By Sarah Fairfield on June 24, 2010
How can a state with a whopping $19 billion budget deficit scrape up some more cash? In our consumerist society minds often turn to selling ad space. Would you believe California is currently considering digital license plates that can display advertising? It’s true — the California state senate actually passed a resolution to look into it and a few companies are already working on producing prototypes. When the vehicle is in motion, the plate would display the license number. Any time the vehicle stops for four seconds or more, an ad would appear. The plate number would still be visible somewhere while the ad shows. The government could also use the e-plates to broadcast Amber Alerts or emergency info.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is pretty outraged by this. Though it may be a legitimate moneymaker, hit the jump to see just a few reasons it’s still a terrible idea.
ALPR Adverts in the UK
An advertising campaign in the UK began using automated number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to identify passing vehicles and create personalized advertisements. The motor oil giant Castrol UK Limited yesterday activated a set of five electronic billboards in London that flash an image of the exact type of Castrol-brand motor oil appropriate for the nearest vehicle. ”The right oil for your car is: Castrol Magnatec 5W-30 A1,” the advertisement reads for eight seconds as a Jaguar with the license plate 1DFL drives past. The roadside digital billboards, seventeen feet wide and eight feet high, are owned by Clear Channel Outdoor. Castrol’s campaign added the license scanning technology which ties into the official UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) database. The agency provides private registration information to just about any company willing to pay the desired fee. According to Castrol, this particular campaign does not store any information about what vehicles or drivers pass the sign.