SoCal mall installs 'Find Your Car' kiosks in parking garage to help you find your car -- and others find you?
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Big Brother's watching us on public streets and in our homes, and now he's fixed his gaze on shopping malls -- under the guise of helping us find our cars in a mall parking garage. Santa Monica Place has installed Park Assist's M3 Camera Vision system with "Find Your Car" kiosks that allow wayward shoppers to punch in their license plate number to receive a picture of their auto and its whereabouts. It utilizes a network of cameras to capture each car's location and read the plate, and has a central control system that can dole out firmware upgrades as more (nefarious?) needs arise. A similar system is used at Heathrow Airport, though the British version snaps a photo of your plates upon entry and tracks cars with infrared cameras -- as opposed to Park Assist's use of hi-res cameras to capture an image of your plate once you've parked. While helping people find their cars is an admirable goal, the system seems rife with opportunities for abuse because the footage is privately owned -- meaning the car location information could be sold to anyone, including that crazy ex-girlfriend of yours. As for us, we'd rather not exchange a walk-on part in the war to maintain our privacy for a lead role in another video cage. We're just fine remembering things the old-fashioned way, thanks.