Los Angeles now has parking meters that use credit cards. How do they work? Is it illegal to park at one of them if it’s broken?

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These new meters are taking over like the Borg on Star Trek: Resistance is futile. The solar-powered machines encrypt credit card information and send it over a tiny cell phone to a processing center. “The meters are as secure as an ATM,” says Dennis Frey of the IPS Group, which makes them. The bad news is that the city considers them indestructible, so it is indeed illegal to park at a broken one. I’ll miss those plastic bags tied over the tops of kaput machines.
 
Photograph courtesy flickr/lancefisher