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Police and Lawyers Love E-ZPass

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the tracking-made-ez dept.

Privacy 736

John_Schmidt writes "The AP is reporting that police are using EZ-Pass records to solve crimes. Lawyers are also getting the records to use in divorce cases. The article also mentions that the NYS Thruway has sensors to read the cards along the highway (not just at toll booths) but says the data is scrambled and not stored."

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How soon.. (5, Insightful)

Joe U (443617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695108)

How soon before:

You passed between milepost 1 and 15 in under 6 minutes, here's your speeding ticket.

Re:How soon.. (4, Insightful)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695139)

Then the real question is how long until I peel that bitch right off of my windshield.

Answer: Not long at all.

Re:How soon.. (5, Interesting)

Politburo (640618) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695144)

EZ-Pass commissions have always operated under the promise that this would not be done. If it were ever to be enacted, you would see a lot of people dumping EZ-Pass, since many of the roadways in EZ-Pass areas have average traffic speeds over the speed limits, and the cost of even a small speeding ticket is ridiculous with the current insurance regulations and policies.

Re:How soon.. (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695207)

maybe for now. Just wait until there is a single tollbooth with a real person and the rest are EZ-Pass.

Re:How soon.. (1, Flamebait)

interiot (50685) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695405)

Then government representatives will be able to make political hay by showing up for photo-ops when the toolbooths are converted back for real-live-people mode. Illinois' governor recently did his toll-booth photo-op [] for a two-lane toll booth an hour outside Chicago.

(or they'd make political hay from mandating a no-evil-uses-with-EZPass policy, but this is Slashdot, so we all just assume a police state is inevitable, right?)

Re:How soon.. (1)

StewedSquirrel (574170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695219)

Ahh yes, there are other areas that I have heard of doing this, including areas in Massachusets. I think the ticket only triggers if the average speed is greater than 15 over the limit, which means most speeders don't get tickets anyway...


Re:How soon.. (1)

mariox19 (632969) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695291)

15 mph over the limit is fast, but not unusual in some areas. Wait until a whole slew of people are mailed tickets, when all they were doing was "keeping up with the flow of traffic." This will be a windfall for the state, unless a someone gets wise to this and it makes the news.

Legislation (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695294)

How many times have technologies, Ideas, Concepts been introduced with the premis that it will not be used in ways other than those stated. Then boom new party, new legislation and new use. Example the Homeland Security Act. I think municipalites should be liable for incorrect use of intended resourses. E-ZPass systems are intended for electronic Toll Booths therefore that is what it should be used for anything else should be deemed as abuse !!

incentives? (4, Interesting)

Frisky070802 (591229) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695341)

It's possible to do this on a voluntary basis. For instance, I heard of a car rental agency that gave a big discount if you'd use a GPS that would alert them to excessive speeding. Coercion or good business? I could imagine a setup where insurance companies give people money off if they go along with this, and many might be willing to make that tradeoff.

Hype and FUD ? (0)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695423)

Geeze people mine won't even read if its on the floor board cause the kids were playing with it...
So you pull it out to get over the bridge, then put it away, seems rather simple...The monitor you have to watch out for is the GPS unit in the black box on ALMOST EVERY CAR with airbags, it is used to help trigger the unit and can't be deactivated unless you turn off your airbags :(

Re:How soon.. (1)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695151)

Man, if you go 14 miles in 6 minutes (140mph) then you deserve the ticket and a court summons.

Re:How soon.. (5, Funny)

Joe U (443617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695222)

And if you do it in New York City, you should get some kind of cash prize.

(There's always traffic in NYC, traffic at 2am on the Cross Island Parkway...WHY?!)

Re:How soon.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695300)

I get off work at 2am you insensitive clod!

Re:How soon.. (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695156)

... like in France, for example...


Re:How soon.. (1)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695158)

How soon before:

You passed between milepost 1 and 15 in under 6 minutes, here's your speeding ticket.

In the UK, a few years ago.

This is from memory, sorry no link.

Now (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695188)

it is happening in California.

Re:How soon.. (2, Insightful)

axxackall (579006) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695208)

Personally I appreciate it. Changing the speed limit signs to increase should be the only way to move faster, not violation of existing ones.

Now if the highway is not busy most (if not all drivers) are violating the law by speeding. It's bad because it creates a style of thinking: "it's ok beacuse everyone's doing the same". No need to mention that many people are dead from speeding.

But, I repeat again, if the highway speed is unreasonable low then you should use your democracy, with which you are so proud you have it, and change the speed limit signs.

I don't think that anything's wrong with tracking my speed. One way or another cops are doing it anyway. Let's them just do it in a style of 21 century :)

Re:How soon.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695338)

The problem is that the maximum safe speed for a road isn't fixed. It changes based on the car, driver and conditions of the road, weather.

However, something that doesn't change is that it is always very dangerous to have a large difference between the speed of cars on the road. It is dangerous for someone to be doing 85 in a 65, but it is even worse if someone else on the road is doing 55.

Re:How soon.. (0, Offtopic)

andreMA (643885) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695363)

But, I repeat again, if the highway speed is unreasonable low then you should use your democracy, with which you are so proud you have it, and change the speed limit signs.

You must not be a US citizen, or have not read the Diebold memos. Democracy in the US now consists of being able to buy politicans with campaign contributions.

Re:How soon.. (2, Informative)

firebeaker (52242) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695230)

In the past, I think NJ might have done that from the data from the tickets... ie, you take the ticket when you entered the highway, exited 80 miles away, and the time difference was 60 minute - BINGO, you were speeding.

In cases like that, they could go after the people who take tickets just as easily as those with EZ-Pass (or Fastlane in MA etc)

Re:How soon.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695362)

On the turnpike a lot of the tickets are paper fare tickets handed out the toll booth by a human being off a big stack they're holding. There isn't a very efficient way to tag a specific ticket and track it.

Re:How soon.. (1)

firebeaker (52242) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695417)

In those cases, no. But if XXX% are averaging over 20 mph over the limit, and 10% have tickets proving it, and XXX is anything over, say, 10%, that's still at least 1 out of every 100 cars getting speeding tickets, a far greater number than those being pulled over by cops, and a far larger deterent, as neither radar/laser detectors nor a sharp eye can really keep you from getting caught. (Only hoping to get in the non-automated lanes might help in that case...)

Re:How soon.. (4, Interesting)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695231)

In nearly every place that is not enough evidence to prove speeding. Similar things were tried with paper toll booth tickets, and judges tossed them out.

That said, why does anyone have a problem with this? Highways are public. Where you go is [largely] public information. If you have a problem with speeding laws, change the laws, not the enforcement. Would people be less upset if they paid tons more money to post a guy with photographic memory at each toll booth and watch everoyne go by?

The only problem I have is that people aren't more honest about the system.

Re:How soon.. (1)

kaschei (701750) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695378)

It's actually proven by the fundamental theorem of calculus (well one of them): a particle going from point A to point B will at some time be traveling at its average speed. I would like to know why the judges felt this was not compelling evidence, because my calculus teacher's father apparently received tickets in this manner. Then he wizened up... he went twenty over the speed limit still, he just parked at a rest stop before exiting, or so she claims.

EZ Pass isn't needed for this (1)

Hollins (83264) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695263)

In Illinois, toll booths have cameras that photograph the license plates of vehicles that go through a toll lane without paying. OCR software deciphers the plate number and a ticket can be issued without human review.

A simple software change can expand the system to issue speeding tickets.

Obstinately insisting on stopping and using coins is probably just a meaningless gesture.

Re:EZ Pass isn't needed for this (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695311)

*hee* I got one of those once. My E-Z pass tag malfunctioned. When the software deciphered my old plate, it came up with the letter "O" instead of the number "0". Simple appeal, pay the $1.70 toll... *boom* done.

Re:How soon.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695303)

How soon before...

Not soon enough, IMHO. Imagine how many countless lives could be saved by using this technology to get wreckless assholes who can't drive safely off the road. So called "privacy advocates" be damned, there's absolutely nothing a reasonable person could consider private about the speed of a car on a public road.

Re:How soon.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695374)

I'm thinking of a Benjamin Franklin quote just for you right about now...

Re:How soon.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695349)

What the fuck is an EZ-Pass? Slashdot editors - don't ever try to get a job as regular journalists!

Re:How soon.. (1)

pcTechnic (725317) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695381)

combined with current highway traffic camera's, the new talks to have haz-mat rigs tracked and remote controlled, and car's that have hidden recording systems our personal privacy in terms of travel has already been comprimised. however, i am not sure the evolution of the all seeing eye is all negative. you have to remember in 10-15 years when we have remote controlled cars with translucent projection tv's and all that jazz - these issues will be irrelevant because the technology will also allow tracking. short range electro-magnetic pulses exist and have been used to stop cars in highway chases? at least this is what i remember from one of those highway chase shows.

Re:How soon.. (1)

jdehnert (84375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695397)

Coming Soon...

EZ Pass Gausian Envelopes! Pull the EZ Pass out when you get to the bridge, then tuck them safely away.

Re:How soon.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695424)

They did that with the paper tickets in the 70's but stopped due to the backlash.

oh yeah` (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695111)

first post.

ender wiggin rualz

Bzzzzzt YOU FAIL IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695159)

Sorry, YOU FAIL. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

Giving Tickets (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695116)

Its only a matter of time before the police start giving out tickets for speeding based on EZPass enter and exit times.

Why Wait? (5, Funny)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695118)

Let's just get those RFID tags injected into our necks and get this over with. It is inevitable.

Re:Why Wait? (1)

pelirojatica (533396) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695268)

Funny? Yeah, a little.

But mostly it's FREAKING FRIGHTENING! And mostly I'm frightened it's inevitable.p>

Re:Why Wait? (2, Funny)

Jeffery McGrew (541937) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695327)

RFID tags? In the neck? WTF?

Why didn't anyone tell me about this before I went and had this damn barcode tattooed onto my forehead?!?

Always outdated. Damn. Now I'm not gonna be 'cool'.

Re:Why Wait? (1)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695422)

We have the technology. []

Now *umph* hold still, dammit.

And why not??? (2, Insightful)

blankmange (571591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695121)

Do you sign a contract that states your usage of the EZ-Pass will not be tracked/used/etc...? Probably not, so if you allow yourself to be tracked and are doing illegal/illicit activities, it boils down to you aren't smart enough to be a good criminal...

Re:And why not??? (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695345)

EZ-Pass stores only the data that's needed to bill you, and no matter what a court can always demand that be turned over if there's a good reason to.

The non-toll sensors mentioned in the article are intentionally designed not to identify users, just to allow the Thruway authority to track the average speeds on the road. The state authorities really don't have much incentive to write speeding tickets for reasons reasons other than safety in New York State, because the fines are payable to the city or town in which the ticket was written, even if by a state cop. For that reason any "You couldn't get from Point A to Point B that fast!" ticket in NYS would have the instant problem of all the mayors from A to B fighting over who deserves the money.

For now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695127)

Yeah, but for how long?

Simple solution (2, Funny)

bobthemuse (574400) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695132)

Send me your EZ-pass and $5, I'll put in a small push-button switch. Only activate it when you're not out doing illegal things :-)

Re:Simple solution (4, Informative)

Politburo (640618) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695184)

The EZ-Pass transponder comes with an anti-static bag which blocks transmission of signals to the device, in case you may wish to pay the toll by other means. The EZ-Pass instructions implore you to keep the bag in your glove compartment at all times.

Re:Simple solution (4, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695257)

If your anti-static bag is not available, store it in your tin-foil hat. Same effect.

Re:Simple solution (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695425)

If your anti-static bag is not available, store it in your tin-foil hat. Same effect.

Actually, the North Texas Tollway Authority [] distributes (or used to distribute) their TollTags wrapped in foil. But I was an "early adopter", so they may have upgraded to anti-static bags now.

Just a random bit of trivia...

Re:Simple solution (1)

morelife (213920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695407)

If married, bag goes over head of whoever is riding shotgun.

Re:Simple solution (0)

akedia (665196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695209)

Sorry, won't work. EZ-Pass is a passive electronic transponder. There's no closed powered circuit to "shut off" with a switch.

Re:Simple solution (1)

Jeffery McGrew (541937) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695355)

Sure, that sounds like a great idea!

And I'm the wallet inspector. You better mail me your wallet, and I'll make certain it's legal.

Instant Alibi!!! (5, Interesting)

vaguelyamused (535377) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695172)

This could work both ways. Give your EZ pass to your buddy(or clone it and attach it someone's car) and send them on their way.

Re:Instant Alibi!!! (2, Insightful)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695223)

Instant accessory to a felony -- "We have documented evidence that you drove or rode with the suspect..."

Re:Instant Alibi!!! (1)

alset_tech (683716) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695240)

This would be similar to the episode of Matlock in which a fellow had his wife speed through a camera checkpoint with a mask of his face during the time when he committed a murder. A ticket with photo was issued taken at the same time as the murder on separate sides of town. I'd use this EZ in an instant, if I really had anything (devious) I needed to accomplish.

Re:Instant Alibi!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695385)

Don't keep us in suspense man! Tell us how Matlock cracked the case so we won't make the same mistake!

Re:Instant Alibi!!! (1)

blugu64 (633729) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695409)

call me a nerd but wasn't that columbo? I'm pretty sure that it was one of those Columbo mini-movie things.....pretty good episode IIRC

Re:Instant Alibi!!! (1)

hta (7593) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695264)

this has actually happened - not with ezpass but with mobile phones.
in a certain (rather spectacular) murder trial in Norway, one suspect's mobile phone was on an extended trip very far away from the murder site at the time, tracked by your ever-friendly telco's "cell tower association records". We do not know if the suspect went along.....

Re:Instant Alibi!!! (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695408)

I think this story is about 3 years too late, Law & Order [] already did an episode where E-Z pass records were key evidence.

Another L&O: Special Victims Unit came out in its second season with E-Z Pass records. []


nil5 (538942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695173)

ALERT ALERT!!!! This is even worse than having to have a LICENSE PLATE! I don't want anyone else, (LET ALONE POLICE!) knowing who I am.

Re:INVASION OF PRIVACY (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695346)

This is even worse than having to have a LICENSE PLATE! I don't want anyone else, (LET ALONE POLICE!) knowing who I am.

I realize you meant that as a joke, but some of us don't want our whereabouts known at every second of every day. This has nothing to do with paranoia (beyond the standard healthy dose), or a penchant for illegal activities. I just don't want my every move tracked.

Also, realize that this has a huge potential for abuse... I go through a toll perhaps once a month. If I had one of these EZ Passes (or the local equivalent, the TransPass), I would not notice for up to a month if someone stole it and had earned me quite a bit of debt. Now, even aside from the bill, what happens when my TransPass record for the past month shows me regularly visiting a mistress, or a crime scene, or some other place I've never gone, all because someone thought ahead of time to cover their tracks and use a stolen TransPass? Yeah, suuuuuuure the police/divorce-attourney will believe someone nabbed by pass and I just didn't notice...

This boils down to the classic argument about speed cameras - they don't prove a driver, just a vehicle. Although some may justify the inconvenience (personally, I find it reprehensible) of getting a ticket after loaning out your car to a friend, the situation goes from "annoyance" to potentially "pound-me-in-the-ass-prison" or "lose-everything-to-ex-wifey" when records like these suffice as "evidence" of the actual driver in court. I do not consider that even remotely acceptible, nor should any of us.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695392)

The worst thing about a car is the odometer. Many of them allow ANYONE to look in from outside to see how far you have driven?! WTF is up with that?! And when you try to sell it, everyone asks to check the odometer, like my word isn't trustworthy!?

Freedom of Choice. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695176)

Convenience? Privacy?
Convenience? Privacy?

Decisions, decisions.

Re:Freedom of Choice. (1)

mutewinter (688449) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695368)

What is important is that we have that choice..right now.

Fast everyone!!! (-1, Redundant)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695189)

Stop what you are doing and wrap your EZ-pass in aluminum foil at once!!

This is not a problem, it's an opportunity (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695210)

I will shortly be selling a kit that allows you to clone an EZ-pass card through my regular channels (read: guys in the states who advertise in the back of magazines sell COD) for selling cable descramblers. My hand held tag reader, concealable as a road side rock with a battery that lasts 3 days, is priced out the range of causual snoopers -- but some reporters have already used to collect the tag ids of a number of celebraties and politicians and start monitoring them.

Re:This is not a problem, it's an opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695421)

Watch out for Jack Nicholson

I just tuck the EZ-Pass under my... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695212)

...tin foil chapeau whenever I don't want the man tracking me.

Why the need? (1)

Isopropyl (730365) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695214)

"Why have data out there about yourself when there's no reason for it?" he said.

My sentiments exactly. If there's no need for anyone to know anything about me, then they shouldn't know it. I know I won't be getting one of those electronic passes anytime soon.

Although I do understand the opposition: if I've got nothing to hide, I shouldn't worry, right?

This is just part of the cost (2, Interesting)

Fred IV (587429) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695218)

No problem at all for me, my EZPass literally saves me hours a week since I'm on the NJ Turnpike regularly.

If I was planning on doing something seriously illegal, I'd just ditch the tag first. The cops who got caught claiming false overtime deserved it, not because they did wrong, but because they were stupid enough to think they weren't leaving an auditable trail behind them.


Re:This is just part of the cost (2, Informative)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695309)

If I was planning on doing something seriously illegal, I'd just ditch the tag first

I'm beginning to believe we will never be able to get people to understand that government snooping is worrisome even to law-abiding citizens. They came for the Jews, and I wasn't Jewish...

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the transportation authorities routinely delete their tracking info so that even a subpeona can't retrieve it.

I have a solution to this problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695225)

Don't do anything wrong. Then you won't have to worry about the police tracking you. Problem solved, mmkay?

Re:I have a solution to this problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695350)


Re:I have a solution to this problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695369)

Sure thing. You end the War on Some Drugs, and I'll stop breaking the law.

This is good! (-1, Offtopic)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695235)

Although based in North Carolina, Virginia is asserting jurisdiction over Jaynes because he sent messages through computers located in the state.

So he hijacked other computers in Virginia to send the spam. If that is the case, I hope they throw the book at him. And if this law works, I hope other states adopt it.

Paper trail for IRS (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695241)

I used to work for a home contractor in the NYC suburbs. We crossed the Hudson river every day over the Tappan Zee bridge, and used EZ-Pass to pay the tolls. (Those out of the area, please be patient.) Now, contractors are notorious for taking cash payments whenever possible, and how much of this income they report in taxes is no doubt a small fraction.

So, what happens when any one of these contractors, or businessmen in similar circumstances, has their tax returns audited? How long will it be until EZ-Pass and other similar systems are used to "establish a pattern": meaning, evidence that you do business every day of the year, even though you report your income as seasonal, occasional or whatever?

And that's just taxes!!!

We're being watched, and the full implications of this are scary.

Duh... (2, Informative)

Misch (158807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695265)

New York businessman Solomon Friedman ... Anyone with technical savvy, he said, could track radio signals from the cards. He designed a pouch a driver can store the card in, blocking the signal when not in the toll lane.

Dipshit didn't design it, you get one of those from E-Z Pass when you get your tag. Maybe he made one that looks a little less like an anti-static bag that a computer component would come in, bu it's not original.

Re:Duh... (5, Funny)

StupaflyD (729788) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695358)

Yes. My EZ-Pass wears a tinfoil hat too.

Re:Duh... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695380)

Also, this isn't truely RFID. You need to send quite the signal to make an E-Z Pass identify itself, and then quite the antenna above to catch the signal you generated. Therefore, nobody can really do so secretly, you'd need a structure the size of, uhm, a toll booth, if you were gonna try to mask it. :)

RFID (1)

femto (459605) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695274)

So, does anyone *really* believe that RFID tags won't be used for tracking?

Re:RFID (1)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695391)

If you can't see the difference between RFID tags and free passes... well...

And if you ARE that paranoid, you should support RFID tags EVERYWHERE. The sheer amount of data will be impossible to manage. :-)

Cell phones too (4, Informative)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695276)

Don't forget that other tracking device that we all carry, cell phones. It's constantly transmitting while powered on. Right now, the phone company only logs your location by cell site, a radius of many miles. Police could still find someone by triangulating their signal with specialized (meaning expensive) equipment, but E911 [] changes all that. They'll be required to pinpoint the location of any caller by 50-100 meters.

Note to criminals... (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695357)

...don't carry cell phones.

Ah, back to the good ol' days of the one-way pager!

Re:Cell phones too (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695376)

actually the gsm system already allows to pinpoint you pretty well, by few meters usually(by signal strenghts from the gsm access points that are nearby, automatically, and then that info combined with the information on where the ap's are located).

for years already. the thing is that you have to have legislation that clearly tells that anything like that(without permission) is out of the question without a _very_ good reason(and of course enforce that legislation).

Turn it off (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695399)

My phone has a setting for that: Location on all calls or location on 911 calls only.

Re:Cell phones too (1)

mutewinter (688449) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695412)

Interesting how corporations always give us a choice..governments don't.

Old saying: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695290)

If you outlaw crimes, only criminals will commit them.

FasTrak (4, Interesting)

horsie (91009) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695293)

Here in California, we have FasTrak. They already acknowledge that they use sensors on the road to determine traffic conditions. They also said that you can opt-out of this. They even supply the mylar bags so that you don't get tracked this way. They sent out a letter informing users of this earlier this year and even sent an additional mylar bag.

The FAQ [] for Fastrak mentions the mylar bags in relation to carpool lanes. Same principle for traffic conditions.

Hmm.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695295)

Internet Explorer Spoofing Vulnerability Found []
By Matt Hicks
December 10, 2003

Users could be lulled into providing sensitive information through a Internet Explorer browser vulnerability that allows fake URLs to obscure the real domain.

A new vulnerability discovered this week in Internet Explorer could allow for the spoofing of URLs in the Web browsing, potentially putting users' sensitive information at risk.

Security researchers confirmed a vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6 that could let an attacker display a fake URL in the browser's address bar in an attempt to disguise the real domain, according to a security bulletin released on Tuesday by Danish security company Secunia Ltd.

Using the security hole, an attacker could trick users into providing sensitive information or download malicious software by leading them to think that they are visiting a trusted site, the advisory said.

Secunia rated the vulnerability as "moderately critical." A Microsoft spokesperson on Wednesday said that the company knows of no exploits of the reported hole or of any users being affected but said in a statement that it is "aggressively investigating the public reports."

Microsoft may provide a fix through its monthly patch release cycle or a separate patch, depending on the outcome of the investigation, the spokesperson said. Earlier this week, however, Microsoft said that it would not release any security bulletins for the month of December.

See what eWEEK columnist Brian Livingston has to say about Microsoft's patch release schedule.

Secunia, in its advisory, said that IE allows spoofing because of an input validation error. To fix the gap, the advisory suggests that users turn on URL filtering capabilities in a proxy server or firewall to block malicious characters and character sequences and to avoid clicking Web links unless they are from a trusted source.

New level but... (1, Insightful)

neiffer (698776) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695297)

Well, yes, this is disturbing...but is it any different than the amazing records kept on us financially?

License plate cameras (4, Insightful)

phr1 (211689) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695339)

An awful lot of tollbooths also have license plate cameras, so who needs EZpass? Maybe they're just going to analog video recordings for now, but one assumes the license plate images are easy to OCR and that can be done in real time soon enough. I'm sure I could easily do it with a webcam. Of course once all tires have RFID, then every magnetic traffic light sensor and parking meter can have RFID readers built in.

Houston TransStar + Parking (4, Interesting)

DaRat (678130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695344)

The Houston area version is called EZ-Tag. In addition to the "go through the toll booths" quickly aspect, data is fed into the Houston TranStar [] system along most of the major freeways.

The TranStar site is great because you can easily get an idea of traffic conditions before leaving your home/office. Interesting data includes historical speed graphs.

The automatic garage doors at our office building can also be set up to read the EZ-Tag and automatically open the doors when we pull up.

Too Bad.. (-1, Troll)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695364)

This morning Netcraft issued this alert:

EZ Pass is dying. Many Apple and BSD users have an EZ Pass, and this is asphixiating the system. We recommend moving to a more difficult (not so EZ) transportation means immediately.

One Pass... (5, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695365)

One Pass To rule them all
One Pass to find them
One Pass to bring them all
And in the darkness, bind them

Thank you, Sir Rudy Giuliani, former NYC prosecutor, for pushing the E-Z Pass on us when you were NYC mayor, yapping about "court orders" and "due process" for access to the data. Now you can see all the motorists on the East Coast shining in your Palantir.

Another domain (1)

Frisky070802 (591229) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695367)

I don't see any comments referring to all the Law & Order episodes in which a crook is tripped up by their metrocard. EZPass is just one domain in which our privacy is at risk. Is this necessarily a bad thing, if for instance mass transportation info were available only under subpoena? Another question....

What if.. (2, Interesting)

EMIce (30092) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695370)

Someone builds their own EZ-Pass readers for fun and profit. I'd assume anyone with RFID engineering knowledge could find out what frequency the tag operates on, either by bringing some kind of radio monitor to an EZ-Pass booth or by taking the tag apart. Each TAG should send a unique response, encrypted or not. It could for example be used by high schools to make sure kids don't leave, for one thing. I'm sure the rest of the slashdot crowd could come up with plenty more big brother like scenarios.

a little thing I thought of (4, Interesting)

loraksus (171574) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695372)

In the last couple of years, there has been a greater push to get "tough on crime" (or appear so, but we won't split hairs here, will we?) which basically means "put more people in prison than we did last year"

Because of this push and the fact that various law enforcement / "civil defense" agencies aren't really "up with the times" (sheer incompetence and the apparant inability to convict someone in a "regular court" might be a better way of stating this), in order to keep up - these same folks HAVE to turn to technology and to to push through poorly written legislation (or interpret it in interesting ways)in order to make their "quota".

Dunno, I probably have no credibility, but my belief that law enforcement is embracing all these new things is not because they are new, but they are too incompetent to keep up their statistics using traditional means. /shrug

Ofcourse, I prefer to remove my EZ-Pass (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695375)

and hold it near the rearview mirror when I approach a tollplaza. I can still use the EZ-Pass lane, it's faster and more convenient than paying cash, and there's none of this tracking business to worry about.

Call me paranoid, but I don't see any reason to make my info publicly available unless absolutely required.

Metrocard vs EZPass (4, Interesting)

Saeger (456549) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695377)

I can buy and refill my Metrocard ANONYMOUSLY. If that wasn't the case -- if I had no other choice than to have it linked to me personally -- then I would still be using those ancient subway tokens.

With EZPass, you don't have the option to pay cash and remain anonymous - you MUST be linked to thing even though there's no good reason for this to be the ONLY option. I can understand that some people don't give a shit about privacy and want to billed, but I'm guessing that there's a LOT of people out there just like me (in the cashonly lane) who would rather prepay in cash and be left alone.

I'm wondering if it would be illegal to setup a EZPass proxy organization?


Houston uses it for traffic tracking (4, Informative)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695379)

In Houston, Texas, the highway department has placed transponders all over the highway system... not just on the tollways [] , but on the freeways as well. This data is used to create very cool real-time maps [] of traffic conditions.

Since the transponders are compatible with other Amtech/TransCore [] systems, even vehicles from Oklahoma [] , Dallas [] , and other cities help keep the map up to date. In fact, the Dallas and Houston tollway systems are now interconnected -- the same tag will let you cruise through both systems.

Of course, the privacy implications of this convenience have been obvious from the beginning. If you have the need or desire for true anonymity, though, you're not in the market for a (non-disposable) cell phone or a TollTag anyway.

...misleading conclusions. (0, Offtopic)

lonb (716586) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695404)

Remember the scene from Police Academy [] when mahoney and the other guy ties their flashlights to the dogs collars, so that when the dogs are running around at night Harris thinks they are picking up trash?

Is this really that difficult? (4, Funny)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695419)

If you're going someplace you don't want recorded, put the freeway pass into the trunk. Duh.
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