Police in Victoria have started recommending a cloud-and-QR-code-driven product that aims to make retrieval of stolen bicycles easier. The product is called MyBikeRego, the eponymous creation of an Australian startup. The product offers buyers – who stump up $30 a year – three QR codes to affix to their bicycle. That QR code is …
Am I being stupid or....
...could a thief just not remove the QR code sticker?
A good idea for accidents but the crime angle seems just to be an extra sales pitch that is not too well thought out.
Re: Am I being stupid or....
The article did say that after 3 days the sticker bonds so much that the only way to remove it is to burn it off or grind it off. Either way you will have some pretty tell-tale damage to the bike.
In the old days you'd engrave a registration number into your belongings that could be used to relocate lost stuff. This is just a more modern way of doing things, and the type of sticker Robert mentions is pretty tough to shift.
I think the goal was not to provide a completely permanent 'rego' for use when tracking down lost stuff, it's more for Lost and Found - ie: a thief pinches a bike and dumps it somewhere else. The sticker could then be scanned and the owner notified.
makes me wonder whether they have fully thought the idea out, have you tried to scan a QR code on an angled or curved surface, not an easy feat if you ask me.
After a little thought .....
..... Just print the QR code with 'stretching' at the edges so that the data blocks look square when viewed centrally head on with a camera. This would mean that you'd need to stick them to the bike frame with a particular 'curve orientation' but people willing to pay $30 a year to get this protection should be willing to read the instructions carefully.
1) Everyone knows thieves spray paint stolen bikes black.
2) As mentioned scanning curved QR codes doesn't work so great
3) The second hand bike market is HUGE, what happens when I sell my frame???
One reason MyBikeRego works well is that you cannot engrave carbon frames - doing so voids the warranty.
The service offers a transfer mechanism for legitimate sales.
But I don't want my personal details readily available to anyone who can scan my bike. This feature immediately makes a frame worth less on the second hand market to a large part of the buyers.
How much redundancy is there on a QR code? If the thief only needs to interfere with a few dots, this won't work.
Variable. IOW, something you can configure when you do the encoding. Try Google's own generator, looking for the Error Correction setting near the "Generate" button. Not sure what the specifics are for the L, M, Q, and H, but suppose low, medium, and high, plus something.
On a related note, if the sticker 'burns' itself into the finish/paint or into the (likely) aluminium or (less likely) titanium, then wouldn't it make some sense for thieves to acquire the same type of sticker, duplicate (what's on) the existing QR, print a negative of that, and afix that directly over the initial one? 'Yes, it's stolen, obviously, but who's to say from whom...'.
Since there's more than the slightest hint of an IT angle, where's the F/OSSil version of this business?
Can a thief not now steal a Bike, scan the code, then find out where the owner lives and as they are not at home go and rob the place?
Good point. Don't even need to steal the bike first. Just scan it and then pop round the owner's house to check the windows.
1) Grab some of these
2) Stick them over existing ones on someone else's bike
I suppose typing the 6 letters of the old engraved / stamped codes into an app would be insufficiently cool.
QR code does seem a bit like overkill
Why not just have a registration number, anyone can read that? Or spend some money on a decent lock?
Why not just have a website where you can register your frame number? Police find bike, check frame number against website - bike reunited with owner. Not very web 2.0 I'll admit...
Optional then Mandatory
For our foreign guests, a little background. Victoria is Australia's police state, followed closely by South Australia. Any nut job legislation (like 3km/h tolerances on speed limits or mandatory bicycle helmets) is first trialled in Victoria and then rolled out to the rest of the country - to bring us in line. What we have is a voluntary $30 bicycle registration scheme that will for all sorts of nefarious social benefits be made mandatory and will probably then be linked to 3rd party insurance requirements. We will arrive at a place whereby the police can fine cyclists and check their papers as easily as they currently do other road users - assuming they don't shoot them first.
Roll your own
Ok, so it's a QR code that contains an embedded URL. Why pay $30 to point to a website controlled by somebody else? Just put up your own landing page for the URL with whatever details you want.
Do they work at the bottom of a canal?
That's were many stolen bike end up.