TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Some Concerned About Privacy Implications of E-ZPass System

Re: Some Concerned About Privacy Implications of E-ZPass System

John Levine (
23 Mar 2005 23:13:47 -0000

> NH is just now getting E-Z Pass or some similar system?

E-ZPass started on the NY Thruway in 1993 and has been expanding over
the past decade to most of the toll facilites from Washington DC
northward. (The system in Massachusetts is called FastLane but it's
the same technology and it's part of the E-ZPass system.) NH is just
getting around to it.

The potential for privacy problems is severe, but to their credit I
don't think I've ever heard reports of abuses. Besides the
possibility of tracking people by tag use, there's the violation
tracking issue. If you drive through an E-ZPAss booth in NY with no
tag or an invalid tag, a camera takes a picture of your car and they
will ask the state DMV to look up the license plate number so they can
send you a ticket.

This actually happens, not just for NY violations but for nearby
states and provinces as well. In Toronto the 407 toll road has fully
automated toll collection, and if you don't have a tag, they send you
a bill based on your plate number. (The toll is much lower if you
have a tag, so regular users all have tags.) We've gotten bills for
our NY car that way, so NY is providing the info to Ontario as well.


John Levine Primary Perpetrator of The Internet for Dummies,
Information Superhighwayman wanna-be,, Mayor
"I dropped the toothpaste", said Tom, crestfallenly.


John R. Levine, IECC, POB 727, Trumansburg NY 14886 +1 607 330 5711, Mayor,,
Member, Provisional board, Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail

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