Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tamper Proof?

On reading about the recent threat of a strike by the Auto Rickshaw Union in Mumbai, I was surprised at the confidence expressed by the Government on their new apparently "tamper proof" electronic machines. Now, I am not advocating that we don't switch from the regular meters to an electronic meters, but I am curious about the costs associated with doing so and whether a pilot test has been run on a few auto-rickshaws and data collected and studied. Will the electronic meters be able to withstand the assault of the monsoons?

How can any such device be tamper proof? NYC Taxi Inspectors have been struggling with this problem for decades, and the more sophisticated the meters, the more sophisticated the methods for tampering them. If past experience is anything to go by, this move should be quite interesting.

In NYC, a taxi driver had connected his radio microphone, used to receive updates from dispatch, to his meter. The result - Every time he pressed the talk button, an electronic pulse was generated in the meter, making it "jump" and increasing the fare incrementally.

I just love technology!


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