If you are afraid of what Big Brother (aka. the government) is doing to encroach on your personal privacy, you might also want to concern yourself with emerging technologies from certain automakers. One of the latest developments is a new license plate messaging app General Motors is working on. According to a report from Computerworld, a prototype of the new technology was unveiled by GM China Science Lab director John Du during the Telematics Detroit 2014 conference.
The app, as shown off at the conference, is downloaded onto a person’s smartphone. The prototype used an Android-based app, but one for Apple devices would surely be released if the app goes to market. The app then utilizes the camera on the smartphone, allowing people to scan another car’s license plate. With the license plate number stored in the phone, a text message can be sent from the device to the other driver’s smartphone. The bad news is that the other driver does not have to install the app on their phone to be included in the messaging system.
How anyone has been blind to the devious uses such a technology could become a tool for is anyone’s guess. Rather than just honk at a driver who cuts you off, you can scan the guy’s license plate and then send angry text messages, or maybe a bunch of them. See an attractive member of the opposite sex behind the wheel of a car? Become an instant stalker using the app.
The video that was shown during the demonstration actually showed a male driver using the app to ask a female driver out. And of course, the woman accepted the invitation. From a complete stranger. Right.
To call the new technology intrusive and a bad idea is probably a huge understatement. While it’s creepy to think that the federal government wants to scan license plates on freeways, it’s an even worse thought that private citizens could be engaging in similar activities.