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Master Key Unlocks Every Speed Camera in Belgium

April 3, 2010

Master Key Unlocks Every Speed Camera in Belgium
Member of parliament bears the one key that rules all of the speed cameras in Belgium. 

Unlocked speed  camera cabinetA single master key can unlock every roadside cabinet that controls a speed camera in Belgium, Verstrepen and Hermans reported on GunkTV last Sunday. The show’s host, Jurgen Verstrepen, represents Antwerp in the Flemish Parliament for List Dedecker, a political party that espouses free market economic policy. Verstrepen picked up a key at a locksmith for 14 euros (US $19) and proceeded to unlock both Gatso and Traffipax brand speed camera control boxes. Both types of camera are in use in the United States.

“We received a tip for the broadcast that a speed camera could be rendered harmless with a simple key,” Verstrepen said in a statement. “I found that the story is true. I have opened several control units myself.”

The control boxes apparently use the same model of lock which can be ordered, with key, from any locksmith. Verstrepen did not identify the model number for the lock and key set, despite receiving hundreds of emails after the broadcast begging him to do so.

“It’s unbelievable,” Verstrepen said. “My front door at home is better protected than all the speed cameras and control boxes… I have proved that even the latest model opens with my key. It is inconceivable that the Flemish government would be so negligent and amateurish.”

Once open, a speed camera or red light camera control box can be disabled by flipping off the power switch without causing any harm to the equipment that could bring vandalism charges. Less scrupulous individuals might even find access to manipulate the camera device’s settings. Verstrepen said that he could, by posting the model number on his website, ensure that every speed camera in the country would be shut down within twenty-four hours.

Officials confirmed to Het Nieuwsblad that the cabinets do in fact use a single key for convenience, but they denied that this key was readily available.

In some cases, a key is not even needed to open a speed camera control box. Last year, the group photographed an automated ticketing machine in Mesa, Arizona that had been left wide open for at least five days. The device belonged to American Traffic Solutions, a company that last month was caught leaving behind documents and other materials in an abandoned office building with the doors left open.

View the video of speed cameras being unlocked with the master key (in Dutch with no subtitles):

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2010 2:49 am

    For those who live in California, or might visit, here is a special note about California camera tickets. (As in many fields of endeavor, we do it differently. Not better, just differently.)

    Here they cost about $500! And a point on your license. Because our tickets put a point on your license, the police have to get the name of the actual driver before they can file the ticket at court. Since the photo of the plates leads only to the registered owner (“RO”), and he/she often was not the person driving the car or bike*, about 40 California police depts. mail out Snitch Tickets, which are fake/phishing red light camera tickets sent out to bluff the RO into ID’ing the actual driver of the car. Snitch Tickets haven’t been filed with the court, so are recognizable because they don’t say “Notice to Appear,” don’t have the court’s address, and say (on the back, in small letters), “Do not contact the court.” Since they have NOT been filed with the court, they have no legal weight. You can ignore a Snitch Ticket. If in doubt, Google the term.

    *Yes, they get motorcycles too!


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