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When Gadgets Betray Us: The Dark Side of Our Infatuation With New Technologies by Robert Vamosi

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CHAPTER FIVE
Me, I’m Not
In the summer of 2009, researcher Joe Grand figured out how to get unlimited free parking within the city of San Francisco. Working with fellow researchers Jacob Appelbaum and Chris Tarnovsky, Grand had turned his attention to the 23,000 “smart parking meters” being installed around the city as part of a $35 million pilot project. One flaw they discovered allowed them to increase the value of the plastic one-time smart cards used for payment—for example, Grand created a counterfeit card worth $999.99. He also found he could freeze that maximum value—not have it decrease with each use—and thus make his one-time-use card eternal. This would give him free parking in San Francisco forever—except Joe Grand isn’t a thief. ...

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