3/22/2006Australia: NSW Supreme Court Rules Against Camera Integrity
The New South Wales, Australia Supreme Court questions the integrity of speed cameras based on MD5 flaw.
The New South Wales, Australia Supreme Court today upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed a speed camera ticket as unreliable. The court upheld Sydney magistrate Lawrence Lawson's August decision dismissing the A$75 ticket against a man accused of driving 81km/h (50 MPH) in a 60 (37) zone. The government was also ordered to pay the defendant's A$3300 in legal fees.
Central to the case was the 128-bit sequence that is supposed to act as an electronic seal to establish that no tampering has occurred with the photo used as evidence. The sequence, based on an MD5 algorithm, is supposed to be printed at the top of every speed camera photo to establish authenticity. The Roads and Traffic Authority failed to find a witness who could explain how it does so. Moreover, the defense argued that research from Shandong University in China has exposed flaws in MD5 that would allow the speed displayed in the camera photograph to be manipulated without distorting the image.
With the integrity of photos in doubt, a successful pressing of another legal challenge could result in the refund of as much as A$1 billion in speed camera revenue generated since the devices were first installed.