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Big Brother Calls 'Shotgun' In Illinois

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the how-could-george-bush-do-such-a-thing dept.

Government 475

Reader kackle joins the army of free and accepted Slashdot submitters with this eyebrow-raising story: "I received a form letter from the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority saying that my first-generation 'IPASS' transponder needs to be replaced because the battery is old. I called them for clarification since the first-generation transponders obviously have user-replaceable batteries, and I wanted to keep this version because it beeps when a toll is paid. (This notifies drivers that their battery is still good, unlike the silent second-generation version, which informs them of a dead battery by sending a ticket in the mail.) The woman on the phone explained that they were replacing them just because the electronics are old. This uninformed answer made me research the device. I found that the manufacturer has recently filed a patent application for a new transponder that has a camera in it — a camera pointed inward at the occupants. How long before they make it illegal to cover that camera with tape?"

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475 comments

Damn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613194)

I've found I can escape this by taking the fucking train or bus. #CTA

Re:Damn (4, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613258)

Yeah! On the bus, the only cameras recording me are the 3 or 4 little black domes mounted on the ceiling!

Wait...

So don't cover it with tape (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613196)

Take a picture of the inside of your car, shrink it down, and attach it to the camera. They'll be so confused about the driverless car that they won't worry about what laws you might be breaking.

Re:So don't cover it with tape (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613306)

No, they'll see something dark and out-of-focus. You should learn how light and optics work before you post about the topic.

Re:So don't cover it with tape (2, Informative)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613542)

I don't see how this is flamebait - it's a valid point.

If you put a picture flush onto a camera lens, that's going to be too close for the camera to focus on the image, so there will be no detail - probably one giant blur. Also, it will block any light from entering the system, so there's nothing to reflect off the photo back into the lens.

You can try it with your own eye or even your glasses, it works about the same. Look at your palm. Now put your palm right over your eye. Can't see anything, right?

However, the idea has comedic merit. Perhaps one could find a way to make this work anyway... maybe mount it in the glovebox, with one of those electronic picture frames that are oh so popular on Black Friday, and play videos of in-car footage of accidents all day.

Re:So don't cover it with tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613666)

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:So don't cover it with tape (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613770)

Not necessarily. Even if the lens is an f/2.8 or f/2.2, the depth of field is really, really deep on a tiny sensor and in a vehicle the sharp focus point would have to be really close to the camera - less than a foot given some windshield designs and how some people mount their transponders. A photo of a driverless cockpit in front of the camera would be hilarious - even better would be erotic photos, or maybe flash cards featuring 1984 references.

Re:So don't cover it with tape (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613356)

They'll be so confused about the driverless car

Oh come on, you can be more creative than that! How about photoshopping in Hitler, George Bush, Big Bird, or your dalmation?

I really don't see why it matters though, the ticket is tied to the license plate, hence the owner of the car, regardless of who's at the wheel.

Re:So don't cover it with tape (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613480)

That is unless they want positive ID of a person. Most of these automated citations have not taken their cases to criminal traffic courts because of the problem of positive identification. If they are trying to make positive identification more clear or obvious, you can bet they are trying to use the criminal/traffic courts to collect fines instead of using civil courts.

Re:So don't cover it with tape (3, Insightful)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613640)

What's the point, anyway? If the device is working, then the toll gets paid. If it's not, they aren't going to get an image from it.

Re:So don't cover it with tape (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613760)

the 'point' is when you have 'tolls' that get paid if you only have one passenger and tolls that you're exempt from if you're HOV.

HOT lanes are being built in DC and exist in a number of other places. This device is tailor made for HOT lanes...and of course massive privacy invasion, but that's just icing on the cake I'm sure ;-)

Re:So don't cover it with tape (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613732)

They don't take it to court because they'd have to send somebody to court to testify. If needing a positive ID to issue a citation were necessary nobody would ever get a parking ticket that wasn't caught getting into or out of the improperly parked car.

Re:So don't cover it with tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613772)

Actually, it's even more than that. My car is technically registered in my wife's name. I've gotten a couple automated tickets. One was a speed camera, the other was a red light camera. The red light camera was BS anyway. The first picture showed me behind the line with my brake lights ON. The second one, two seconds later, showed me starting to make a right turn. However, since my wife's name is on the registration and not mine, she just had to sign the portion that said she wasn't driving. The tickets were dropped. For some states, a moving violation requires that the driver is ticketed. If the owner of the car isn't driving, then no one gets a ticket.

Re:So don't cover it with tape (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613538)

Better yet, cover it in the blood of your enemies!

Re:So don't cover it with tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613696)

I modded you funny because slashdot doesn't have 'awesome' as a selection.

Are they even making the things yet? (5, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613218)

From what I can tell, they have not manufactured a single device with a camera on it. Until they're actually in use somewhere, I'm not going to get my panties in a bunch. For all you know the camera equipped model is for specific edge cases like maybe charging cabs more if they have an occupant or something and won't be used 99% of the time.

Re:Are they even making the things yet? (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613318)

I agree, it's not a technical marvel to put a small consumer available camera in something like a transponder. There might be uses for it outside the average driver. If they do go through with it... the backlash and work arounds would be endless. Sounds like poster is a bit paranoid of the government :) which is very smart, but don't overdo it by jumping the gun.

Re:Are they even making the things yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613362)

Could be an interesting form of reverse stop-light camera, individualized to take a pic when you run just a little too late into an intersection when the light is changing, would be a good money maker for the states/municipalities using it.

Re:Are they even making the things yet? (2)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613392)

I suspect some other motive too. Doing a quick bit of googling, it looks like in 1998 they recalled the first generation tags due to voltage problems causing silent failures, though I am not sure if those are the same 'first generation' units the OP is referring to.

Re:Are they even making the things yet? (5, Informative)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613502)

From the Illinois Tollway site:
The Tollway recommends that these transponders be replaced for two important reasons:

        The older transponder model is no longer being manufactured and, therefore, is no longer certified by the manufacturer.
        Our testing has shown that the older transponder model does not perform as well as the new transponders on the new open road tolling system.

The first point means that if the tollway were to update the receiver equipment on the roads, they are not guaranteed to work with the old transponders. And I can vouch for the second point personally -- many problems with the first generation of transponders.

The other main problem with the first gen transponders, is that the battery looks like a regular AA battery, but it is actually a 3.6 volt Lithium battery. Users were replacing them with a regular AA, and therefore getting the under voltage condition.

Re:Are they even making the things yet? (2)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613676)

That sounds like a much more plausible reason then rolling out some new transponder with a camera in it that the manufacturer does not appear to actually make.

Re:Are they even making the things yet? (1)

chaboud (231590) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613742)

People won't pay for a transponder with the cost of camera hardware in it, and *Illinois* will *never* shoulder that burden on its own.

I think we're safe just because so much of the tax revenue in Illinois is already directed to embezzlement, patronage, and fraud.

Re:Are they even making the things yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613496)

Nope, completely wrong. If there's potentially even ONE bad use for a tool, the purpose of the entire existence of the tool is to bludgeon your rights. Obviously. It's just like the Betamax Doctrine, only since that's inconvenient for us sometimes, we get to invert it whenever it helps our case.

Re:Are they even making the things yet? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613608)

A company patents an Idea it doesn't mean they will implement it... It also doesn't mean their customer will buy it if it is implemented... It also doesn't mean if the customer does buy it that they will use the feature... It also doesn't mean if the customer does use the feature that they will abuse it to squander our rights....

LOL .... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613220)

Land of the free, home of the brave ... my ass.

I'm stunned at how Americans would be so ready to roll over and take it up the ass for something like this.

Time was there's be a bunch of people talking about refreshing the tree of Liberty with the blood of patriots ... now they just want to super size their cokes.

Rise up America, you're rapidly turning into the most apathetic people around when it comes to your rights. Which means the rest of us are completely fucked.

You've gone from being the gold standard for the defense of personal liberties to embracing a police state with no rights.

Re:LOL .... (2)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613286)

Rise up America, you're rapidly turning into the most apathetic people around when it comes to your rights. Which means the rest of us are completely fucked.

It is funny to read you bashing America while admitting you are an even bigger pussy. If you want to fight, stand up and fight. If you want to stand behind and rant about it, put on a skirt and shake your pom-poms.

Re:LOL .... (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613404)

Not really
America has a public statement of principles that many other countries don't. Therefore it would be easier to raise issues like this that violate those principles.
Not everyone is so lucky.

Wickard v. Filburn (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613642)

America has a public statement of principles

This public statement of principles hasn't been worth the paper it's written on since the Supreme Court scratched "among the several states" from the commerce clause in Wickard v. Filburn in the 1940s.

Re:LOL .... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613784)

So what?

Just because it is harder for someone doesn't change that it's hypocritical for them to rant that others should do something while refusing to themselves. America didn't always have that statement of principles - it took people declaring them and fighting a war against one of the super powers of the time (while allied with another super power mind you, otherwise it might not have worked out as much).

Re:LOL .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613364)

I wonder if the Occupy$places movement could mean that they're already rising up. It's not getting much mainstream news attention yet, which is odd because if this was happening in Middleeastistan the media would be all over it by now.

That would be great, it usually takes many generations of crushing poverty for a civilization to revolt.

Re:LOL .... (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613488)

How much 'main stream attention' does it require to say it got 'main stream attention'? It has been front page of CNN for weeks now.

Re:LOL .... (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613674)

These people want to believe they are victims at all times regardless of facts. I wish their fantasies were true and the media were ignoring them so I wouldn't have to hear about their anarcho-syndicalist entitlement nonsense all the time now.

Re:LOL .... (2, Insightful)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613620)

The Tea Party was an attempt to rise up. So the corporate news organizations did everything they could to paint them as racists - and on pretty flimsy evidence. Now Herman Cain is one of the Tea Party favorites. The Tea Party has some clear goals - limit the power of government - follow the Constitution - cut government spending (and thus government control of the economy). What are the goals of these Wall Street demonstrators? If they really are trying to put limits on government what makes you think the corporate news orgs (who can afford lobbyists) will allow it?

Re:LOL .... (0)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613706)

Time was there's be a bunch of people talking about refreshing the tree of Liberty with the blood of patriots ...

Oh, we still have those folks - the Tea Baggers. The problem is that their notion of what "liberty" means is usually the one that "...them Fox fellers on the teevee was sayin'..." Patriot Act? "Fuck yeah! Whatever it takes to catch them Ayrabs." With so many already so willing bend over, ramming it in a little further with something like this is hardly noticeable.

Possibly just a bad idea (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613232)

I'm all for pointing out glaring privacy issues, but this sort of sounds like someone had an idea for generating tolls based on occupants, and completely didn't think about the obvious issue with invasion of privacy. I would just hope it's never implemented.

[...] detecting and counting the passengers of the vehicle by means of the evaluation unit of the onboard unit; and in the onboard unit, calculating a toll as a function of the number of passengers

Re:Possibly just a bad idea or worse? (1)

dammy (131759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613516)

Wait till they add GPS for real fun and excitement. Little store and forward of a picture of the driver's face once the GPS speed reading goes over the posted speed limit which is uploaded at the next toll plaza.

Re:Possibly just a bad idea (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613708)

You can't tell from a patent application, either way, as you tend to add on any conceivable use.

only a matter of degree (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613236)

The police can already get your ezpass/fastpass/ipass records fairly easily, which makes it easy to see where you've been and when. The real solution is to not trade your privacy for a few seconds of convenience while driving.

Re:only a matter of degree (2)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613370)

They photograph your license plate at all manual toll collection points too. The police can get those records just as easily. Dropping the pass in favor of dropping coins in the slot doesn't help.

Re:only a matter of degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613530)

It just costs you twice as much... cash tolls are double the iPass tolls.

Re:only a matter of degree (1)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613748)

So manually paying the tolls is more expensive, takes you longer and doesn't do anything to improve your privacy. Sounds like the decision is a no-brainer to me.

Re:only a matter of degree (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613654)

Well, you can either do that or accept the fact that you don't have a right to privacy when you're driving on a public road. And I don't know about IPass, but if you're talking ezpass and you're trying to drive into Manhattan, it can easily be a difference of 15-20 minutes or more, not a few seconds. And since they take a photograph of your license plate anyway, it doesn't really matter how you pay.

passive-backscatter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613238)

I thought that such transponders used a passive-backscatter technology like RFID, not requiring batteries?

Re:passive-backscatter? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613372)

I thought that such transponders used a passive-backscatter technology like RFID, not requiring batteries?

I think the issue is that RFID doesnt work at the range these devices need to operate it. EZPass has high-speed lanes in PA where you go through the device as full highway speeds. The detectors are a good 20 feet away from a small car. Also I have heard they use older technology which isn't standard RFID.

Most non-high-speed gates have a light that tells you if the device read in correctly or not.

However putting a camera in it? WTF man, WTF.

Re:passive-backscatter? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613452)

Passive RFID doesn't have the range, but active RFID does... and it uses batteries.

Not being RFID is a good reason why they might be replacing the hardware now. It would let them also scan for other active RFID tags.

Re:passive-backscatter? (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613442)

The Kansas KTAG system uses RFID. The transponder is actually a sticker you affix to your windshield. You can see the huge antenna and little chip in the middle of the sticker. Unfortunately, these do not operate at highway speed, and you must slow down to 20mph or even stop since the KTAG lanes are gated.

Well.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613244)

Tell them to f*ck off.

Can't you just..... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613254)

I have my own set of paranoia, one where some thief breaks the window of my car to steal my transponder. Unlikely, yes, but as a result, my transponder ends up in between the seats covered with paper. Can't you do something similar? Also, are you sure the transponder has a camera? Because that thing would run out of battery fast, and there's a difference (unfortunately) between patenting something and actually building it.

Re:Can't you just..... (1)

Wizzo1138 (769692) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613746)

Actually, my whole car was stolen with the transponder stuck on the window. When the police recovered the car a couple of days later, the engine, wheels, and entire interior had been stripped out, but the transponder was just laying on the floor. I'm guessing that even the car thieves know the transponders make them pretty easy to track.

Easy fix, no? (2)

ArrowBay (2326316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613262)

Seems like a little bit of black tape ought to fix the camera, no?

And how long will it be before somebody hacks it to transmit pictures of hentai [wikipedia.org] (NSFW) back to the Illinois traffic HQ?

Or, more likely: how long before somebody hacks it to pick up the camera feed from unauthorized recievers?

Re:Easy fix, no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613328)

Seems like a little bit of black tape ought to fix the camera, no?

nah.. just a really greasy fingerprint on the lense.. say one dipped in petrolium jelly prior to application to lense..

Sweet Invention! (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613266)

All you gotta do is put a camera on something? I'd like to patent Video Pants.

Re:Sweet Invention! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613402)

Video Pants killed the Radio Pants Star.

Non-story (5, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613274)

The next abstract part:

and an evaluation unit connected down-line of the camera that detects and counts the passengers of the vehicle in the image recording.

Sounds like a company that makes toll devices, are patenting a toll device that can enforce HOV Tolls by detecting if you actually have more then one person in the vehicle . . . . imagine that.

which informs them of a dead battery by sending a ticket in the mail.

Nothing in that first page had *anything* to do with a battery, it had to do with their billing system and having invalid license plate data.

This uninformed answer made me research the device.

And come up with the completely wrong conclusion.

Jesus christ I know /. isn't what it used to be, but seriously is this the Daily Mail now?

Re:Non-story (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613600)

This uninformed answer made me research the device.

And come up with the completely wrong conclusion.

Thanks for this... Even for the heavily tinfoil leaning Slashdot Demographic this was a spectacularly bad article.

Re:Non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613650)

Nothing in that first page had *anything* to do with a battery, it had to do with their billing system and having invalid license plate data.

It was about someone whose device missed five consecutive tolls. The device must have been broken, or it must have had a dead battery.

What about the children? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613280)

What if a baby (a baby) does a huge poop (they store that up for the car, I'm sure of it) and you have to change them in plain site of that evil camera. Why you would being filming and transmitting what is by all means scat child porn. I'd refuse on those grounds alone...
a bit silly I know; but the law is the law.

Worst slashdot article ever? (5, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613288)

There is no camera in any ipass system nor any intention of doing so. Camera tech is ancient, this could have been implemented 10 years ago. I know this is the kind of manufactured controversy that gets ad impressions for slashdot, but please, there are real problems in the world, and this isn't one of them.

Re:Worst slashdot article ever? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613638)

There is no camera in any ipass system nor any intention of doing so.

Governments always claim there's 'no intention of doing so' until the day they do it.

Coins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613292)

If it comes down to it Ill Just go get a couple rolls of dimes and call it a day... Ha found a flaw in you plan illinois.. And after living in IL my entire life I want out...

Re:Coins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613598)

Move to Michigan, it feels almost lawless here since you're so used to being picked on by IL cops.

In Michigan we drive 85mph every day in our 70 zones without so much as a hint that there's a cop. They also don't pull U-turns just to follow young guys in sports cars like they do back in IL.

I moved to Michigan in 2007 when the economy was crashing. It was still lightyears better than my entire life during good times in IL. Don't be fooled by how poor the state is.... That just means their slipping police numbers force them to concentrate on real crime. Stay out of the hood and you'll be fine.

Look into a city like Troy.

Just put it away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613302)

When I'm not using my EZPass transponder (SF Bay area), it's in a foil pouch in the glove box. I only take it out when I'm immediately passing though tolls.

One good thing about NY (1)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613304)

Here in NY we have EZ-Pass, which is also used by several other states (though I hear some of the other states charge fees for them). NY doesn't charge for the transponder itself, and they provide a faraday cage bag to keep it in when not in use (showing they realize people don't want a permanent transponder). It doesn't beep when a toll is paid, instead you wait for the light to turn green as you go through the toll booth. The only privacy issue is that the state could theoretically measure how long it takes you to get from one booth to another and try to automatically issue speeding tickets.

I guess IPASS must be one of those "no-booth" systems where you don't have to slow down or stop (thus the need to beep), but I can't imagine why they would think they could get away with a camera. Though, just because the company filed a patent for the idea doesn't mean the transponder has one.

Re:One good thing about NY (1)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613458)

Here in NY we have EZ-Pass (...) The only privacy issue is that the state could theoretically measure how long it takes you to get from one booth to another and try to automatically issue speeding tickets.

They actually do that.

It hasn't happened to me but it has happened to people I know.

Re:One good thing about NY (1)

avm (660) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613534)

They do track time between EZPass hits, though enforcement is particularly focused on commercial vehicles.

Re:One good thing about NY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613762)

Any real world reference to this or more details other than "they do"? I assume this would depend on the individual state you are driving in. About 6 years ago, I picked up a NY EZ-Pass at some huge rest area in the center of the highway as I was passing through NY on my way to Niagra Falls. I haven't used it in the state of NY since that day but I do use it a lot in VA and PA. I'm surprised no one from NY highways or Easy-Pass has complained and told me to get one from my home state.

Re:One good thing about NY (3, Informative)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613576)

This has never happened. They do not do this and the state has specifically said it will not.

Re:One good thing about NY (4, Interesting)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613720)

Ah, quite right, it appears. I had to ask again to make sure I got the story straight. The warnings they received were about speeding in the EZPass lane, not between the toll booths.

I went and looked it up... http://www.snopes.com/autos/law/ezpass.asp [snopes.com]

And there is an image of the warning at http://www.nytrafficticket.com/blog/index.php/2009/04/17/speeding-in-the-ez-pass-lane/ [nytrafficticket.com]

Carry on.

Re:One good thing about NY (1)

kobaz (107760) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613756)

They will issue a warning or cancel your ezpass if you speed through a booth area.

Re:One good thing about NY (1)

pancake_lover (310091) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613594)

Actually I-Pass & EZ-Pass are pretty much the same thing. The HW looks the same, probably the same company makes them. And you can use the I-Pass in NY, and the EZ-Pass in IL.

Only the really old I-Pass systems beeped. I think these over 10 years old.

And I have to say, this is one of the dumbest slashdot discussions I've seen in a long time. There are no plans to put cameras in I-Pass transponders. This would be all over the local media if it was even proposed.

Re:One good thing about NY (1)

burning-toast (925667) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613632)

Yeah, the toll booths we have what is called "open road tolling". We still have a handful of cash / iPass lanes on the side of the freeway (typically near on-off ramps) but then we get 3-4 lanes for straight through iPass traffic where you don't have to slow down at all from whatever normal freeway speeds you are driving at (most do slow down a little to avoid the occasional state patrol lurking near the ramps though).

To top that off, the iPass cuts the cost of the tolls in half over the stated prices for cash users at each toll. So a $1.10 toll is then $0.55 for an iPass user. Transponders are $10 and come pre-charged with a minimum of $40 worth of tolls on them. You can link them to your checking account to automatically refill once you run out too.

All in all they do save a very substantial amount of time and money for even casual drivers in IL. To top it off the amount on the pass does not expire either. I've bought a couple for my family (who lives out of state) so when they do come down here they don't need to get a ton of change from the bank before leaving or spend an extra 45-60 minutes in the toll lanes or accelerating / decelerating during peak driving times. Even if you only drive through the Chicago area two or three times a year it's worth it IMO.

When did Slashdot become Infowars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613312)

Every day now I'm seeing conspiracy-theorist/libertarian/"angry white man" propaganda on what used to be a fairly useful IT news site.

Shady deals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613322)

Maybe this is government corruption. The government could have bought lots of new transponders from a manufacturer that made large political donations and in order to get rid of them they force folks to replace their existing, perfectly functional, transponders.

Aug Malfunction (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613348)

Has anyone been experiencing weird reboots with their augs lately? I got an email from the LIMB clinic saying I should get the control chip replaced, think I'm going to go...

Lack of connection here (1)

Fiznarp (233) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613350)

Do you have any evidence that they are trying to replace your device with a new one that has a camera? Just because the manufacturer filed for some patent doesn't mean your state is using that technology, or that anyone would want to buy it for that matter. And then there's the tinfoil hat slippery slope conclusion that covering a camera might be illegal someday? Has anyone in your legislature proposed such an idea?

ticket for dead battery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613358)

If you follow the link about the ticket by mail, you will read that the problem was a plate mismatch. Presumably they have cameras at the booth like other states do, so if your battery dies they can look at the photo, match the plate, and send you a letter telling you that your battery died.

Solution: remove from car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613366)

1. Take the slow lane, get rid of transponder, don't let the gov't track your driving at all
- or -
2. Remove from cabin and store in metal lockbox in trunk when not in use

Or take transit, bike, telecommute, carpool...

This is a Conspiracy Theory (1)

rhkaloge (208983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613394)

This post is a series of unrelated facts that come together in a paranoid conclusion. Nowhere in here would I conclude that the state is adding cameras to their EZ-Pass, only that there is a company that COULD do that. Posting this was a really dumb editorial call, /.

Re:This is a Conspiracy Theory (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613526)

This post is a series of unrelated facts that come together in a paranoid conclusion. Nowhere in here would I conclude that the state is adding cameras to their EZ-Pass, only that there is a company that COULD do that. Posting this was a really dumb editorial call, /.

It's just timothy trying to people rile up because he fails at life. And there is nothing even remotely "editorial" about anything on Slashdot.

carpool discount, possible reason for the camera (5, Informative)

joeaguy (884004) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613432)

In the NYC area there are many toll discount programs for call pools with ezpass. In order to get the discount, you must use a cash lane even though you have an ezpass, so an attendant can confirm you are driving with the required number of people for the discount. So you pay less, but you get stuck in traffic with all the people paying cash. If a transponder had an inward facing camera then it could provide a way of letting you use ezpass only lanes and still get the discounts.

This application makes it no less freaky. I would only ever consider it if there were some technological privacy safeguard. For instance, a built in manually operated only door over the lens. When I approach a toll, I have to slide it open to allow the picture to be taken to get my discount. After the toll, I can slide it back closed.

There are lots of people who keep their ezpass in the metal coated bag and only mount it when they are near a toll, and there are non-toll ezpass readers all over the place, with the stated goal of monitoring traffic flow. Wanting to pay tolls faster and get discounts should not mean having to submit to random and capricious tracking and a total loss of privacy when traveling.

Re:carpool discount, possible reason for the camer (3, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613606)

When I approach a toll, I have to slide it open to allow the camera to image the picture of a fully occupied car I hold in front of the lens to get my discount. After the toll, I can slide it back closed.

FTFY.

Still, an inward-viewing camera inside the car? Monitored by a State agency? The reason doesn't matter. It's still creepy and wrong.

I don't really see what the issue is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613474)

From the Toll pass website:

I have one of the old display model transponders that beeps. Can I keep replacing the battery instead of swapping it out for a new transponder?

These older model transponders need to be replaced to ensure customers continue to receive the benefits of I-PASS and avoid toll violations. The Tollway recommends that these transponders be replaced for two important reasons:

1. The older transponder model is no longer being manufactured and, therefore, is no longer certified by the manufacturer.
2. Our testing has shown that the older transponder model does not perform as well as the new transponders on the new open road tolling system.

It's time to get over this patent stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613528)

Companies submit patents for many things they don't have any plans of ever implementing. I see it for Apple all the time for example and most of these things aren't done. I for example have several patents I invented for Apple and few of them are used.

It's time to stop being alarmist. Don't get yourself overexcited over nothing.

The right thing to do would be to get the 2nd generation pass. When you got it you would have noticed there is no camera on it. There's no need to instead get overexcited by giving out info that isn't turns out not to be true.

Probably a bit more subtle.... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37613588)

Actually... based on how they do it just over the line in MA, I bet there is a more subtle play going on.

Here, if a transponder stops working, or there is an account problem (happened to me) they treat it just like any other unpaid toll. They take a picture, and send you a ticket in the mail. This part is key you see. Now you call them up, and the process is now dealing with a ticket. They can't help you, and have no incentive to because its not collected and dealt with by the same people.

So I could call up, pay the tolls, and fix my account. However, I still had to, seperately, appeal the ticket... which they get to send via snail mail and put an unreasonably short time period on, at which point they get to tack on penalties which were intended for fraudulent users of the service.... and just because the original ticket was an account error thats been taken care of is, in their mind, no good reason to do away with the penalties for not paying them within 21 days.

On top of all this, you must file a written appeal, and then.... call them back repeatedly to see if they have answered it yet.

Basically....they have designed the system for maximum bilk, and the last thing they want is you getting an early warning that there is a red white and blue cock locked onto your ass.

Terrible "Story" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613700)

This one guy on the internet got a ticket back in 2005 because his supposedly died. Wow. What fail-proof iron clad scientific evidence you have there. If there were a nobel prize for ground breaking research in the area of tollway transponders, you would have won several times by now.

Unsubstantiated Illogical Conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613710)

Malory: Lana Kane, just because you're not the only black field agent...
Lana: Hey! That's not...
Malory: "Urban," whatever. You come in here and accuse Conway of...what, exactly?
Lana: OK, I can't prove anything right now, but that's
Malory: ...but that didn't stop J. Edna Hoover from prosecuting Martin Luther King, now did it?
Lana: What does that have to do with...wait, "J. Edna?"
Malory: You never heard? That J. Edgar Hoover was this huge crossdressing chicken-hawk?
Lana: I had not.
Malory: Well, that's exactly the kind of slanderous and unsubstantiated illogical conclusions that we will not tolerate at SLASHDOT.

oh well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613778)

whatever, replace battery ignore letter

Just avoid toll ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37613794)

You've paid your tax dollars to fund the construction of this infrastructure. Why pay a second tax to use it?

I have been known to drive 20 miles out of my way to avoid toll roads. They are a tax menace that need to be disposed of...quickly!

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