California proposes location-tracking, e-ink license plates that display "STOLEN" if a car is boosted

Automatic plate readers are a thing. Several states have stickers on the front windshield instead of the plate while others don’t have plate stickers at all.


Yes they are, but if you routinely scan all plates as a matter of course then you get back to the issue of having to accept living under constant government surveillance. Basically the automotive equivalent of facial recognition technology on every street corner.


Another app I have to worry about butt-invoking. I can flag my own car as stolen by just adjusting the seat!


If you can control plates remotely, why not simply disable that stolen car…


Presumably that kind of technology would be something put in place by the auto manufacturer, not the DMV.



And yes, this will eventually be mandatory nationwide because it makes it nearly impossible to travel without a government record of your every move. Meanwhile professional car thieves will buy decoys on the black market. The fawning Gismodo article mentions Omni Consumer Products Reviver Auto as the contractor behind this terrible idea. Here are the techbros to blame…

You can leave your smart phone at home and wrap your RFID’s in a Faraday cage. But you need a vehicle or a traceable metro pass. Bicycles, the last vestige of privacy, sort of…


A friend wanted to get the license plate 10-22 (the radio code for “disregard”) Kind of a primitive version of

And hijinks ensue. Locally, some students made a fake license plate that matched one of their teachers and ran through speed cameras at high speed.


It also tracks your car’s every movement and send that data to the government.

So the display of the word “STOLEN” serves what purpose exactly?

We used to have this very nice gal at work. Her plates read GR8TUSH. And guess what…


Kramer approves:


With all due respect, CA DMV is about the very nationwide. I have lived out of state for over a decade and I still receive renewals for car registrations as well as for my DL. Do understand that my cars and my driver’s license was renewed upon moving from the Golden State. I have written, called and begged to be removed from their lists with no effect. I am also still considered for jury service. I cannot tell you how many times I have written, certified mail, called, spoke to those that supervises jury selection. I have even written the county voters registry, and still I exist in California!

That rotating license plate is pretty cool!

I remember seeing something like this before, in a tv show, on a mini/hippie van, I feel like it could have been on Sliders.

I recall a story about a person who got vanity plates and it asked for their top three choices. Having only two they wrote “none” under the third choice. Of course, they wound up with plates reading “NONE” but decided to go with it.

Soon after they were receiving notices of parking tickets and other violations from all over the place as every infraction made by cars with no plates where an officer had written “none” on the ticket suddenly found a match in the database.

I have no idea if this story is actually true. (Actually just looked it up. According to Snopes it’s not only true but has happened more than once with other variations of the plate.)

1 Like

We’re so very close to a brave future where:
the car auto-tickets you when you commit a driving infraction
and then auto-debits your bank account to pay that ticket.

1 Like

Since TFA didn’t mention it, or if it did I missed that bit, here’s the vendor.

My “take off and nuke the entire site from orbit” sense is really tingling with this one.

Some slurry from a past funding round closure:

State DOTs, DMVs, OEMs, fleet management companies and auto dealers, among others, are looking to the RPlate for a myriad of solutions, including streamlined vehicle registration, new opportunities for personalized license plate designs, targeted marketing messaging, emergency alert broadcasting, vehicle tracking and, as electric vehicles popularity takes hold, a unique solution to the growing road usage tax tracking issues faced by states.

“The RPlate has the potential to change the way we think of vehicle ownership - starting first with digital vehicle registration – which is a tremendously inefficient process,” said Stephen Polk, Reviver Auto board member. “The capabilities of the RPlate are unlimited - think automated parking and toll payments, digital parking permits, personalized messaging, and, of course, vehicle specific data and driving behavior analytics for commercial businesses that can be utilized to track vehicles, mileage, etc.”

I’m pretty sure that rule #1 of “Someone comes along with a permanently mothership-connected tracking device that is licensed-not-sold and says that it ‘has the potential tho change the way we think of ownership’” is “I don’t doubt it; and that’s exactly the problem.”

Edit: yes, of course, it’s binding arbitration o’clock(section 14); because it always is.

Edit the second: just in case you actually trust the Reviver guys; all your little secrets will be between you, them, and Verizon, which will definitely work out swell.

Seriously, the present, first it was emergency room ad targeting for next generation ambulance chasing solutions; now this. Thanks a whole goddamn lot.


I feel like I’ve agreed to something just by reading it.


The CEO of Reviver Auto was on The New Screen Savers just last month

The only real question is whether you agree to more by reading it or by not reading it.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.