Inventive students detach IoT car-immobilizers, use their SIMs to power free wifi hotspots

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Tangentially related to parking: Back in the 80s the university I attended had parking meters that accepted nickels, dimes, and quarters; each with their own slots. I think it was 25 cents per hour to park at this city university (this was a long time ago). Anyhoo… you could place a penny in the nickel slot and a flat, circular paper clip (a novelty item sold in stationary stores), turn the knob, and voila! You got 4 whole hours on your parking meter.


One user reported that they were able to use this SIM to get unlimited wireless broadband for several months before the Barnacle company terminated its service.

I’ll say it again:


For our parking meters, if you ground a flat spot on one edge of the penny (rubbing it on the cement for a few seconds often was enough), that would also trick it into giving you the max amount of time.


The street finds it own use…


Let’s hope the Barnacle’s SIM is on an unlimited but pay per megabyte plan.


So, basically, you cut this thing off from the internet, and it releases itself from your car. Then you gut it for its sim card.


As for the question someone else asked (on reddit, I believe), if you leave a few cheap junkers around, let the police boot them, and then haul the junker away, you’ve just taken a boot away from the owner. It’ll cost you for the tow, but if you’ve got the right friend, that won’t be much.

Mind you, it annoys the people who own the boots, particularly if you “accidentally” leave the junker somewhere near a car crusher, but you takes your risks.

Same thing here, really. This Barnacle sounds costly, and if they can’t prove YOU arranged for it to release (and end up in a trash bin), they’ve lost money.


I like the “stick it to the man” mentality much better than I like the idea of a parking free-for-all. Sure, at hospitals go nuts since parking is highway robbery and also frequently unavoidable but is there any reason so many university students in urban centres need so many cars? Is there any reason we want to cheer them on to park in, say, garbage bays, bike lanes, and accessible parking spots without consequence?


a friend of mine found out the contentious parking meters BigCorp installed didn’t verify the card worked just some luhn algorithm shit. anyways basically you could just swipe ANY credit card (including an empty visa gift card) and it’d attempt to credit it. this works surprisingly often apparently


a networked car-immobilizer

Car still seems perfectly mobile with it attached.


If I ever find one of these I am absolutely taking the SIM card.

This is the kind of egregious bullshit that we have enabled with technology and I have no problem subverting the authoritarian technological world.

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Now we’re tracking in a cyberpunk plotline:

The SIM chip belongs to the Yakuza, with 320 gigabytes of hidden data on the chip. It was accidentally shipped to a parking enforcement subsidiary of theirs, and now you’ve stolen it and they want it back before anachro-hacker groups acquire the hidden data.

You’re running down a corridor, being chased by tech-ninja. what do you do?



Because obviously everyone has a right to park their car for free wherever they want. It’s in the constitution next to the right to carry AR-15:s. These students may be clever thieves, but they are still nothing but thieves.

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You might wish to read up on logical fallacies, in particular, the “straw man” fallacy.


I don’t see this as a protest against parking rules, but against a super obnoxious invention. If someone is parked illegally give them a ticket or, if it’s really heinous, tow the car. But disabling their car is unjustifiable assholery. Doubly (and hilariously) so if the gizmo is this half baked.


If they’re parking in that sort of place, surely immobilizing the car so they can’t move it out of the way is a bad idea?

Where I studied, undergraduates weren’t allowed to have cars unless they could show they needed one because of unusual personal circumstances (like a disability) or for a purpose related to a University society or sports team.

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Free electronic components, you say?



I wonder if you had a “mock” barnacle, or one that had been rendered inert if you could use it to park anywhere you want. Plus it would keep your car a bit cooler.


Likewise, so the approach roads to campus developed a parking problem. The local council banned parking in locations that were dangerous or affected traffic flow (90% of them), so the approach roads to the approach roads to campus developed a parking problem. Repeat for a decade or so. Now there’s no on-street parking within 2 km of campus.

I’m all for towing cars left in inappropriate locations, but I also support the use of immobilisers/Barnacles where a car is parked safely but illegally. Free parking is not an inherent right.