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Lawmaker License Plates Invisible To Traffic Cams

Have you ever been issued a ticket by an automated, camera-based system that scanned your license plate, OCRed the plate, ran the number, found your address and mailed you the ticket?

Apparently, you're not one of the important people. In Colorado, members of the legislature are given special license plates that are not entered into the state's database.

According to CBS Denver, the info for these particular license plates is never entered into the DMV database, so when some state senator goes zooming by a speed camera, he or she won’t get a ticket, because the camera system looks up the license plate number through the DMV. Since no info comes up, no ticket is given.

This appears to be true for parking tickets as well. See, even though a parking enforcement officer might leave a ticket on the car, cities like Denver that rely on the DMV for addresses of vehicle owners come up empty when they try to collect on those tickets.

One state lawmaker recently stated his intention to close this loophole through legislative action in the next session, by simply doing away with the plates altogether.

“[I]t’s absolutely unfair,” said state representative Chris Holbert. “We should be held accountable like any other citizen. We are elected to represent the people and there’s no reason for us to be treated differently.”

SF writers have used assorted technologies to accomplish this. In his 1941 novel Methuselah's Children, an alterable license plate was used to foil the traffic control cameras of the Proctors.

More recently, in his excellent 2009 novel Daemon, Daniel Suarez writes about digital ink license plates:

Gragg motioned with one black-gloved hand... Gragg's digital ink license plates flicked from California to Oregon vanity tags that read GECCO...

Update 12-Sep-2023: In Home is the Hangman, Roger Zelazny's main character is present when everyone is entered into the Big Database. He removes his own record and is effectively invisible to the law.

In The Shockwave Rider, a 1975 novel by John Brunner, individuals with the right code groupings will never be called into court and their records are always sealed:

For a head it wears a maximum-national-advantage rating, a priority code that I stole from G2S. It was allocated to the corporation because like other hypercorps it's been treated for years as though it were above the law.

"Right behind that, my worm wears a U-group code, which does the same for individuals. The owner of a U-group code will never find himself in court. You don't believe me? Go punch a veephone.

End update.

Via TechDirt.

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