TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: A Pass on Privacy?

Re: A Pass on Privacy?

Dale Farmer (
Tue, 19 Jul 2005 02:17:47 GMT

Tony P. wrote:

> In article <>,
> says:


>> Anyone making long drives this summer will notice a new dimension to
>> contemporary inequality: a widening gap between the users of automatic
>> toll-paying devices and those who pay cash. The E-ZPass system, as it
>> is called on the East Coast, seemed like idle gadgetry when it was
>> introduced a decade ago. Drivers who acquired the passes had to nose
>> their way across traffic to reach specially equipped tollbooths -- and
>> slow to a crawl while the machinery worked its magic. But now the
>> sensors are sophisticated enough for you to whiz past them. As more
>> lanes are dedicated to E-ZPass, lines lengthen for the saps paying
>> cash.

>> E-ZPass is one of many innovations that give you the option of trading
>> a bit of privacy for a load of convenience. You can get deep discounts
>> by ordering your books from or joining a supermarket
>> 'club.' In return, you surrender information about your purchasing
>> habits. Some people see a bait-and-switch here. Over time, the data
>> you are required to hand over become more and more personal, and such
>> handovers cease to be optional. Neato data gathering is making society
>> less free and less human. The people who issue such warnings --
>> whether you call them paranoids or libertarians -- are among those you
>> see stuck in the rippling heat, 73 cars away from the ''Cash Only''
>> sign at the Tappan Zee Bridge.

> Of course when they pry too deeply you can always lie. I do it
> regularly with store discount cards, etc. They can have my name, I
> don't care about that. But address, phone number, email, etc. if
> required will ALWAYS be fudged.

> Of course EZ-Pass is linked to a credit or debit card so it would be
> trivial to dig for information that way.

> And for those of a technical bent, it would be easy to run a bootleg
> EZ-Pass. It is after all and RFID device and you could read numbers
> all day long and then have your computer equipped RFID device send
> random numbers to the sensors.

> Interestingly the city of Providence is putting in parking kiosks. You
> can either insert cash or purchase a ProvPas. It's a mag-stripe based
> system. The card has the amount deposited for the account written on
> the magnetic stripe. But cards are just purchased for cash so one with
> a reader-writer could definitely have some fun with the system.

That's what crooks thought they could do with the metrocard system
used in the Washington DC subway system.


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: What happened with the crooks and the
metrocard system in the Washington, DC subway? Feel like telling us
the story? PAT]

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