California Plans License Plate Advertising - What the...

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California Plans License Plate Advertising - What the...

California, the most populous state in the Union and known as the Golden State is running out of "gold". No I'm not talking about the 49er miners panning the rivers dry from gold. No, I'm talking about our current form of currency - money. California is going bankrupt from profligate spending resulting in a $19 billion deficit. So what's their latest brilliant idea to fill the state's coffers? Is it major spending cuts? Nope. Is it laying off some state workers? Nope. Is it a new tax? Nah, even California is sick of taxes and that won't fly this election cycle.

The latest crackpot scheme by the California Legislature is a bill that would allow the state to sell advertising on electronic license plates. It would look like a standard license plate when the vehicle is in motion but would switch to digital ads or other messages when it is stopped for more than four seconds.

This is so wrong on so many levels. Let me count the ways...

1) As if it's not bad enough when sitting at a red light and the guy in front of you doesn't notice the light turned green, now he'll be distracted watching rotating ads. More blaring horns here we come!

2) Do we really want some ugly digital license plate ruining the "look" of our beloved vehicle? Have you seen what New York state has done with their new mustard colored license plate?
ny-license-plate.jpg
Is this not the ugliest license plate you've ever seen?

3) Remember good guy, super spy, James Bond had a rotating license plate? This is useful for good guys getting away with knocking off a bad guy in a not-so-friendly country. But do we really want crooks to have the ability to hack into the digital license plate and change the display before and after a crime? Rob a bank, witnesses see your bogus license plate number, drive away, press button to change license plate, and presto, you're scott free!

4) How long before hackers put inappropriate pictures or videos on these digital signs, like porn? I can just see the rear end collisions now at stop signs when the car in front of you pops up a naked picture all of a sudden. Or maybe not a collision but a quick shout out - "Kids, don't look out out the front window!" Don't think digital signs owned by the state can be hacked? Think again!

5) Wouldn't the sign have to be hooked up to the speedometer to detect when you're going over 4mph and then display the ads? Do we really want the state's digital license plate monitoring our speed? Granted, the signs will no doubt receive the ads one-way wirelessly - probably via radio waves. I doubt they'll transmit information, but this is one step closer to that reality than I would like.

6) What if the state allows controversial advertisers like pro-life, pro-choice, political messages, condoms, etc? Do we then have to have an opt-in and opt-out of certain categories? Tell me, do we have to wait in live at the DMV to change our opt-in preferences, or can we do this online? And if we can do this online, why the hell can't we do most DMV transactions online? I get that license renewal requires a photo, but do I really need to physically go to the DMV to register a vehicle? Ok, end rant.

The bill's author, Democratic Sen. Curren Price of Los Angeles, said "We're just trying to find creative ways of generating additional revenues," he said. "It's an exciting marriage of technology with need, and an opportunity to keep California in the forefront."

Yes, how exciting to find another way to rip the money from American's pockets under the guise of America's love for gadgets and technology.

Thanks, but no thanks.


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