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Malaysia to Use RFID Number Plates Next Year 104

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the following-cars-made-easy dept.
durianwool wrote in with a story about Malaysia's plans to introduce RFID number plates. It reads: "'The first thing thieves do after a car theft is change the registration plates,' Road Transport Department Director-General Ahmad Mustapha was quoted as saying. The microchips, using radio frequency identification technology, will be fixed into the number plates and can transmit data at a range of up to 100 meters (yards), the report said. They will have a battery life of 10 years, it said. "
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Malaysia to Use RFID Number Plates Next Year

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  • by Yetihehe (971185) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @11:29AM (#17174016)
    will be to fry, change or overwrite RFID tag
    • by arivanov (12034) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @12:11PM (#17174374) Homepage
      And how exactly are you going to cross a road toll or a police checkpoint?

      This is one of the few possible use of RFID which make sense. Your number plate is out in plain sight anyway, it is also visible at the same or greater distance as the reader range. So there is no privacy implication here. In fact many privately run road toll systems already use this tech and this is simply an extension to cover the entire country.

      Compared to the alternatives like Ken Livingston's London CCTV camera recognition and the UK dept of tranport "GPS in every car" scheme this is considerably less privacy invasive and much much cheaper. In fact - I would prefer this to them any day (especially to the GPS in every car idea).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by garcia (6573)
        Ah, because they don't need human interaction in order to check for you passing between the gates. If someone is sitting at a computer monitor with a stopwatch mechanism and times you between the gates and calculates that you are speeding, I have no problems with the "technology" (as it's just like VASCAR over a longer distance).

        What I do have a problem with is automated systems to do this job (i.e. lowjacking cars) so that it's fast and easy to make revenue.
        • by Sancho (17056) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:42PM (#17175126) Homepage
          In a situation like this, you'd eventually see a complete turnover of traffic laws. Traffic analysts have shown that without speeders, congestion is unbelievable (or more accurately, if everyone is going the same speed, the congestion is terrible). Because so many people are willing to go the speed limit, and a few people drive below and above it, traffic flow is reasonable. Speeders only speed because there is a low chance of being caught.

          With automatic tracking/ticketing of speeders, beyond the obvious problem of loaning your car to someone, you'll see the roads getting clogged constantly. Something will have to be done to alleviate the problem, and that something will either be having personal speed limits (you can drive faster if you pass a safety test), greater public transportation to reduce the cars on the road (I'm all for this--there's virtually none in my state), bigger roads (ug), or a reversal to manually tracked speeding.
          • Couldn't the same effect be achieved if nobody actually exceeded the speed limit, as long as there were some people driving slower than most other drivers?

            • by evolseven (941210)
              Not necessarily, as I believe a road can handle more cars per hour the faster they are traveling. So that might negate your advantage..
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by p43751 (170402)
                You would believe a road can handle more cars the faster they go. If you really looked at the facts you would find that with quite simple math you can draw a line-chart showing cars/hour and you would see that you are correct all the way up to around 17 km/h after that you actually get less cars/hour. The reason is quite simple, the space each car use increase as the speed go up so that every car will have enough space to stop(remember 1 sec. 2 sec.. 3..)

                So max cars pr hour on a straight road all using a re
                • by ivan256 (17499)
                  What can be considered a reasonable distance between cars stops growing when you reach a certain speed. Just because you can travel the distance between the two cars in less time at a higher speed doesn't mean the car in front of you is going to be able to reduce its speed relative to yours any faster.

                  The following distance doesn't have to be as great on multi lane roads, either, since you have an option other than stopping if it car in front of you slams on the breaks... You can change lanes.

                  If stopping at
            • The highways are not something you just dump something on. They're not a truck.

              They're a series of tubes.

              And the faster the things move down the tubes, the more things you can move through the tubes ...

              In Soviet Russia, bad technology analogy explains cars!
          • On tolled roads another option could be to have speed-dependent pricing: Have the price go up when exceeding the desired most common speed, and have an absolute speed limit a bit above that. A few people will be willing to pay the additional price for the additional speed, while the majority will just keep at the maximum normal-price speed instead.
          • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
            having personal speed limits (you can drive faster if you pass a safety test)

            Extremely dangerous. You don't want cars limited to 50 mph sharing the same road with cars zooming along at 80. Speed differential kills!

            -b.

            • But that's already how it is...

              And honestly, some people are much more comfortable and capable driving compared to others.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by sgtrock (191182)
              That's still a manageable risk, though, with proper training, laws, enforcement, and to a lesser extent better road design. Have you ever driven on the autobahn? Cars zipping along at up to 140+ mph in the inside lane, 70-100 mph in the middle lane or two, while the outside lane lumbers along at 50-60 mph. Accidents are rare, although admittedly when they involve the inner two lanes things can get kinda messy.

              The Germans do it by having a longer driving course than the US does, their traffic laws and pen
              • German system better, accidents are rare? I'd welcome some stats on that. It would be really interesting to compare the number of accidents on autobahns in Germany with freeways in the USA and perhaps motorways in the UK where I'm from.

                I have to say as a British driver I found the 2-lane (in each direction) autobahns bloody scary with the speed differential: once I drove across Germany with a couple of mates in an old VW saloon and the experience of having to pull out from behind a convoy of trucks going at
                • by sgtrock (191182)
                  I honestly don't remember where I saw the comparison on accident rates as it was a few years ago. I just remember being impressed by the low number of fatalities when compared to the U.S. Sorry.

                  I've had the opportunity to drive in Germany just once, but I honestly didn't find it all that hard to adapt to driving there. I was driving a 4 cylinder rental with just a couple of kids instead of an old VW bus with several adults, so I may have more acceleration than you did.

                  However, I can tell you that I quick
                  • by fantomas (94850)
                    10 year old saloon car not a bus, but definitely unhappy at over 85 mph, not a year old rental car that can accelerate like a sports car. Actually it was so unhappy I buggered the wheel bearings on one side on autobahns but then I learnt a useful lesson - if you're going to have a car problem with a VW, do it in Germany. Local garage near our mates house took it in and fixed it for the next morning, worked late to do it. Fantastic. We bought the guy a handful of bottles of beer and he said "thanks, but it'
          • Maybe if everyone drove the speed limit, and the roads got completely congested, the roads would be safer, and more people would walk or take public transport, and help alleviate the two big environmental and health issues in America.
            • by Sancho (17056)
              I live in a medium-sized city with virtually no public transport... neither walking nor our pitiful public transport is feasible for me.
              • I live in a medium-sized city with virtually no public transport... neither walking nor our pitiful public transport is feasible for me.
                If your city is big enough to get congestion, public transport and walking facilities would improve enormously. The only reason things are the way they are is that most people don't want it any other way. But since when have people known what's best for them?
          • by xmundt (415364)
            Greetings and Salutations

            Actually, it has been my observation (and other studies have shown) that even flow is PROMOTED by similar speeds. Around here (where there is a fair amount of interstate construction going on at the moment) the big clogs occur when speeders go blasting up to the choke point, then have to slam on their brakes and slow down. It produces a standing wave that can last for HOURS after the initial burst of traffic. This behavior also cuts down on the o
      • by h2g2bob (948006)
        I fully agree - this is good use of RFID. It probably won't help with theft, but it won't hurt either. As for congestion charge use, that's a good use: it uses it for tracking things - what RFID was designed for.
      • While I agreed with you initially, I RTFA and it says the chip contains information about the vehicle and its owner. I think there's a difference between broadcasting "XYZ-123," which is meaningless to just about anyone, and broadcasting "I'm XYZ-123, I'm owned by John Doe who lives at 123 Main Street USA." If someone figured out a way to read these things, they could, hypothetically, drive around scanning for nice cars, take note of where they live, and go steal or break into them later. It all depends
        • Gee.... maybe they should get smart and just have it broadcast "I'm XYZ-123 and I'm attached to vehicle A with VIN 1ZX7846927AB2342346"
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by 4815162342 (940334)
        Actually I have to agree with this. Normally I am opposed to the increasing use of technology in ways which reduce our privacy.
        However in this case I think the benefits actually outweigh the costs.

        I do see potential for abuse but I also see how this technology can be used to make car theft (and particularly resale) much more difficult.

        The way I see it, it could work like this:

        Licensing authority when issuing plates encodes the following information on the integrated chip:
        "KV4782-Blue Honda Civic Saloon-VIN
      • by GeekZilla (398185)
        "Your number plate is out in plain sight anyway, it is also visible at the same or greater distance as the reader range. So there is no privacy implication here."

        Uh...no. Last time I checked, I couldn't read a license plate at 100 yards-so it isn't the same thing. Also, if I want to sit on the sidewalk and record every license plate that drives by my business or maybe, the local pr0n shop, I could do that-but man would it get boring. Now however, I can automate the process. I don't even have to be there-j
      • less wrong is acceptable? How about just saying no to ANYTHING that isnt acceptable?

        This is invasive, and wide open for abuse. its wrong, period.

        Now, if it was 10inch, instead of 100yards, you might have an argument that its good for the cops.
        • by GeekZilla (398185)
          "less wrong is acceptable? How about just saying no to ANYTHING that isnt acceptable?"

          Thank you! Well freakin' said.
    • "number plates and can transmit data at a range of up to 100 meters (yards)"
      A meter is 39.37 in, 1000 cm
      A yard is 36 in, 91.44 cm

      At 100 meters, the difference between meters and yards is about 30 feet, or 10 yards.
      • Yes, yards and meters are different, but by less than 10%. RFID range is highly unlikely to be that precise - it's going to depend on angles, speeds, battery age, dirt, equipment sensitivity. If you care about the answer, either because you've stolen a car or because you don't want your government tracking everywhere everybody in your country goes, or because you don't want advertisers or burglars easily tracking cars, you know they can nail you at around that distance.

        At least this isn't like the US RFID

    • Wow, the trip back this year is gonna be interesting ;)
    • Or wrap the numberplate in tin foil.

      Oh wait...
  • by zappepcs (820751)
    RFID tags that use batteries?? That just sounds like lo-jack?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Colgate2003 (735182)
      There are both passive (no battery) and active (battery-assisted) tags. Want an example of an active RFID? Try EZ-Pass [ezpass.com].
      • The only thing remarkable about RFID technology is the battery-free property. Anything which needs power might as well be called a "radio transmitter" and not RFID.
        • by scdeimos (632778)

          The only thing remarkable about RFID technology is the battery-free property. Anything which needs power might as well be called a "radio transmitter" and not RFID.

          RFIDs are radio transmitters, just with a bit of smarts. Battery-powered RFID is completely valid. They have drive-by applications where the tag cannot be expected to pass within a couple of meters of reader/writer devices, but because of battery life limitations need to be replaced every few years.

          So-called "Passive RFID" tags are still acti

          • I did not mean to imply that a passive RFID tag is not a radio transponder. I only intended to point out that battery-powered radio transponders are common and uninteresting. RFID is interesting and uniquely useful only because of passive RFID.
  • Step 1: Steal Car
    Step 2: Change plates and either clone or transfer original RFID tag
    Step 3: There is not Step 3
    Step 4: Profit!!!
    • by bogaboga (793279)
      Change step 2 to:

      Fit the stolen car with your own number plates complete with relevant RFID information and presto!

      There is nothing to suggest that criminals cannot produce these tags. Malaysia is not a backward country. Heck they produce some of the technology our [American] government uses in some cases.
      • Change step 2 to:
         
        Fit the stolen car with your own number plates complete with relevant RFID information and presto!
        A digital signature on the RFID tag should be sufficient to prevent that.
    • If thieves are just swapping plates on stolen cars embedding a tag in the plate will not change much. As tyre manufacturers are currently embedding RFID tags in new tyres now, would it not be easier to just scan the tyres at a checkpoint. If this is combined with an automatic number plate recgonition camera it would be simple to check if the tyre ID's match the number plate. If the number plate did not match then the police could assume with a high degree of confidence that the vehicle is stolen.

    • Step 1: See car you want to steal

      Do you know that there is RFID tags? If yes go to Step 4

      Step 2: Steal car (hard in itself)
      Step 3: Get caught

      Stop Here

      Step 4: Feel daunted by technological measures (as most people are)

      Do you have the technology to duplicate the RFID tag? If yes go to Step 6

      Step 5: Steal the car and get caught, or just don't bother

      Stop Here

      Step 6: Contemplate your time to steal the car

      Can you replace the RFID in time?

      etc, etc.

      Not so simple, huh?
  • Not groundbreaking (Score:3, Informative)

    by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx.gmail@com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @11:36AM (#17174078) Homepage Journal
    This is not as groundbreaking as it would seem. I believe all new automobile tires in the U.S. come with unique, tamper-proof RFID chips in them already.
    • There is tamper-evident, and tamper-self-destructing.

      Unless the car depends on the chip to work, it should be easy to disable the chip using microwaves or some such. The hard part is destroying it without causing visible damage to the tire.
      • You don't even need visible damage to render a tyre unsafe - I wouldn't want to microwave a RFID unit in my tyre, possibly generating a small bubble that's delaminated some of the plies in the tyre and have it blow out at 100+ km/h
    • by MollyB (162595)

      ...new automobile tires in the U.S. come with unique, tamper-proof RFID chips in them already.
      Genuinely curious about "tamper-proof" and the implications for sticking these things in people, which I should think would be the most-likely goal for such a Machavellian technology.

      Try to keep the tinfoil-hat jokes sparse, please.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by thestuckmud (955767)

      I believe all new automobile tires in the U.S. come with unique, tamper-proof RFID chips in them already.

      No. Not yet, anyway. There is a standard for auto tire RFIDs, that meets both automobile industry and retail requirements, but RFID industry sources say it will be years before these are widely deployed. Michelin is testing them. Goodyear has them to track leased race tires. Your car does not.

      Even so, it may be time to start thinking of ways to extend that tin foil hat.

  • Ok, so probably they will be scanning every car that passes through a roadblock, the one that doesn't have a valid RFID information will be pulled over.

    How does that make it harder than changing registration plates? Can't you just remove the registration plate with the RFID tagged as "stolen" for another one from a car that wasn't reported stolen?

    What's the catch?
    • by Threni (635302)
      > Can't you just remove the registration plate with the RFID tagged as
      > "stolen" for another one from a car that wasn't reported stolen?

      Where do you get non-stolen cars from, other than by buying them?

      • by in2mind (988476)
        > Can't you just remove the registration plate with the RFID tagged as > "stolen" for another one from a car that wasn't reported stolen? Where do you get non-stolen cars from, other than by buying them?
        Simply removing the plate from another car & leaving that car alone does it.
        What's the idea?
        • by Threni (635302)
          > Simply removing the plate from another car & leaving that car alone does it.

          Presumably the owner of a car with no plates will get in touch with the police and those plates will be treated as stolen?

          > What's the idea?

          Is this a sigfile, joke, what?
    • If they just scanned at roadblocks that would probably work. What they really need to do is have a network of sensors that log traffic. They can either track the car from the logs, or if plates were switched, figure out what plates were substituted and track that. Thieves probably aren't up on graph theory.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FlyByPC (841016)
        Um, and have the government know exactly where every car is, where they've been, and how long they've been there?

        What a doubleplusgood idea for MiniLuv, citizen...

        I for one do NOT welcome any such RFID overlords.
        • Ever tried driving round the UK?

          Number plates are quite frequently scanned to check for speeding. If you are caught speeding, you get a letter saying where you were when caught speeding. How do you think that works?
    • The catch is the car thieves, according to the plan.

      You're right, though. It wouldn't take much effort to get "valid" plates. One could buy a junker, or steal the plates, or simply go to the DMV and buy a set of plates. The RFID does nothing to strengthen the link between registration plate and vehicle. It seems to me, the only thing it is good for is automating the plate lookup on the police computer at the roadblock. That way, when the computer says a red Datsun should be coming through the roadblo
  • I don't get it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shmlco (594907) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @11:42AM (#17174132) Homepage
    I don't get it. The first thing they do is change the plates... so we're going to put tags into the plates???
    • I couldn't parse that, either. :-\

      Why not embed the chip in the structure of the car- somewhere in the frame? Or pull a Lojack and put it in a random location even the owner doesn't know. Do it at factory and use the VIN.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573)
      The first thing the government does is tell its people that its spying protects them from harm.
    • Maybe so they can get the plates back?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tilandal (1004811)
      Your plates are registered to a VIN. They scan the plate to get the VIN from the RFID tag. They then look at the VIN on your car and if they don't match you go to jail.
      • by shmlco (594907)
        So? My plates are registered to a VIN. They READ the plate and lookup the matching VIN. They then check the VIN on your car. If they don't match they go to jail.

        So what did the RFID gain me again?
    • by drawfour (791912)
      Two ways this helps.

      1. New plate does not have RFID signal. Police pull over car for having an improperly registered car, and do manual checks. If things are A-OK, the guy is sent off with a "fix-it ticket", which probably means no fine, he couldn't know the RFID chip was malfunctioning, but needs to get a new plate within 2 weeks or something. Or upon manual inspection, it is found that this is a stolen car (from VIN number, registration, etc...)

      2. New plate has an RFID signal. Police driving along
      • by xmundt (415364)
        Greetings and Salutations...
        1) I suspect that what will happen is that in areas that have high car theft rates, we would see a huge increase in the sale of rf generators designed to burn out the chips. If I were running a car theft ring, I would be as interested as I could be in ensuring that a goodly percentage of the vehicles running around had their rfid chip zapped. A quick drive through a parking lot at almost any mall would produce hundreds of unmarked cars
  • I am wondering if the cost spent on deployment, not of the plates (that could passed on to the consumer) but the scanners to the law enforcement, wouldn't be better spent on something like addressing the spread of HIV in their population.

    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/malaysia_2412. html [unicef.org] from the link "HIV/AIDS prevalence is increasing. Reported HIV cases are doubling every three years."
    • The Malaysian government is full of hair brained idiotic ideas.

      The fact is, this plan is nothing more than another way for the ministers to siphon off public money into their own private pockets. I am sure that one of our many minister's relative or friend would be the beneficiary of the government contract to supply the technology for these RFID tags. And as what usually happens here, the payment the government makes to this contractor will be far beyond the market price.

      Corrupt and stupid, that what the M
  • i guess (Score:2, Informative)

    by sleepsleep (1019008)
    i guess it would works like this eg. when the thief steals a car, they would change the plate, (if that plate is without RFID tag) the police would probably double check the car and its owner, if the replaced plate got its own RFID tag, the police would check the car description based on that RFID tag, if it is correct, then they can pass the block, otherwise, the police would invite them to police station.

    btw, the police could just drive along the road and just check everybody RFID tag and their car des
  • Meters (yards) ??? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by drpimp (900837)
    "can transmit data at a range of up to 100 meters (yards)"

    Which on is it?
    100 meters = 109.36133 yd

    It might not be much at only 100 of them, but there is a difference.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ralph Yarro (704772)
      INSIGHTFUL?

      The range isn't really a round number of standard measuring units. In fact it isn't even constant, depending instead on a whole range of conditions and on the equipment in use. 100 meters and 100 yards are both approximations that are sufficiently inaccurate that it really doesn't matter which you use.
      • by drpimp (900837)
        Insightful, perhaps not. Estimation or not, by no means are meters = yards ... PERIOD that was my point. Nice spin though. If you "estimate" meters and yards on a larger scale, your estimation deviates substantially. Measurements are based on something set by humans, outside the scope of what we know, they mean nothing more.
    • by b.burl (1034274)
      Ot, but does anyone except teh united states still use the imperial system, zepplins, or leech therapy?
      • Ot, but does anyone except teh united states still use the imperial system, zepplins, or leech therapy?

        I live around the corner from a place called "Master Ee Leech Therapy" in Malaysia.

        No Zeppelins though.

    • It might not be much at only 100 of them, but there is a difference.

      However .002 meters is the same as .002 yards.

  • Stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Life700MB (930032) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:16PM (#17174918)

    I work in a RFID related start-up and I can assure you that putting the RFID tags in the plates just doesn't make sense, is just like adding a control number to the plate... what you want to know is if the plates correspond to the car, not a second way of identifying the plates!!!

    They should add the tag into the inners of the car, so they can detect when a detected RFID value and the plate don't match. It's a lot more useful, IMHO.

    Also I found funny to see the specs of the RFID chips (tags, as we know them) of 100 meters and ten years of battery, are exactly the same as ours... it would be priceless to discover reading Slashdot that our American partners are doing extra hours without telling my boss!!!

    Superb hosting [tinyurl.com] 200GB Storage, 2_TB_ bandwidth, php, mysql, rails, ssh, $7.95
  • Border controls, some police departments and who knows else already implement optical automatic liscence plate detection and scanning.

    The only difference is this has the potential to be a little cheaper. I don't see any cause for more fuss, if you're OK with the license plate being on your car already. What's the difference if it's done via RFID?

  • by Marcos Eliziario (969923) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:41PM (#17175108) Homepage Journal
    My country is going to introduce RFID plates, starting with cargo trucks, next year. What really pisses me off is that nobody here seems to care about the huge privacy issues related to this.
  • They will have a battery life of 10 years, it said
    I thought the whole idea of RFID is that the chip is powered by the reader so that the issue of battery life disappears.
  • Can you stick one in the microwave, put it on high for 30 seconds, and have it come out fine?
  • Can someone hit me with a clue-stick, please ?

    We're driving an old car that probably nobody feels like stealing voluntarily. Often enough I don't even lock it.
    If we were in MY, from next year on I couldn't sleep well at night without glueing, welding and chaining the plates to the venerable car. Why ? Because - I bet - chances are exorbitant that in the next morning I'll own a car without plates; something that will be *a lot* of hassle, to explain, drive, and whatnot.
    Why? Because a car thief finds quite a
    • by squizzar (1031726)
      Surely the solution is fairly simple. You put an RFID tag on the car and an RFID tag on the vehicle. If they don't match then you have a problem... Put it somewhere it cant't be easily modified - link it with the ECU/immobiliser or something. Break/change the chip, car stops working.

      Of course this does require twice as many RFID tags!

      Surely a great number of possibilities exist. Put an RFID scanner in the car, connected to the ECU. When you start the car it looks for its numberplate, a chassis ID code
  • Talk about an invasion of privacy!

    Now radio tracker come standard.
  • by ady1 (873490)
    They already started using such number plates for all newly registered vehicles since august of this year. Make no mistakes, RFID is here to stay.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Norway has been using the autopass system for about 8 years to charge a road-toll (http://www.autopass.no/om_autopass/english.stm [autopass.no]). The system is currently abused to collect "anonymized" information about traffick-flow in parts of the country (http://www2.geoweb.no/stilistisk/om_dynamit.html [geoweb.no])

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