The new California digital license plate is hitting the streets in Sacremento. These new plates offer up a variety of new technologies that could make life easier for motorists and the state. The California digital license plate works much like the display of a Kindle eReader. Having this technology would allow drivers to renew their plates online and not bother with physical plate stickers. The DMV can then change the expiration on the plate electronically. The plates also have the ability to display personal messages, if the DMV allows that.
But the new California digital license plate is also raising privacy concerns. The new plates also have a GPS system that can track the plate, thus tracking your car. It’s helpful if the car should get stolen. If the car is stolen the plate can be triggered to display the word “stolen” bringing attention to the car. But is giving up your privacy worth catching a car thief? And if your car is never stolen your location is still always known. These are just some of the concerns some have with this new product.
For now, the new plates are just being tested and are said to be an optional choice. The cost for these new plates is $699USD not including the install and a $7USD monthly fee. It’s important to note, the California DMV does not issue these plates but is working with a private company to test them.
In a recent blog posting, Alex Roy, an editor at The Drive website, raised those and other questions.
“What little privacy we have left is annihilated,” he wrote. “This makes sense for fleet management. For my personal car? No thanks.”
Neville Boston, the founder of Reviver Auto, said he expects initial interest to come from companies for their vehicle fleets.
Neville Boston is probably correct here. These plates make perfect sense for a company fleet but I certainly wouldn’t want the DMV in my state to adopt these for private vehicles.
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