The system can’t outsmart: why is the US banned the LIC plate with a harmless word

In the United States are not allowed to have a car number that can be interpreted as a threat, the name of the reproductive organ, the indication of belonging to the police, the reference to religion, Mat, call to genocide, a hint that behind the wheel drunk. Also, after the precedent that took place in 2016, banned the word “null”, writes the author of the channel on “Yandex.Zen”.

Систему не перехитрить: почему в США запрещены автономера с безобидным словом

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This word from English is translated as “zero” or “nothing”. Of course, to see in it an insult or a hint on reproductive difficult at all desire. The ban is associated with some features of the operation of computer databases, including the police. The problem surfaced as a result of the devastating mistakes that were made by someone named Joseph Tartar, a specialist in network security. In the 2016, he decided to change his number to “NULL” and the one that was splashed on the car of his wife, to “VOID”. The idea, by the way, was very original, because the phrase “null and void” in law means nothing but “the invalid”.

It actually looks quite romantic, however, the American Romeo was another rather insidious motive. Him as a specialist in the relevant field, it seemed that these rooms will allow both to him and the friend of his life to evade responsibility for minor administrative offenses committed on the road. The fact that “null” is the universal marker used in a variety of computer databases to denote a missing or inapplicable information. Unfortunately for Tartar, he was right 100%. With one very important caveat — not he cheated the system, and it began to terrorize it.

Instead of becoming invisible to police radar, calmly driving through a Stop sign and with impunity to crush pedestrians, Tartar began to receive fines for violations that were not involved. It happened every time, when some inexperienced, lazy or unskilled California COP forgot to specify the Protocol number of the car that committed the violation. When this information was entered into the database, the program fills in the appropriate column value is “null”, which on their own took excessively cunning American. Before he was finally able to put an end to this bureaucratic nightmare, he’s in total were sent in receipts for 12 049 dollars.

Joseph Tartar, of course, he is guilty in the troubles befell him, but what about other people suffering from the imperfections of the structured query language? In particular, the fact that he was given the name “Null” before any databases. In the world it is worn by tens of thousands of people, and they risk to keep his mind of any computer system, which come into contact with. They refuse to register the sites of banks, online stores, streaming and gaming services.

The program evaluates the surname of the applicant, concludes that there is an attempt of deception, and then prohibits a living person, for example, to play poker with the holders of all other generic identifiers, including the strangest. Put yourself in the place of these people. They are routinely denied not only the services but also the right to exist. For the Internet these are the real ghosts, and the consequences of ignoring can be very unpleasant.

Simple and cheap solutions to eliminate the problem of databases stupor at the sight of imaginary negation, does not exist. Programmers, showing an enviable ingenuity for many years trying to find workarounds. In particular, today they use such a thing as “zero island”. This is the point of the geographical coordinates of which look like “0,0”, i.e. the intersection of the equator with the zero Meridian.

“Island” is added to maps in order to detect errors geocoding. If a computer or smartphone can’t determine the coordinates — for example, in the case when you take a photograph by disabling the geotagging function — they put the value “0,0”. Outdated mapping software may perceive this as a real geographic coordinates and guide you to the buoy, dangling at this point in the middle of the Gulf of Guinea. If you encounter this error message, do not worry. Remember the sad story of Joseph Tartar, which suffered from the problem of “zero” is much stronger.

The original column published in the blog on “Yandex.Zen”

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