MD Provides RX for Gambling
Several states across this nation offer drivers a phalanx of options when registering a new set of plates for their vehicle. Most of them cost a bit extra with the additional simoleons being funneled to some sort of charity or a government slush fund. But only one offers you the chance to advertise gambling in the Philippines.
Spotted by an alert Redditor and reported by Vice, the plates in question are the standard issue tags from about a decade ago. At the time, some genius decided that Maryland’s role in the War of 1812 needed to be highlighted on the bumper of every new vehicle in the land, choosing to roll out plates printed with freshened graphics and a website address at which people could learn more about the conflict.
At least, that was the goal. As often happens on the internet, another entity has since taken the reins of StarSpangled200.org and decided it should lead to a website promoting gambling in the Philippines instead of to information about a battle that occurred over two centuries ago. Oh, dear. There are nearly a million plates of this style still on the road, according to the Maryland DMV, and it seems the website changed hands within the last few months. At the risk of our browser history, we visited the site this morning and took the following screenshot.
Confoundingly, it is reported that the tall hats making decisions in Maryland never held the domain name; instead, it belonged to a third party in the form of a non-profit that existed to preserve and ruminate on America’s history. Given the fluidity of the internet, you’d think someone in the halls of government would have had the foresight to lock down the URL and check the box for automatic renewal. In the grand scheme of things, it wouldn’t have been that expensive – certainly cheaper than recalling nearly a million plates.
Which is what Maryland is not doing, at least right now. In a statement to local media, they say it “does not endorse the views or content on the current website using that URL and is working with the agency’s IT department to identify options to resolve the current issue." Trying to wrest control of a URL from a faceless international gambling company without having to bankrupt the state? We wish them good luck with that endeavor and predict a recall on these plates before the end of this calendar year.
[Images: seller, screenshot]
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- Stuki Moi If government officials, and voters, could, like, read and, like, count and, like, stuff: They'd take the opportunity to replace fixed license numbers, with random publicly available keys derived from a non-public private key known only to them and the vehicle's owner. The plate's displayed number would be undecipherable to every slimeball out there with a plate reader who is selling people's whereabouts and movements, since it would change every day/hour/minute. Yet any cop with a proper warrant and a plate scanner, could decipher it just as easily as today.
- Dukeisduke Is this the one that doesn't have a back window? Like a commercial van?
- MaintenanceCosts My rant seems to have disappeared, but suffice it to say I agree with 28 that this is a vehicle about which EVERYTHING is wrong.
- SCE to AUX Welcome to the most complicated vehicle you can buy, with shocking depreciation built into every one.And that tail - oh, my.
- FreedMike Can these plates be reprogrammed on demand to flash messages at other drivers? If so, I'd like to flash "Is your insurance paid up?" to tailgaters.