Here you are now. What?

RFID license plates - how much of a privacy threat?

I'm not usually a privacy zealot or a conspiracy monger, but my first reaction to this is visceral disgust:

"The British government is preparing to test new high-tech license plates containing microchips capable of transmitting unique vehicle identification numbers and other data to readers more than 300 feet away.

Officials in the United States say they'll be closely watching the British trial as they contemplate initiating their own tests of the plates, which incorporate radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags to make vehicles electronically trackable."

http://wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,68429,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1

This justification is particularly absurd: "Proponents argue that making such RFID tags mandatory and ubiquitous is a logical move to counter the threat of terrorists using the roadways." As if there's some kind of bit in the RFID signal that says "Hey everyone, this car has a terrorist inside!"

Seems like with this technology it's just a matter of time before the government decides they can track vehicle movements at their whim. And they're going to sell it to a clueless public with the old "it'll help keep you safe from evildoers" story. Puke.

Am I overreacting?
Permalink John C. 
August 9th, 2005
Currently transponders such as that are used to 'tax' vehicles per-trip as they drive on toll roads.
Permalink Christopher Wells 
August 9th, 2005
One of the mid-term aims of the New Labour Government is general road pricing, RFID is a half way house measure that's cheaper than satellite monitoring, though that will be happening soon with road freight.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 9th, 2005
Get used to it. Privacy is bad. All public movements need to be tracked and recorded and made available to anyone.
Permalink Chris McKinstry 
August 9th, 2005
Oops, you found an error!