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Thread: National Bike Registry

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    Privacy concerns -- simple RFID tags are readable at a distance by anyone. They're probably easier to read than license plates; certainly the scanning hardware is easier to conceal.

    Maybe a passive RFID smart chip that only responded to signals from authorized scanners (bake in a few certificate authority keys, only respond to requests signed by keys certified by a trusted CA)... but now we might be talking a dollar or so (???) - real money.

    Even worse, everybody would have to agree on the PKI, on who decides who is trusted to read the tags. No offense intended, but I think many NRA types would balk at the notion of remote government tracking.
    and when you buy a cl bike you do what, run it down to the bike shop to check the serial? nobody would actually do that

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by n18 View Post
    Embedding RFID tags in frames was suggested by Stolen Bicycle Registry owner. See "Read our whitepaper" at the bottom of their main page.

    Not mentioned in the whitepaper are the technical challenges in embedding RFID tags in frames. The frame could block RFID signals, and the data rate is typically slow, so it may not work on a moving bike. Increasing the range also presents problems if you have like 10 bikes on a bike rack, and they try to transmit their ID at the same time. Until someone comes up with a proven solution, bike manufacturers wouldn't do a thing.

    Some links:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID#Problems_and_concerns
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID_on_metal
    There's also a certain set that recommends rfid as the solution to every problem. technical issues aside, sometimes it's just technology in search of a problem.

  3. #23
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    Privacy concerns -- simple RFID tags are readable at a distance by anyone. They're probably easier to read than license plates; certainly the scanning hardware is easier to conceal.

    Maybe a passive RFID smart chip that only responded to signals from authorized scanners (bake in a few certificate authority keys, only respond to requests signed by keys certified by a trusted CA)... but now we might be talking a dollar or so (???) - real money.

    Even worse, everybody would have to agree on the PKI, on who decides who is trusted to read the tags. No offense intended, but I think many NRA types would balk at the notion of remote government tracking.
    I think this is making the process more complicated than it would ever need to be. A dollar would still not be a large add-on cost, even for a big-box discount bike. Or if it were, the tags could be limited to more expensive bikes. Manufacturers/consumers could make that choice.

    As for privacy, just make everything voluntary. Someone could buy a bike with a tag or not.

    Regarding the question of tracking, no one would be tracking anything, until a used bike were sold. Then the parties could agree to a test of the ID, however it is implemented or not. No one would ever be tracking a bike at any other time. I'm not even sure that would be possible for bikes on the road.

    Not every sale would need to have the ID checked. It would only have to be common or likely enough that bike thieves would have a real concern that their stolen bike could be tested during a sale. That provides the deterrent. If there is no real concern that the bike ID would be checked (which is the case today with serial numbers), then there is not much of a deterrent.

    As for permanent markings, I've always wondered how easy it would be to relabel a bike. That's why I thought about something like RFID tags. People can remove external labels or grind down etchings. There is no current working system of any sort. So no, I don't think this is technology in search of a problem. It's a suggestion on a forum thread wondering about a possible solution to a problem that does exist, and a widespread problem at that. Instead of there being a deterrent for bike thieves, the current situation acts as a deterrent for many people from using privately-owned bikes and locking them up along streets and even in protected garages. This is exactly why I have been reluctant to commute using my own bike, preferring CaBi instead (despite the dockblocking problems in downtown D.C.). When I first started biking in the area, I looked into bike parking at the building where I worked at the time. The garage attendant said that there was a protected bike room in the garage, but two bikes had been stolen over the past month or two. He also mentioned that bikes were frequently stolen from the bike racks on the sidewalk out front. That was all I needed to hear. It was CaBi for me.

    I may still try commuting on my own bike in the future, but probably not every time. Not unless I'm able to bring my bike inside.
    Last edited by PotomacCyclist; 06-14-2014 at 01:26 PM.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    I'd love to hear the perspective of WABA, BikeArlington, etc. on this.
    What's the European model for this?

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by PotomacCyclist View Post
    As for permanent markings, I've always wondered how easy it would be to relabel a bike. That's why I thought about something like RFID tags. People can remove external labels or grind down etchings. There is no current working system of any sort. So no, I don't think this is technology in search of a problem. It's a suggestion on a forum thread wondering about a possible solution to a problem that does exist, and a widespread problem at that.
    Wait, so the idea is that a bike with the serial number filed off wouldn't pose any challenge to convert to cash, but the chance that someone involved in a CL transaction might show up with an RFID scanner would? The current problem isn't caused by an inability to use a machine to check serial numbers, it is caused by
    1) there isn't an authoritative way for an owner to register a bike
    2) there isn't a way for a prospective buyer to check the provenance of a bike

    The RFID suggestion doesn't address either of those problems. Solve those problems first, then we can determine through experience whether people removing visible serial numbers turns out to be a compelling issue. Note that you would still need a visible serial number even if you added an RFID as a secondary serial number source, because nobody is going to go to a CL buy with an RFID reader + point #2.

  6. #26
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    Q: "I'd love to hear the perspective of WABA, BikeArlington, etc. on this."
    BA: "What's the European model for this?"

    There's a joke to be made here.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Q: "I'd love to hear the perspective of WABA, BikeArlington, etc. on this."
    BA: "What's the European model for this?"

    There's a joke to be made here.
    Go on...

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Kelley View Post
    Go on...
    Come on, sometimes you just have to embrace the arlnow comment section "out of touch euro wannabe" stereotype.

    Anyway, check out http://translate.google.com/translat...tsdiefstal.nl/ The details would need to be different in a US context. I think it would need to be voluntary, and something that's not run as a law enforcement function (that is, it shouldn't involve going to a police station). I envision something like a government chartered & owned corporation (like the Tennessee Valley Authority or Federal Crop Insurance Corporation) to give it some official legitimacy but keep it at arms length from day to day politics and to make the terms of use of the data collected a matter of federal law. Not that anything like that could make it through the current congress, so I don't really have a practical solution.

  9. #29
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Wait, so the idea is that a bike with the serial number filed off wouldn't pose any challenge to convert to cash, but the chance that someone involved in a CL transaction might show up with an RFID scanner would? The current problem isn't caused by an inability to use a machine to check serial numbers, it is caused by
    1) there isn't an authoritative way for an owner to register a bike
    2) there isn't a way for a prospective buyer to check the provenance of a bike

    The RFID suggestion doesn't address either of those problems. Solve those problems first, then we can determine through experience whether people removing visible serial numbers turns out to be a compelling issue. Note that you would still need a visible serial number even if you added an RFID as a secondary serial number source, because nobody is going to go to a CL buy with an RFID reader + point #2.
    A buyer could voluntarily allow the bike store to keep the RFID tag (or number or whatever the system is) on file in their records. If the bike is stolen and the owner finds a suspicious online ad, he/she could contact the police and set up a sting, as a couple people have done in the area. (Maybe it happens more frequently, but I've only read about a couple cases.) This is what I had in mind, that it would be easier to establish ownership in a situation like this. Of course, there could be a case of someone selling a bike, failing to notify the bike store of a change in ownership and then setting up a fraudulent sting to get someone else in trouble. But I would think there are easier ways of trying to get someone falsely accused of something.

    Anyway, I don't have all the answers. I'm merely tossing out ideas in the hopes that it spurs other ideas or details to the ideas. You keep saying why it wouldn't work, but I have answers to the objections. Maybe they aren't definitive objections, but you only say that there's no way to do anything. There is a problem that needs to be fixed. Discussion on a forum thread is free, at least for participants, and ideas and suggestions do not have any development costs. This is called brainstorming.

    I know some or all of these ideas have been hashed out before, here and elsewhere, but the problem of bike theft still hasn't been solved. So that's why the topic is still being discussed.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by PotomacCyclist View Post
    A buyer could voluntarily allow the bike store to keep the RFID tag (or number or whatever the system is) on file in their records. If the bike is stolen and the owner finds a suspicious online ad, he/she could contact the police and set up a sting, as a couple people have done in the area. (Maybe it happens more frequently, but I've only read about a couple cases.) This is what I had in mind, that it would be easier to establish ownership in a situation like this. Of course, there could be a case of someone selling a bike, failing to notify the bike store of a change in ownership and then setting up a fraudulent sting to get someone else in trouble. But I would think there are easier ways of trying to get someone falsely accused of something.

    Anyway, I don't have all the answers. I'm merely tossing out ideas in the hopes that it spurs other ideas or details to the ideas. You keep saying why it wouldn't work, but I have answers to the objections. Maybe they aren't definitive objections, but you only say that there's no way to do anything. There is a problem that needs to be fixed. Discussion on a forum thread is free, at least for participants, and ideas and suggestions do not have any development costs. This is called brainstorming.

    I know some or all of these ideas have been hashed out before, here and elsewhere, but the problem of bike theft still hasn't been solved. So that's why the topic is still being discussed.
    Because you just keep saying rfid rfid without explaining why that's better than a permanent visible serial number. From the data I've read, the problem with bike theft isn't that people are filling off serial numbers, it's that most people don't know/report the serial number of a stolen bike, and that buyers have no way to check. (This is easy enough to check--look at the reports of stolen bikes on this forum and see what percentage include serial numbers.) Again, why does changing the technology used to mark the serial number change either of those problems? (I know, I know, the answer is rfid.)

    Note that receipts from bike stores generally already include the serial number--most people just don't bother keeping track of the receipt.
    Last edited by mstone; 06-16-2014 at 09:25 PM.

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