immediately reported by the victim.

Re:Glossy Paper and Printers (5, Insightful)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193255)

Do you look at your license plate every morning? Would you notice if the letters and numbers suddenly changed?

Re:Glossy Paper and Printers (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193403)

I do, for the most part. I'd sure notice it different.

It's my FCC callsign.

Re:Glossy Paper and Printers (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193441)

I look at them after being pranked with a fake plate printed out by my co-workers, but as we found out, most people don't check their plates and walk right by blatantly suggestive fakes.

Re:Glossy Paper and Printers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193123)

Sorry, kid, your "lol" places you firmly in one of two categories:

1. 11-16 year old female
2. Too goddamned stupid to have ever pulled a prank like this.
 

Re:Glossy Paper and Printers (1)

sykes1024 (1159247) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193225)

or 3. anyone who uses the internet and is familiar with internet culture. Shit, go to www.4chan.org and troll the /b/ forum. It is all for the lulz.

Re:Glossy Paper and Printers (2, Funny)

Curtman (556920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193261)

Shit, go to www.4chan.org and troll the /b/ forum.

That would place him firmly in category 4. People so stupid they shouldn't be allowed access to the internet.

Re:Glossy Paper and Printers (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193269)

Shit, go to www.4chan.org and troll the /b/ forum. It is all for the lulz.

As referenced in #2 above.

Predictable. (4, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26192977)

This is the inevitable result of the 'panopticon' model of legal harmony. A car does not positively identify a person, nor does a license plate or a blurry photo.

The authorities can cast a wider net by being lazy, but this is the real reason we shouldn't tolerate it: it's almost laughably exploitable.

Re:Predictable. (3, Interesting)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26192999)

I work for an auto auction. We get about a dozen red light tickets a day for cars that passed through but we never owned. We throw them all away.

Re:Predictable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193019)

As usual, asshats ruin something that could mostly work. Just because something is exploitable, doesn't mean some jerkwad should be doing it.

I'd just love to see one of these criminals faces when he gets pulled over by a real cop while doing this. What will he claim now? "It's a new prank - putting these license plate replicas on enemies cars to make them get a bigger ticket; I certainly didn't put that there?" Or "It's not my car, I just borrowed it?".

Hopefully, the "ticket" for fake license plate will be a very steep charge.

Asshats...

Re:Predictable. (5, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193035)

And teh best way for us to not tolerate it, is to exploit it to laughable extremes. Have everyone copy the license plate of Governor Martin O'Malley and let him get multiple speeding tickets in different parts of his state at the same time, the law will change much faster that way as compared to waiting for the legislature to actually give a shit about bad law.

Re:Predictable. (5, Insightful)

Kaboom13 (235759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193167)

No, it will just be used as an excuse to make the governor and other politicians exempt from the law.

Re:Predictable. (5, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193417)

No, it will just be used as an excuse to make the governor and other politicians exempt from the law.

Then target their golfing buddies and their largest campaign donors.

Re:Predictable. (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193173)

Unfortunately, there's a fair chance that he'll just get the tickets quashed and not worry any further about it. Part of the problem with bad laws is that legislators often don't really have to deal with them. They are either officially or unofficially exempted from them.

Re:Predictable. (1)

cheebie (459397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193293)

No, this is Maryland. They will just create new scratchoff lottery tickets to pay for 'upgrades' to the cameras. And somehow that money will never be spent on the vaporware cameras.

Re:Predictable. (3, Interesting)

IronChef (164482) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193063)

The legal system needs to employ a few game designers to help them avoid such obvious griefing opportunities.

Re:Predictable. (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193299)

The legal system needs to employ a few game hackers, the guys that exploit all the loopholes that the designers "didn't have time" to design out, apparently because it's cheaper to save 5 minutes at the start of the project no matter how many hundreds or thousands of hours of work it costs you long term, not to mention the cost in lost business due to your game getty a crappy rep for being exploitable to help them avoid such obvious griefing opportunities.

There, fixed that for you. You employ the guy that wrote WOWGlider, not the doofus who designed trust into the client in the first place.

Re:Predictable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193073)

A license plate may not positively identify a person if they are willing to commit perjury, but for the vast, vast majority of cases a license plate is enough.

In a case like these where the ticketed party is actually innocent, it is not difficult to show that it is not your car (if the car is a different model/color) or to have others testify on your behalf that you or your car were somewhere else at the time.

The people perpetrating these crimes are almost certain to get caught, especially now that this is publicly known. A glossy print might fool a camera, but I doubt it will fool a cop. Forging a plate is a felony, I believe. They are also committing several other crimes, so when caught they are hosed. So the risk is very, very high for very limited reward. Risking years in jail to give your enemy a speeding ticket? You might as well just beat the hell out of him.

As for the more accurate copies, there are still VIN numbers, registration, et cetera. Cops do check these things on a regular basis. So while the criminals may be less likely to be pulled over, if they are pulled over, they're well and truly fucked.

Re:Predictable. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193263)

A license plate may not positively identify a person if they are willing to commit perjury,

What perjury? Go to court, plead "not guilty", and the burden of proof is on the state, not the defendant.

-jcr

Re:Predictable. (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193297)

What perjury?

"Is this your car in the picture?" If it is, and you say no...

Re:Predictable. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193409)

The defendant doesn't have to take the stand. See here. [wikipedia.org]

-jcr

You mean they'll ask you to incriminate yourself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193415)

I seem to recall there was some kind of legal provision regarding this type of thing...

Re:Predictable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193443)

right to silence

Re:Predictable. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193445)

What perjury?

"Is this your car in the picture?" If it is, and you say no...

None of these are a lie, the first one doesn't get you in legal trouble.

"No."

"That is not my car, it is just a picture of my car."

"No, that's a picture. My car is parked at a friends house."

Remember, we do not have a JUSTICE system, we have a LEGAL system. Ethics and Morality have nothing to do with our system, just as speeding tickets are generally issued on a REVENUE basis, not a SAFETY one (see the rants of others for details.)

Re:Predictable. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193413)

And they most likely have ample proof. Usually one gives reasons as to why they are not guilty, and that can be matched to the evidence. If they have photographic evidence of you doing it, and you simply say "not guilty" without any further explanation, you're not likely to succeed in your plea.

Re:Predictable. (1)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193253)

Unless there's some magical disguise for the offendent's car, you can easily disprove that it was a fake licence plate.

You can change the plate, but not the car itself, after all.

Hope for the future? (3, Insightful)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26192987)

Andrews also said that this could hurt the integrity of the Speed Camera Program. "It will cause potential problems for the Speed Camera Program in terms of the confidence in it," he said.

If we're lucky.

Re:Hope for the future? (1)

riceboy50 (631755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193091)

No. Like DRM, they will just keep thinking up more obtrusive ways to prevent exploits rather than scrapping a fundamentally flawed idea.

Re:Hope for the future? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193209)

Andrews also said that this could hurt the integrity of the Speed Camera Program. "It will cause potential problems for the Speed Camera Program in terms of the confidence in it," he said.

If we're lucky.

We've got speed cameras in the UK. Thousands of the damn things, in fact.

They're almost universally despised, being widely perceived as both a cash cow and a substitute for real policing.

The problem with any serious effort to get rid of them is that the authorities with the data to provide useful statistics (like "how much good have these things actually done?") are the same authorities who are making money out of them. Which means that they've been very careful not to publicise any potentially damaging statistics - so the only real argument against them is "I don't like being caught speeding" - not an argument that's going to get anyone very far.

In Sweden (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26192993)

the cameras send the picture to an office where the clerks look at the registered drivers license face photo to see if it corresponds with the face of the guy on the photo.

This is not failsafe of course, since you can always take your wifes car and drive past the cameras in high speed, or a rental car, or wear a mask - but at least you get no false positives.

Re:In Sweden (2, Interesting)

Proud like a god (656928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193195)

Excepts identical twins, 3 occurrences per 1000 births...

Re:In Sweden (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193217)

Or even siblings. My brother and I have been asked several times if we are twins. He is 6 yrs younger than I am.

Unless they are caught... (5, Informative)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26192997)

...when they usually pay through the nose or get jailtime for counterfeiting an official document (which a license plate is).

It's interesting though that penalties are apparently tied to the car in the us, not the driver. I still remember the police showing up regularly at the door showing me a (usually bad) picture of my father and asking if I knew the person. Thank god^M^M^M the constitution for family privilege.

Re:Unless they are caught... (2, Funny)

bledri (1283728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193289)

...when they usually pay through the nose or get jailtime for counterfeiting an official document (which a license plate is).

I was thinking the same thing. I'm not a fan of universal ID's and the like, but I am a fan of really strong penalties for impersonating some one else. It seems like that would apply to a lot of things: Voter fraud, credit theft, privacy violations. Maybe this is already the case and it just isn't a deterrent.

BTW - I think you meant ^H (BS), not ^M (CR).

yeah great idea. (5, Insightful)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193003)

Wow, so you personally commit fraud and forgery to get your "enemy" a $40 speeding ticket?

sounds like a great idea until the first time a cop is on scene to pull you over.

I hope those kids like jail time!

Re:yeah great idea. (5, Insightful)

otter42 (190544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193257)

Wow, so you personally commit fraud and forgery to get your "enemy" a $40 speeding ticket?

sounds like a great idea until the first time a cop is on scene to pull you over.

I hope those kids like jail time!

You're serious??? You would give kids jail time for an administrative prank? For $40? That's sick. Just plain sick. With these kinds of opinions, no wonder we have these kinds of laws.

America would be a better place if we stopped trying to 0wn people in real life, instead of just video games and movies. There is such a thing as partial victories and conditional surrenders.

Re:yeah great idea. (3, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193351)

You're serious??? You would give kids jail time for an administrative prank?

When does it stop being a prank? 2nd time? 10th time?

Re:yeah great idea. (5, Insightful)

otter42 (190544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193399)

Never. It's always a prank. If you want to argue that after getting caught ten times and clearly refusing to mend your ways that you should face some stiffer penalties, I couldn't agree more. That doesn't change that putting someone in jail for an administrative prank is wrong. And the knee jerk reaction to *want* that is perverted.

Here's a solution: why not take away their driver's license? That would have the same effect on stopping the abuse, while ratcheting up the pressure (getting caught driving with a suspended license is far more serious) all without the slightest risk of permanently scars.

Re:yeah great idea. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193439)

True, jail is a bit harsh. But the crazy thing is - why let kids drive in the first place? It should be an adult vocation - then that would eliminate the "oh he's just a kid" gray area, and make it easier for adults to be expected to take full responsibility for their vehicular activities. It seems that with people starting driving as kids, they tend to regress to childhood when they get behind the wheel.

Re:yeah great idea. (3, Insightful)

daigu (111684) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193357)

Putting the fakes on, driving through a light that just turned red, pulling off on a side road and removing the plates should take no more than 5 or 10 minutes. The chances of a cop pulling you over in that amount of time is close to nil.

I agree it would be monumentally stupid to drive around with the fake covering on, but then again, anyone smart enough to want to do this in the first place isn't going to do that for exactly that reason.

Even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193023)

Glossy photo paper print out of their face to wear as a mask for those cameras which capture faces too.

Another good idea is to mount a flash-activated camera flash next to your license plate. When the speed camera (or red light camera) takes a picture, your flash will fire and blind the camera to your plate.

Re:Even better (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193081)

I can't think of a better way to cause accidents.

If someone actually wanted to make a statement... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193031)

...they could create a website listing the make, model and licenses of cars belonging to police and other public officials; with convenient license plate templates or maybe a PDF license plate generator. Don't host it the US or UK though.

But that would be wrong.

Dinsdale? (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193055)

A blog dedicated to driving and politics adds that a similar, if darker, practice has taken hold in England, where bad guys cruise the streets looking for a car similar to their own. They then duplicate its plates in a more durable form, and thereafter drive around with little fear of trouble from the police.

The Monty Python folks referred to this as, "the other, other operation."

Profit?

Driving and politics . . . sounds like a deadly mix to me.

Teachers? Aim higher... (2, Interesting)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193057)

Looks like a few public officials need to have their plates "cloned" in this way. The only way for them to see the idiocy of this sytesm is for them to be clubbed repeatedly around the head with it.

Another interesting tidbit (2, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193061)

I have no idea whether or not this information is actually accurate, but I found it interesting none-the-less.

While watching an episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson was in Japan driving a car, he mentioned that photographs taken by speed cameras were only valid if your face could be identified from the picture. He had a paper cutout of another person's face that he would hold over his own whenever passing by a camera so that he could not be given a ticket.

I'm sure that this was mostly for comedic effect, but if true, doesn't something like this make speed cameras completely pointless?

I've also read a few stories where those who especially hate speed cameras will obscure its vision in some manner so that it cannot take accurate pictures or any pictures at all. Assuming that the rate of this mischief is high enough and there are enough other methods available to circumvent the accuracy of these cameras, is it really worthwhile to use them?

Re:Another interesting tidbit (5, Funny)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193087)

Well, yes... But to be fair, nobody wants to look like Jeremy Clarkson, not even Jeremy Clarkson.

Re:Another interesting tidbit (1)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193151)

I've also read a few stories where those who especially hate speed cameras will obscure its vision in some manner so that it cannot take accurate pictures or any pictures at all. Assuming that the rate of this mischief is high enough and there are enough other methods available to circumvent the accuracy of these cameras, is it really worthwhile to use them?

Another Top Gear anecdote, but one method of doing that is you wrap it with clear plastic wrap, like for food stuff. Anyways, it's clear so if you look at the video feed it doesn't appear to be broken and won't be fixed, but when the flash goes off it blinds the camera.

So the answer is yes they're pretty useless except that the ratio of griefers to people who just pay is still low enough to turn a profit for now.

Re:Another interesting tidbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193343)

That method, along with many many others was tried on MythBusters, and none of them worked.

Re:Another interesting tidbit (1)

bledri (1283728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193327)

He had a paper cutout of another person's face that he would hold over his own whenever passing by a camera so that he could not be given a ticket.

I wonder how long until we our ID is an implanted RFID. I can't wait (sarcasm).

No, that'd be silly! Or not... (2, Insightful)

perlhacker14 (1056902) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193079)

Is that not illegal? Oh well; I personally find it pathetic that students are engaging in such obscene debauchery! If you really need to get revenge on a fellow student or teacher, there are obviously much more legal and embarassing ways to do so IN SCHOOL.
THough, if actual humans were used in this process, perhaps more jobs could be created? And the situation could be partially allievated? It should not be that hard to differentiate between glossy paper and painted metal if you can read the plate on camera.
Incediantally, My first response, in keeping with the quote at the bottom of the page, was, 'No, that'd be silly.'

Re:No, that'd be silly! Or not... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193395)

Arizona, where speed cameras abound, is switching to glossy paper for license plates instead of shiny metal. Kinda throws your idea out the window.

This kind of thing has never happened before! (3, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193103)

Clearly no one has ever faked ID, given someone else's address for something, used their bank details or even just put on a wig and pretended to be someone else!

This entirely new type of crime can only come about because of speed cameras! If we didn't try to punish people breaking the law this kind of thing would never happen!

We know this is true... how? (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193105)

The story does not mention any victims. The story does not mention any perps who have been caught. Indeed, what makes the idea so clever is that it sounds like the perfect crime. OK, perfect misdemeanor.

How do we know this is actually happening?

How would the perps know for sure that their victim was actually ticketed? Wouldn't this be an unsatisfying prank if you couldn't find out?

This sounds much more like a great idea than like something anyone is actually doing.

Automation and Joe Jobs (1)

resistant (221968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193115)

The more computers come to handle criminal and civil matters, such as with traffic light monitors, the more Joe jobs will become a problem. I can foresee underworld specialists in Joe jobs commonly offering for a fee to destroy your enemies with anything from this simple tactic of photocopying license plates, up to using well-known tricks to get child pornography onto victims' computers, followed by anonymous tips to the F.B.I.

THX-1138 (1)

bledri (1283728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193393)

The more computers come to handle criminal and civil matters, such as with traffic light monitors, the more Joe jobs will become a problem.

One of THX-1138's [imdb.com] many social commentaries. A slow, dry movie but damn insightful, IMHO. Still it does not make up for Jar Jar.

Can RFID help in this ? (1)

ranjeet.walunj (1356155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193137)

can some sort of mechanism to identify each car by RFID or something equivalent help ?

Re:Can RFID help in this ? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193189)

can some sort of mechanism to identify each car by RFID or something equivalent help ?

Aside from the obvious privacy issues, and the technical issues (distance from the reader), tell us how you would prevent that from being spoofed.
Vehicle body color, make/model, plate #, gender of the driver, maybe even the face (as referenced above) should be close enough. No need for yet another faulty tracking mechanism.

Re:Can RFID help in this ? (1)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193199)

Interesting idea actually. If license plates could have a RFID chip in them similar to EZ-Pass units, perhaps law enforcement could also have some sort of reader that will pick up on tags in the area to further correlate the photo taken.

Further, perhaps EZ-Pass units wouldn't be needed any longer if they could simply be linked to to an account and read at the toll readers.

Or maybe (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193301)

We could just require all the cars to have GPS in them, and wirelessly report where the car is and how fast it's going, several times a minute. This would be handy for levying tolls and road taxes, and they might be able to build an index of all the speed limits and automatically ticket people for speeding / not stopping / going the wrong way / parking in handicapped spots.

That would be totally cool. Or not.

Reasonable Doubt (1)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193177)

Well, the accuracy of the cameras is now no longer in question, however you can introduce some doubt as to whether it was actually your vehicle that was photographed. Interesting thought on whether this can be used as a viable defense.

Re:Reasonable Doubt (1)

otter42 (190544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193359)

Well, the accuracy of the cameras is now no longer in question...

Of course it still is. The accuracy of machines will always be in question. I'm a controls engineer and I can tell you all day long about how machines screw up doing simple tasks they've done 100 times before, or simply get things wrong all the time but no one notices because according to those in control, the machine functions "well enough".

As long as there's no way for citizens' groups to validate these cameras without fear of getting stiff fines or thrown in jail, their accuracy will always be suspect. There are simply too many advantages to getting it wrong, and too few to getting it right.

A photo does nothing more than prove you were there at a certain time. Now, if there were some video, and you could demonstrate an average, that would be at least not be legally bankrupt and founded on solid principles that jury of peers can judge on. But of course, before issuing a ticket said video would have to be reviewed by a person, who would have to be paid, and moreover would then be responsible for the judgement. So obviously this model is not economically viable for those giving the tickets, so we're using a system that is very much in doubt, all because people bend over and accept it.

Digital traps in an analog world (4, Insightful)

otter42 (190544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193207)

This just shows again the problems with applying a digital measure to our analog world. Speeding is by no means a crime. A crime implies harm, and having an instantaneous velocity over a certain point on a road hardly qualifies as a crime. Here we have a case of the computer being judge, jury, and executioner. This means that gone are the *very* valid justification that "that's the speed limit because driving any slower was dangerous."

Before, real-life situations could trump an engineer's arbitrary classification of a road. Which is good, because in real life, the situation *is* more important than the simulation. Now, instead of a judge who makes an informed decision that can be understood and formally disagreed with, we have a contractor, who is completely removed from the job. No one to get mad at, and, most importantly, no one to feel guilty. Every person in the chain has no responsibility and no reason to feel bad.

No matter the efficiency advantages of doing otherwise, every penalty applied to a human should be applied by a human.

Re:Digital traps in an analog world (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193317)

No matter the efficiency advantages of doing otherwise, every penalty applied to a human should be applied by a human.

Excuse me while I forward this to the RIAA/MPAA...using a falsified return address of course.

Re:Digital traps in an analog world (2, Insightful)

sykes1024 (1159247) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193337)

Not that I'm trying to argue with your last bit about:

No matter the efficiency advantages of doing otherwise, every penalty applied to a human should be applied by a human.

But, speeding is a crime in that by speeding you are needlessly endangering other people's lives. Laws are not necessarily what is moral and in some cases for need of practicality, laws must be preventative instead of reactionary. Not that I'm advocating the extent to which they go, but by your logic we should remove ALL airport security.

Full disclosure (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193309)

So we have a system with a vulnerability and we are publishing the full details of the exploit instead of warning the vendor and wait for a patch?

I bet some people could consider this right for real world and wrong for the digital one or viceversa. What about systems where the line dividing digital world from real are more blurry?

This happened to my brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26193321)

Last year, this happened to my brother.
Some bitch copied his plate and he got some ticket from being down in London, yet he was in Ayr...
Totally different locations, makes sense...

He was being pestered about this for months.
He finally got it sorted out though.

There is probably going to be know way to prevent something like this from happening without having 24/7 surveillance. But apparently people don't like a Big Brother state, even if it means a better life.
You already don't have privacy, what harm can constant street monitoring do?

the real problem is the speed limits themselves (5, Insightful)

rta (559125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193363)

The real problem, imho, is that speed limits are artificially low. In the US anyway, the only reason to follow the speed limit is to avoid fines. The numbers are unnecessarily conservative for most driving.

In fact, i can drive past a cop at the speed limit in the rain and not get a ticket though clearly I have a much lower margin of safety going 65 in the rain than I do going 65 on dry pavement.

Similarly, one is allowed to go the same speed at night as during the day even though visibility is definitely impaired.

(Yes, I know the limit is set as an upper limit and that cops can ticket you for going an unsafe speed for the conditions, etc, etc. but in practice it doesn't happen for up to moderate levels of inclement levels. And in fog or a downpour or blizzard, well most people slow down well below the speed limit anyway.)

I do like the "advised speed" that's attached to signs signaling curves ahead. That actually provides useful information about the road rather than info about the revenue generation and/or paranoia of the local residents.

Turn the scam back on the scammers (1)

McGregorMortis (536146) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193407)

If I lived in Britain, and started getting speeding tickets I knew weren't mine, I'd go and rob a bank. Then lie low for a few weeks, and wait until the wankers get what's coming to them.

If I felt guilty, I'd return the money to the bank (anonymously, of course) later.

Broken Speed Cameras / EZ-Pass Cameras (1)

nobodymk2 (1137293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26193423)

Most of the cameras here are intentionally broken and never fixed by the state. I'm really not sure why the EZ-pass has a speed limit on the other hand, I always felt like the person behind me was too close if I slowed down to 15mph when I can't make it to the High-speed EZ-pass lanes or they do not exist. Cars in front or real people from the cash lanes are an entirely different story, but I've never gotten a ticket in the mail but I'm pretty sure it doesn't get points on your record. My speeding ticket cost me $200 but $40 would seem like a level n misdemeanor. Sometimes it is easier just to pay the fine because it doesn't go on your driving record.

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