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Obscuring ID of Vehicles - Pro and Con

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:18 pm
by CWO4Mann
I've notice that some folks when posting a photo will obscure their license plate or the last 5 numbers of the VIN. I'm interested in knowing why you either do or don't.

Even Paranoid People have Enemies, or so I've heard.

Dave

Re: Obscuring ID of Vehicles - Pro and Con

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:26 pm
by gbarry42
Maybe the best answer is, "Once it's published, you can't take it back."

Re: Obscuring ID of Vehicles - Pro and Con

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:58 pm
by DarkStar
CWO4Mann wrote:I've notice that some folks when posting a photo will obscure their license plate or the last 5 numbers of the VIN. I'm interested in knowing why you either do or don't.

Even Paranoid People have Enemies, or so I've heard.

Dave
Here in Oregon it's already public information and illegal to obscure on the actual car so why bother online? I could just as easily write down many license plates and VIN numbers at the mall... :D

Re: Obscuring ID of Vehicles - Pro and Con

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:06 pm
by GPowers
I too was wondering the same thing. It is not like this information is not in full public view already.

Re: Obscuring ID of Vehicles - Pro and Con

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:19 pm
by ebill3
I don't have a problem with the VIN.

I use ham radio call letter plates which very easily leads to my full name and complete address. True, anyone on the street can get that information; I just prefer to not tell the world. ;)

I like gbarry42's comment: "Once it's published, you can't take it back."

Bill

Re: Obscuring ID of Vehicles - Pro and Con

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:22 pm
by wsbca
GPowers wrote:I too was wondering the same thing. It is not like this information is not in full public view already.
"Hey, I see you posted a photo of your car on the internets during work, from a work owned computer - don't you remember you're not suppose to do that on work time?..and secondly, some of the stuff you posted in that forum makes me question your dedication to our company"

"hey, check this out, based on my scooby skills this guy's work is 32 miles from his home, and now I have his address - should be no problem cleaning out his house during a workday!"

Admittedly these half-baked scenarios are not high probability...the point is that, as everyone has pointed out, the info to be gleaned from something like a license plate is, in some locales, quite revealing and easy to get, and publishing it for the world to see in a certain context could reveal more than you want to....by the arguments above, we should all have our real names, phone numbers and home addresses in our signatures (after all, that's what leaving your license plate in a photo equates to), and I'm pretty sure we can agree that that's not something everyone would want to do, nor should they.

Re: Obscuring ID of Vehicles - Pro and Con

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:53 pm
by johnr
I don't bother with obscuring. After all, anybody can see it in person. And unless someone wants to spend money for the records or is in law enforcement, there's not much they can do with that information anyway. Same idea with my phone number and address - I don't generally hide that information either. Marketers already have the information, so I can't stop the junk mail and unsolicited calls anyway.

Re: Obscuring ID of Vehicles - Pro and Con

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:18 pm
by AmarilloLeaf
Check out "10 Stupidest Hacks of All Time" from eWeek.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/10-St ... me-201087/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Look at Hack #4.

"A hacker infected MySpace accounts, bragged about the exploit online and posted pictures of himself with his car's license plate in the background.Samy Kamkar was responsible for the Samy Worm that infected more than 1 million MySpace accounts in 2006. He boasted what he did on a blog, which contained a picture of him with a license plate in the background, which was then used to find Samy."

Re: Obscuring ID of Vehicles - Pro and Con

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:45 pm
by CWO4Mann
Thanks for all the comments. Very interesting responses. I spent 30 years in the US Army and what privacy I once had disappeared the first time the medics did a short-arm inspection in the barracks. On the other hand, privacy is something to be cherished and if one does not want to be overt then he or she should be afforded all opportunities to become covert. Some 30 years ago I had a family member who absolutely refused to give his social security number to anyone, including his employer and forced, by way of a law suit, his bank to issue him a special customer number. I thought at the time he was a leftie wack-job. But times have certainly proven us wrong about our Tax Payer Identification Number (f/k/a "SSN"), n'cest pa? Of course at that time he WAS a leftie nut-job, but in retrospect he knew what he was about before a lot of people understood the danger of a number linking all of your life data together. I am a Ham Operator of some 50 years standing and have Ham Plates on one of my vehicles ("The War Wagon" -- a gas guzzling Nissan Pathfinder of 1992 vintage that barely gets 14 miles to the gallon and is festooned with antennas and radio equipment). Of course, anyone who wishes to find my call sign only has to search the FCC data base and they will know who I am and where I live. Such is the plague of some aspects of our society. Same thing goes for The Time of Troubles, Trial and Tribulation when "They" will come to take my guns from my cold, dead hands ... all they have to do is look at the database of people with Concealed Carry Permits in my state and they will know right where to come for me and my arsenal.

Anyway, I'll be putting Vietnam Veteran Plates on the Leaf; I have Ham plates on the Pathfinder and Purple Heart plates on the Porsche 928.

Regards to our interesting group, and BTW in the wisdom of my years, I'm also one of those Lefties now -- mostly.

Dave

Re: Obscuring ID of Vehicles - Pro and Con

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:46 pm
by Volusiano
There's a difference between it being public info for a few people to see in real life at a time, as opposed to for millions of people to see on the internet for posterity. If for some reason (you're showing off your riches, you're attractive looking, you make people hate you, etc), people who see it on the internet want to track you down and stalk you, they can. People in real life can do the same thing, of course, but at least if they're just passerby, they wouldn't have a reason to track you down.