| ...unless people are willing to go very hi-tech in their toll evasion
| maneuvers, implementing, say, thin see-through LCD screens placed over their
| license plates that turn opaque at a push of a button....
A local TV station here in the NY area did a show about a lower-tech version
of the same thing:  A plastic cover for the plate that is supposed to cause
enough glare in a camera that the plate is unreadable when snapped by the
various automated speed traps and red-light-running traps out there.  These
things are apparently advertised in all the car magazines.  According to the
TV show, they vary in effectiveness, from quite effective for some kinds of
cameras in certain uses to pretty much ineffective.

A universal feature of all such devices is that they are illegal.  At least
around here (and I think in most if not all states), license plates may not be
covered *at all*.  If any kind of device emerged that was effective at
actually making plates unreadable, I can easily see municipalities make using
one into a parking violation - a quick source of revenue, at least until most
people figured out that it wasn't worth it to buy these things.

How long before license plates have transponders built into them?  After all,
it's long-established law that you can be required to place an identifier on
your car when it's on the public roads - why's there a difference between one
that responds at optical frequencies and one that responds at a couple of
gigahertz?  (For that matter, even if you want to stick to optical and you
can't get plate reading accurate enough, the technology for reading bar codes
from moving vehicles is well-developed - it's been used for years to identify
railroad cars, and many gated communities use them to open the gates for cars
owned by residents.)
                                                        -- Jerry

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