Monday, July 30, 2007

Free device to combat bicycle theft

2007.July.27 article in the Surry (UK) Advertiser.

I don't like bike theft, but still, I don't really want an RFID tag embedded in my bicycle. How exactly is this different from a serial number on the bicycle? The serial number can be scratched off or otherwise obscured, you say? Well passive RFID tags can be fried. So yeah, it's basically equivalent to a serial number etched into the frame of the bicycle.

The code, bicycle and owner details are registered on a 24-hour database.
Cool! My databases are 16-hour, tops, and that's on a good day.

“[RFID tags and patrolling] enables them to stop cyclist (sic) and ask them to verify ownership of the bicycle. If the cycle is not fitted with a tag, they are still asked questions to confirm that it does belong to them.” ... Anyone who is stopped with a stolen bicycle could be arrested and the bicycle confiscated.
Sounds good. So if your bicycle is not fitted with an RFID tag and you are stopped by one of these patrols, how exactly do you confirm to the police that the bicycle belongs to you? Should I ride around with my sales receipt at all times? What if I forget it, or it's in my other pants?!

I hear that automobile theft is also a problem in some cities. I think that the obvious benefits of such a system should not be confined to the cyclists. Lord knows society already bends over backwards enough for them as it is. I think that this service should be graciously extended to car owners as well. That is, I want a special patrol to stop drivers and ask them questions to confirm that the car belongs to them.

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Blogger Stephen Rees said...

Actually they do. I was stopped in Delta, since I was driving an old white Dodge caravan - apparently the favoured choi8ce of house breakers. All the police have to do is check the license plate - and then ask to see your insurance/vehicle documents and driver's license. Once all that is matched up you are free to go on your way. After you have been forced to sit at the side of the road being dazzled by bright lights and treated as a possible criminal. "Assumption of inncocence" - huh!

04 October, 2007 13:21  
Blogger sgt.turmeric said...

Ah yes, the white van. I believe that white vans are the cheapest vehicle to rent (nobody wants to rent them?).

I was once offered the chance to buy some "high end" speakers out of the back of a white van. The driver explained to me that there had been a mistake with an order, and there were two extra speakers left over and for some convoluted reason his boss would be very angry if he arrived back at the warehouse with these speakers. So I had a chance to pay pennies on the dollar for these fantastic speakers.

This was a well-known scam on campus -- building speakers with cheap components and selling them in this way. I was quite pleased to be targeted.

15 October, 2007 12:02  

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