Reader Question: Defeating Plate Readers?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Nunya asks: While Clovers will say “I have nothing to hide so why should I care” – that statement reflects total irreverence to the Constitution, its framers and those who fought and died to secure our independence from government tyranny. So, without further ado, is there anything out there that will defeat a license plate reader that is commonly used today by armed government workers?

My reply: The best tactic I know of is to partially obscure the plate, either by using a frame of some kind that makes some of the numbers/letters slightly illegible or by slightly bending the plate. I do this with the plates on my truck; it’s easy and it’s plausibly deniable if  I have to deal with an armed government worker… the lower portion is bent under, following the curve of the bumper… whoops, must’ve happened when I was pushing snow last year with the plow. Mud/dirt works, too.

You can buy translucent plate covers that don’t obscure the plate to the direct view by human eyes but which make it hard on the eyes of the ALPRs. I have not however read or seen objective studies as to the effectiveness of these.

I agree with you that it’s both depressing – and terrifying – how insouciant and indifferent most people are to this creeping tyranny.

We face a mighty foe – and that includes, unfortunately, millions of our fellow Americans.

. . .

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  1. The best way would be to pack as many IR LEDs as possible around the plate aimed both at the plate and outward. Plate readers use CMOS sensors that are sensitive to IR light, so it would cause too much glare for them to read the plate. But humans can’t see IR, so a cop wouldn’t know the difference.

    You could also modulate the LEDs so they could jam a lidar gun while you are at it.

  2. Unfortunately, as you imply, it is illegal in most states to obscure the clear reading of a license plate in any way. In fact, even transparent/clear plastic protective covers (to keep the plate clean of road dirt) are technically illegal in most states for the same reason. Even over-large license plate frames can be deemed illegal by any officer at his discretion. Guilty until proven innocent. One wonders if simply having a too-dirty license plate is also a violation of some law. “Sorry officer, I just haven’t washed my car since I got her out of that last mud hole.”

    On a totally unrelated note, there are aftermarket devices that are for off-road use only (e.g., car shows, for fun) that attach to the license plate area and can flip over a flat panel with a plate mounted on each side a la spy cars in movies. They can be actuated from a button inside the car (usually simply a long wire run through the trunk to the driver’s area).


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