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

Re: A Pass on Privacy?

Tony P. (
Sun, 17 Jul 2005 18:24:12 -0400

In article <>,


> 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.

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