Adversarial Fashion

4th Amendment Crop Top

The patterns on the goods in this shop are designed to trigger Automated License Plate Readers, injecting junk data in to the systems used by the State and its contractors to monitor and track civilians and their locations.

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30 Responses:

  1. License plate readers may be used in tracking cases, but the most common use case at the moment is for enforcement purposes to prevent drivers from running over your mother or your kids with a car. By far, the most vocal opponents to licence plate readers are not "privacy concern" folks but "I want to drive like an idiot forever" folks.

    (I don't think a speed limit or red light enforcement camera system will get mucked up by this. It might be impossible for the shirt to trigger a nonsense traffic citation. I hope so, at least)

    There are some things we can do to minimize data privacy concerns (auditing for responsible data disposal, no purposeless trackers, mandatory do-not-read-until-violation-is-observed designs). They're not perfect things, but they're things with good results regardless. I present that as a better approach than "no traffic enforcement in cities", which is where things were headed otherwise.

    • jdc says:

      If you try to find out which are tainted by speculating about the wishes of the thinkers, you are merely making a fool of yourself. You must first find out on purely logical grounds which of them do, in fact, break down as arguments. Afterwards, if you like, go on and discover the psychological causes of the error.

      - C.S. Lewis

    • Wout says:

      There's something to be said for not allowing people to drive death machines around with any expectation of privacy, or at least the light version where you have privacy, but machines can monitor for infractions and location history can be obtained with a warrant.

      OTOH there's still going to be some operator with access to all the logs.

      I wonder what totalitarian regimes would look like with such a system. Would it make a big difference if people in North Korea are tracked everywhere while driving?

      There's not really any difference with cell phones...

      • MattyJ says:

        Assuming people in North Korea are allowed to drive at all, you better believe they're already being tracked.

        The difference between cell phones is that you can turn cell phones off.

        • Wout says:

          You can also not use a car? I think the analogy stands.

          • MattyJ says:

            Let's be practical here. Many people live in areas where it's impractical/impossible not to use a car.

            • Wout says:

              Hmm right, it is way easier to go without cell service than it is to become a self sufficient farmer.

              Didn't think of that situation, here across the pond it doesn't happen as much.

              The Amish prove it's possible, but hardly desirable.

    • MattyJ says:

      You misused the word 'prevent'. By the time the reader is invoked and data read, you mother has already been run over. Try again, anti-privacy lobbyist.

      It also might be nice to get a citation for the assertion that the 'reckless driver lobby' is a thing that exists. I don't see many people marching on Congress for the right to drive like maniacs.

      Every piece of data about me collected without my consent is a privacy violation. It all adds up until one day you have no privacy at all.

      I'd like to invoke a Simpsons quote from two decades ago: "Fox turned into a softcore porn channel so gradually I didn't even notice."

      • Camera enforcement causes a long-term effect on driver behavior, according to measurements taken in all cases. Those tickets get drivers to change their ways quickly. In addition, the locations are no secret & end up being documented on Waze and other services soon - but these tip-offs have the effect of getting everyone to drive more carefully around the cameras, not to attempt to jam them. The result is calmed traffic overall.

        That said, I come from NYC where nearly all the police use illegal opaque license plate covers to defeat camera enforcement. A Twitter account was documenting such abuses of equipment laws & illegal parking on cars with police placards around precincts, and the cops promptly had Twitter suspend the account (it’s since been restored). I have to believe any urban lawfulness is a tenuous situation at best.

      • Nick Lamb says:

        The "reckless driver lobby" is a thing you've just invented, what your parent comment said was that vocal opponents are "I want to drive like an idiot forever" folks.

        We have those here too. You won't find them in the Palace of Westminster waiting outside the chambers (that is what "lobbying" refers to, the practice of standing in the lobby to talk to representatives who pass through it) but you will find that they're spending a lot of money on lawyers. They want a way, any way, no matter how despicable, to keep driving. They want to keep driving even if they've have no insurance, they've knocked down a little kid and driven off, they drank so much they couldn't get out of the car without two cops holding them up, no matter what they did they want (and their legal fees will be spent looking for) any way to get back behind the wheel.

        They've been pretty successful. Law firms advertise that if you've got the cash they are pretty confident they can find a way to keep you driving, no matter what. They will argue that you weren't really drunk, it was a faulty device - look at the laboratory that the cops sent the meter to for calibration, it has an employee who once smoked marijuana - hence the results must be disregarded, you were probably sober. The insurance must have been a mix-up, you definitely intended to buy some, but somehow forgot and the reminders must have been sent to the wrong address. They will say that 5 year would have died anyway, nobody can prove that being smashed by your car killed her, maybe she had a heart attack and then you just struck her lifeless body. Demand fresh autopsies - if the parents don't want their child dug up and taken to pieces you must be innocent. If they fail over and over and your license to drive is really taken away - drive anyway and then they'll go through the same acrobatics to argue you didn't know that meant you shouldn't drive, you thought it was to get a new photo, or you were confused and thought it only meant you couldn't drive the Ferrari, so you drove the Range Rover instead. It was just a mistake, you shouldn't go to jail...

        One of my hobbies is attending court, you see a lot of these people there, well, mostly the lawyers. Every single one of the drivers seems to live in an especially remote place, the car is, without fail, "their only lifeline" and so it would be unfair to stop them driving says the advocate. I've never seen anybody ask to see a map. They're always "very sorry" for whatever they do admit to doing, although it does at least seem as though on a third or fourth offense the defense barristers understand that this claim is perfunctory and they don't labor it.

      • thielges says:

        ”It also might be nice to get a citation for the assertion that the 'reckless driver lobby' is a thing that exists.”

        As to the relevance and impact harvesting license plate data from enforcement cameras: that’s been continuously diluted as other private data streams become available to anyone willing to pay. That Ring doorbell your neighbor across the street installed knows your comings and goings.

        Disabling all public enforcement cameras won’t even put a dent in data available for tracking. But it will have a big effect on how motorists behave.

      • tfb says:

        Perhaps where you live everyone obeys speed limits: they don't where I live. Perhaps where you live the laws of physics are other than they are where I live and speeding does not increase the chance of hitting pedestrians and cyclists & the the severity of injuries and probability of death as a result of hitting them in a much worse than linear way. These people (who, statistically, are all drivers) are 'the reckless driver lobby'. Perhaps where you live you don't have average speed checks which work by number-plate recognition, and perhaps,where you live, you have not observed that they work, unlike any number of signs. Perhaps where you live swamping the system that lets these checks actually generate fines and bans for the fuckwits who ignore them seems like a good thing.

        I'm as worried about privacy as the next person, but fuck you if you defend car drivers. (I am a car driver.) It would be nice if someone put effort into systems which let these fuckers get nicked while not enabling surveillance, but don't defend them.

      • Eric says:

        It also might be nice to get a citation for the assertion that the 'reckless driver lobby' is a thing that exists.

        You've never heard of AAA? Really?

        • MattyJ says:

          You do know that AAA is an insurance company. And you also know how insurance companies make money, right? I don't think the AAA I know about would be lobbying to try to create an environment where more accidents happen.

    • margaret says:

      you totally missed the mark on the cop cars/tow trucks/etc driving around all day feeding their data back to , driving around scanning plates of citizens doing every day legal things, often while parked on private property. that mass surveillance by the state sucks. if you are one of those "if you aren't doing anything illegal then you shouldn't care about your privacy" types then kindly fuck off.

      many cities, mine included, have taken down the red light cameras because there is no evidence that they were an effective deterrent to running red lights. further, in the usa, you have the right to face your accuser, so cases were being thrown out. once they were shown to be an ineffective way to pad the coffers of the jurisdiction their time had come.

      • margaret says:

        to = the big NSA datacenter in the sky and/or private databases with no accountability or traceability.

      • jwz says:

        In my firsthand experience, red light cameras work. If you're within five blocks of a freeway onramp any weekday afternoon, the intersections are a nightmare maze of light-running and gridlock from asshats who don't understand how yellow lights and intersections work.

        Except with the notable few examples of intersections with cameras. Somehow, magically, at those intersections, the asshats do understand how yellow lights work.

        • margaret says:

          the reports i read and where i was coming from were about the effectiveness of collision prevention. side-impacts went down a little, rear-end collisions went up a lot when cameras went in. i tend to think that the person that runs a red light at full speed is inattentive while the person that tries to get across in grid-lock is a douchebag. different use cases, but also not my area of expertise. luckily i'm an internet commentator so my lack of knowledge and data is orthogonal to how passionate i may be on any given topic.

        • Rich says:

          In mine, they don't.

          I received a citation for not-actually crossing an intersection at red even though I crossed the Stop line on yellow. It took some digging to find information about the hidden ‘Line of Enforcement’, which is a full 20′ farther into the intersection than the Stop line – about a second at 15mph, which was my clocked speed.

          It would've been unsafe to stop on the yellow. Not for me, but for the motorcyclist riding my bumper (also clocked).

          I've never been in a collision accident in 30+ years driving.

          Funnily enough, now the CCTV cameras have gone, the yellow light timers have gone back to the customary 4 seconds, back from 1½. This was never about collision prevention. It was always about revenue collection.

          • Nick Lamb says:

            The yellow shouldn't be set based on a specific amount of time, that's crazy. What should happen (and does in most developed nations but maybe not the US because it's a dysfunctional nightmare) is that a central government department works out what the safe rule is and then mandates that same rule for all light-controlled junctions. Shortening or lengthening a phase to increase revenue ought not to be a thing.

            Examples of things you'd expect to be factors in that rule:

            * Maximum legal approach speed
            * Size of junction
            * Legal minimum brake performance of road vehicles
            * Incline
            * Typical driver reaction time

      • MattyJ says:

        Great moments in 'if you aren't doing anything wrong ...' history:

        Star of David patch
        Voter ID
        Japanese internment

  2. jwz says:

    This really does hit the sweet spot between two of my core emotional responses, "fuck the panopticon" and "fuck car culture".

  3. 205guy says:

    Somehow I doubt that the medal shown wearing that shirt will trigger many plate readers, too much form-fitting distortion of the image.

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