Thursday, March 31, 2011

Car clocking

A quick report on BBC Breakfast this morning about mileage alteration with some MP calling for it to be made illegal. Worrying in terms of the implications if this were to happen.

There are legitimate reasons to alter an odometer and the report mentioned them - a faulty unit, or converting from kilometres to miles.

When they called up various operators advertising such services they mentioned that there was nothing wrong with the unit and that they were looking to sell the vehicle, but the reporter made a point that none told him that to sell the car without disclosing the mileage alteration would be illegal.

Well no because it's not their job to.

Consider a museum takes out a contract with a firm to make replicas of their Saxon gold horde. Are the manufacturers obliged to remind them that they have to sell them as replicas that they're not allowed to sell them as the real thing?

If the museum then does try to sell them as the real thing should the manufacturer be prosecuted for making them?

If someone buys one from the museum as a replica and then tries to sell it as the real thing should both the museum and manufacturer be charged?

No because doing such a thing is not illegal; it's only when you try to pass one thing off as something else does it become a crime. In the original case trying to sell a car as having a certain mileage when it doesn't.

However can't we make it illegal to 'clock' a car unless it's done for a legitimate reason? Except who determines what is and isn't legitimate? It's my car how can someone dictate what I can and can't do with it for my own private use?

This is what is worrying to me. This is what would make breaking the DRM on the PS3 or XBox360 illegal even if you kept that information to yourself and never made it public. This is what would make altering a car to render it non street-legal a crime even if you never drove it on a highway.

This is a precedent as to what you can and can't do with your own property even if it affects no-one beyond yourself.