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Photoblocker is it legal?
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etters
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to know if the police could prove that you put it on the number plate in the first place, if you were unaware that it was on it when you bought the car, room for thought I think.
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martike
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does it matter ? If you're driving a car you're responsible for the condition it's in. Brakes, steering, tyres, lights, number plate, and so on.

If your tyres are defective it doesn't matter who put them on or whether they were on the car when you bought it. Same for the number plate.
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Skippy
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaFt wrote:
Skippy wrote:
but displaying one incorrectly (ie, dirty, wrong size, wrong position etc) will probably only get you will probably a £30 fixed penalty (no points)

£1000 i believe now


Yes, and speeding is a £1000 fine too - or £2500 if you are speeding on a motorway!

Sounds scary doesn't it, but these are the maximum fines which can be imposed upon conviction in a magistrates court for such a transgression.

It's most likely that you will be given a £30 fixed penalty notice, unless you were doing something seriously naughty in addition (drunk/dangerous/careless driving) in which case you will go to court and the dodgy number plate is the least of your worries unless you have a hotshot lawyer.
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etters
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I suppose that the only answer is when you buy a car, you go and get new number plates as well, just to be on the safe side.
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telematicsman
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 2:16 am    Post subject: ACPO ANPR Reply with quote

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Police take number plates very seriously these days as they have recently built a network of number plate reading cameras. These special sprays are regarded by them with some amusement as their cameras can read through them. More primitive film based systems like 'Gatso' can generally manage to as well though they are now mostly the safety camera partnership's problem. The police can also retrieve historical data so, for example if a vehicle is involved in or used for crime they can check for previous sightings. If you are interested you can download an MS Word copy of their strategy document from the ACPO website

http://www.acpo.police.uk/policies.asp

Generally the advice is don’t use these things and don’t assume they are effective, these cameras are designed to cope with dirt, muck, spray etc. The police have strong powers to deal with illegible number plates and the fines are substantial. My local police left a number of people who are ‘known to them’ with non-standard number plates alone as they have a convenient excuse to stop them whenever they like and modern ANPR can still read them!
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Naomi
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: ACPO ANPR Reply with quote

telematicsman wrote:

My local police left a number of people who are ‘known to them’ with non-standard number plates alone as they have a convenient excuse to stop them whenever they like and modern ANPR can still read them!



That makes sense, any retroreflective plate can only stand a chance of being "unreadable" if a flash is used. Without flash they look just normal.
I don't think ANPR needs flash.


Nao
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telematicsman
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An easy way to test these so-called 'unreadable' number plates is to fill up with fuel at Tesco's or any modern forecourt. Most now use ANPR and if the camera can't read the plate then the fuel isn't dispensed!

Obviously the conditions are easier under a well-lit canopy but its a safe bet that if a petrol station CCTV can read it then a security camera with infra-red floods and a sophisticated lens can as well. The original ANPR network was developed for MI5 after all.
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Naomi
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

telematicsman wrote:
An easy way to test these so-called 'unreadable' number plates is to fill up with fuel at Tesco's or any modern forecourt. Most now use ANPR and if the camera can't read the plate then the fuel isn't dispensed!

Obviously the conditions are easier under a well-lit canopy but its a safe bet that if a petrol station CCTV can read it then a security camera with infra-red floods and a sophisticated lens can as well. The original ANPR network was developed for MI5 after all.



They are not "unreadable", they merely reflect incoming light back along the same path. So: if the camera lens is near a high intensity light source such as a flash, the reflected light can "white out" the film. ANPR does not use a high intensity flash, so it is a different situation. So Tesco is not really a valid test to see if you can defeat a Gatso. A better test would be to set up your digital camera, with flash, stand 10 or 15 yards away from a treated number plate and see what happens. Even then, are you getting a similar amount of light to that from a Gatso? An untreated number plate is retroreflective too, but the letters and numbers mask out a letter shaped area of retro reflectivity. The spray adds retro-R on top of your black letters. Whether image processing might still reveal the plate detail is an interesting question, one that someone else can test for me with their local, user friendy, Gatso. Volunteers?
It all boils down to the fact that anyone relying on photoblocker is taking a risk. I'll continue to use the far smaller risk that comes with the camera database.

Nao
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telematicsman
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The old-fashioned flash Gatso is on the way out and many new systems use the ANPR, or more accurately digital camera technology. ANPR is in fact a computer software package that processes an image to 'read' a number plate. So the it can be used on a film image from an early Gatso or used as part of the software post-processing for a digital version.

It would be possible to upgrade equipment in existing housings as well. The only reason not to worry aboutt he Police network is they have taken a decision not to use it for speed monitoring, though this may change one day. In theory ANPR software could be used with any suitable picture source including scanned in photos.

The point we can agree upon is that these treatments don't work. Anything likely to be effective may well be visible on the plate and would get the user stopped by the Police anyway. Obsucuring a number plate is an offence as well as listed in the Highway Code. My recommendation aboutt he petrol stations is intended as a rule of thumb. Unless you are able to plan your route to include only film type Gatsos I still recommend it.
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c123
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:51 am    Post subject: Re: ACPO ANPR Reply with quote

Naomi wrote:
telematicsman wrote:

My local police left a number of people who are ‘known to them’ with non-standard number plates alone as they have a convenient excuse to stop them whenever they like and modern ANPR can still read them!



That makes sense, any retroreflective plate can only stand a chance of being "unreadable" if a flash is used. Without flash they look just normal.
I don't think ANPR needs flash.


Nao


Usually the ANPR equipments doesn't needs flash during daylight, but it is different during the night, if the license plate is nonreflective is very difficult to read it.

You can learn more in www.anpr-tutorial.com or www.quercus.biz
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telematicsman
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before accepting any claims about ANY of these products designed to fool cameras I would suggest the following:

1. Get the seller to put it on their own vehicle (confirm their name is on the V5)
2. Get them to drive it past a speed camera while speeding
3. Wait at least two months then get them to show you their driving licence (By then it should have been endorsed and sent back if they were caught)
4. With Gatso they should do this through at least 10 cameras as they don't always have film in them.

If they are genuine this shouldn't bother them. More practical is just ignore them. If the police spot you have used something on your number plate then even if they can't prosecute they will 'keep their eye on you' from then on and won't be open to using their discretion with someone who has used something designed to help them evade or break the law.

The ANPR network was originally started by the secret service and the cameras have state of the art infra-red or night vision capability. They don’t need to flash.
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Naomi
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

telematicsman wrote:
Before accepting any claims about ANY of these products designed to fool cameras I would suggest the following:

1. Get the seller to put it on their own vehicle (confirm their name is on the V5)
2. Get them to drive it past a speed camera while speeding
3. Wait at least two months then get them to show you their driving licence (By then it should have been endorsed and sent back if they were caught)
4. With Gatso they should do this through at least 10 cameras as they don't always have film in them.

If they are genuine this shouldn't bother them. More practical is just ignore them. If the police spot you have used something on your number plate then even if they can't prosecute they will 'keep their eye on you' from then on and won't be open to using their discretion with someone who has used something designed to help them evade or break the law.

The ANPR network was originally started by the secret service and the cameras have state of the art infra-red or night vision capability. They don’t need to flash.



In theory that might be a good idea, in practice this is being sold by a company. To suggest that "if genuine it shouldn't bother them" is a little shortsighted.
"Excuse me but, before I buy this 20 quid can of spray, would you mind just spraying it on your plate and then driving your car far enough to go through 10 Gatsos, in excess of the speed limit....oh and by the way I will then need to see your license in a month's time."
And you say this should not bother them? Were you buying a jumbo jet from Boeing, it might be reasonable to ask to see it fly first. A can of spray? Keep it sensible.
Night vision ANPR..infra red.. will still need a bright IR light source, and as such the retro reflectivity will still come into play. The treated plates therefore "MAY" still be unreadable by ANPR at night. Not that it should matter to most readers here, who I would guess are already using the rather more reliable Camera Database on their SatNav.
If you need any sort of demonstration as to whether this works or not the photoblocker site has a lot of data, both from the company and from elsewhere,
See: http://www.photoblockeruk.com/Testimonials.htm
Study it, don't buy it, and then make sure you have downloaded the latest camera database....and try to keep your speed down.
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telematicsman
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this reply suggests a failure to understand irony. I didn't think it was too difficult to see that I am saying this stuff is probably rubbish and if the supplier thinks it works they should try it and see what happens. It also does not take a great deal of imagination to see that someone will have looked at this and if it represented a serious problem for ANPR cameras it would either be banned or the technology changed to eliminate the problem.

As an AA Senior Engineer on the Seal of Approval scheme I made a career out of stopping rubbish being sold to motorists so this is hardly new territory, or the first time this sort of thing has been tried ever since 1966 when Gatsos were invented (it has never worked)

Infra-red works fine for night illumination and is used by SPECs camera on top of big gantries. Since drivers can't see it or be dazzled by it they can use plenty of power if they need to. A quick net search will reveal plenty of real systems using it on UK roads.

My only motive here is to help people avoid getting a speed conviction. Its also worth remembering that if a police officer sees any of these things being used on a car his assumption will be that the owner is deliberately setting out to break the law and any chance of negotiation or the officer using his discretion will vanish and that is the only tangible outcome anyone is likely to see from this stuff.
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Naomi
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

telematicsman wrote:
I think this reply suggests a failure to understand irony. I didn't think it was too difficult to see that I am saying this stuff is probably rubbish and if the supplier thinks it works they should try it and see what happens. It also does not take a great deal of imagination to see that someone will have looked at this and if it represented a serious problem for ANPR cameras it would either be banned or the technology changed to eliminate the problem.

As an AA Senior Engineer on the Seal of Approval scheme I made a career out of stopping rubbish being sold to motorists so this is hardly new territory, or the first time this sort of thing has been tried ever since 1966 when Gatsos were invented (it has never worked)

Infra-red works fine for night illumination and is used by SPECs camera on top of big gantries. Since drivers can't see it or be dazzled by it they can use plenty of power if they need to. A quick net search will reveal plenty of real systems using it on UK roads.

My only motive here is to help people avoid getting a speed conviction. Its also worth remembering that if a police officer sees any of these things being used on a car his assumption will be that the owner is deliberately setting out to break the law and any chance of negotiation or the officer using his discretion will vanish and that is the only tangible outcome anyone is likely to see from this stuff.



Far from being ironic, it would appear that, untried and untested by you, you have decided from the top of your AA hat, that this product is a con. "probably rubbish" were your words. Those words say, quite effectively that you have not tested the product. Has your AA hat rendered such testing by you as unnecessary? One look at the can and it is rubbish? Had you instead looked at the web site and read the reports from various sections of world media you would have seen that the product does seem to have some considerable merit, and that authorities are indeed concerned about it. I read elsewhere that the British authorities intend to ban the sale of the spray. If it were ineffective they would not bother doing that. But maybe they are in error, and have just not had the direct benefit of your AA opinion.

Retro reflectivity is a proven concept, is in use on most modern roadsigns, and on number plates, and so there is no reason at all to suppose that a retro reflective spray will not make your plate harder to read by any self illuminating camera. The pictures on the photoblocker site and elsewhere suggest the spray is R-R, and if so, and I believe it is, you are not dealing with some Harry Potter magic trick, but with an established technology, canned into a product. If you want an explanation of how R-R works go here

http://www.komatsuprocess.co.jp/en/product/intoro/01/index.html

Wait a moment...a reputable company selling paints that reflect the light directly back at the light source...I wonder if that might have any practical use in spray varnish form?

I didn't understand why you quoted specs cameras at me. Seems to weaken your case. They have bright infra red illumination close to the camera, and from my observation of them, it is probably an IR flash, but in any case an ideal retro reflective situation in which Photoblocker claims to be effective. Watch the specs cameras on the motorway, or in Nottingham, as you pass them and you can just about see the inkling of a flash in their attendant lights.

Now I have no intention of buying or using this spray. I also would not recommend it, because although I am 100% certain that it will considerably reduce the image quality seriously, I could not be equally sure that it reduces the image to such an extent that modern NASA inspired image enhancement technologies would be unable to read it.

As to whether the spray works, I think I will go with the evidence in pictures on the sites, together with my knowledge of how effectively retroreflectivity works, rather than with whatever unsupported opinion you keep under your AA hat.

Is it legal? Probably until the police have proved, in a test case, that it is not legal. and established the principle in law.

Is it likely that they will use it as an excuse to stop people... assuming they can detect it? And make that knowledge public? Probably. They are daft enough. In Manchester a couple of years ago, (and before ANPR was in cars I think), the police had a blitz on untaxed cars, and searched each one further, resulting in many arrests for other offences. Great! So they then announced their tactics in the Manchester Evening News: "Look how many criminals we arrested these last two weeks, aren't we clever?" Stupidity, and not surprisingly arrests immediately went down!

My motive: greater scientific accuracy: an opinion based more on the facts than on mere supposition.
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Skippy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks, you can be almost certain that this is "snake oil" with a combination of pseudo science, clever PR spin and misquoted police sources to try and make it look like a product that actually works.

Some stories are then fed to lazy journalists who are looking for a quick and easy sensational story for the paper and there you go. Throw in a few quotes from the Police about the stuff being illegal and suddenly that becomes "the police want to ban it, so it must be good!"

Have a look at http://www.ukspeedtraps.co.uk/ these guys actually test similar products against real Gatsos and show the results.

Also bear in mind that this is a £1 can of spray sold for £20, it isn't some secret forumula.....
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