Loophole Watch: Remove Battery, Defeat Clampers

Giant disclaimer: I Am Not A Lawyer.

If you park illegally in Ireland, you're likely to be clamped by people who are authorised persons under section 101B of the Road Traffic Act, 1961.

That section says (emphasis is mine):

  1. In this section [...] ‘vehicle’ means a mechanically propelled vehicle.
  2. Where an authorised person finds on a public road a vehicle that is parked in contravention of [parking by-laws], he or a person acting under his direction may [...] fix an immobilisation device to the vehicle while it remains in the place where he finds it, or [move it and then clamp it].

However, the phrase mechanically propelled vehicle (which normally includes your car) has a special exception given in section 3(2) (inserted by s. 72 of the Road Traffic Act, 2010):

Where a vehicle, which, apart from this subsection, would be a mechanically propelled vehicle, stands so substantially disabled (either through collision, breakdown or the removal of the engine or other such vital part) as to be no longer capable of being propelled mechanically, it shall be regarded—

  1. for the purposes of the Road Traffic Acts 1961 to 2010, if it is disabled through collision, as continuing to be a mechanically propelled vehicle, and
  2. for all other purposes of this Act as not being a mechanically propelled vehicle.

When you put this together, it seems to mean that if you take the battery out of your car, it no longer counts as a mechanically propelled vehicle for the purposes of the Road Traffic Act, 1961, and so it can't be legally clamped.

But I'm not going to try it with my car.


What I Did On World IPv6 Day

Mostly, I cursed Vodafone (my mobile Internet provider). First, they blackholed 6to4 traffic, so the default strategy used by Microsoft Windows Vista reliably timed out. Second, they suffered 100% packet loss on IPv4 packets through their network. Actually, they did appear to work on this. Traffic to and came back first, then traffic to www.google.com. At 1600Z (two-thirds of the way through World IPv6 Day) IPv4 service was restored. Third, they use 192.168/16 addresses for their network routers, which should have been a big clue about why IPv6 deployment should be a priority. Fourth, they drop ICMP, making ping and traceroute useless for customers. Fifth, they failed to communicate any of this to their customers. Their user forum is the closest thing they have to a dialogue with their customers, and there's nothing that says "we know about this, don't call". Sixth, they don't answer the phone when you call. I think they might be busy dealing with other unhappy users. That's 6 ways to fail at IPv6. Thanks, Vodafone. If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning (as Catherine Aird said).

Failure recovery

I've been categorizing distributed system designs into four groups, according to how they recover from the loss of a single critical ele...