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Security & privacy

Digital license plates are coming packed with a ton of tracking sensors

Car technology has grown by leaps and bounds recently. If you have a newer model car, you’ll at least have some of the modern tech perks available right now.

Take Bluetooth connectivity, for example. We sometimes take it for granted but the convenience of having your smartphone automatically connect to your car’s audio system without lifting a finger is definitely something that’s a must-have for many people. Not only is it super convenient, but it’s much safer having hands-free phone conversations than the old-school way.

Unfortunately, not all of the new bells and whistles are completely safe. We saw that first-hand last month when a self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian in Arizona crossing the street.

Now, another new tech item making its way onto vehicles could seriously jeopardize your privacy.

Can you even imagine all this data coming from your license plate?

I’m talking about a “smart” digital license plate that is being tested in Dubai. It’s going to be implemented on select test vehicles next month and the test should conclude by November, according to the BBC.

Now you know if this test works, it’s only a matter of time before we see the tech in many other countries, including right here in the United States.

Apparently, the purpose of having a smart license plate is for safety reasons. They will be embedded with collision-detection sensors and GPS tracking sensors. That means if you get into an accident, the plate will automatically contact emergency services for you.

The plates will also let drivers communicate with other drivers in real-time. This can give you a heads-up on upcoming road conditions or if there’s an accident causing a traffic jam.  (or it might take road-rage to a whole new level.)

Also, if your car is stolen, the plates will display an alert that lets officials know it’s been jacked. These do sound like some interesting features to have, until you think about the consequences.

Here’s the problem, well there’s more than one problem

Well, actually there are a couple problems. First, is it’s an intrusion on your privacy.

With GPS tracking sensors and transmitters installed, your location will never be private. God only knows who will be able to hack into the system to find out what you are up to at all times. It might even be a girlfriend/boyfriend snooping on you to keep track of where you are and where you’re going.

Second, now pay attention, this is a huge problem! To use the digital plates, you need to connect your bank account or credit card to it. Your stored payment information is used to pay for renewing your plates, fines and parking fees.

Nothing could go wrong there now could it? Sarcasm in full affect, of course.

Just think if a hacker were able to break into your license plate and steal your banking information. You know that’s where this is heading. Cybercriminals take advantage of every opportunity to rip us off, and now it’s going mobile.

Have a question about these smart plates or anything tech related? Kim has your answer! Click here to send Kim a question.

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