Tarry for the Nonce

August 12, 2005

Forget the I-Pass Problem

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:26 pm

A controversial plan to embed radio frequency identification chips in license plates in the United Kingdom also may be coming to the United States, experts told UPI’s Wireless World.

The so-called e-Plate, developed by the British firm Hills Numberplates, is a license plate that also transmits a vehicle’s unique identification via encryption that can be read by a small detector, whose output can be used locally or communicated to a distant host . . .

A single RFID reader can identify dozens of vehicles fitted with e-plates moving at any speed at a distance of about 100 yards. The e-plate looks just like a standard plate, but it contains an embedded chip that cannot be seen or removed. It is self-powered with a battery life of up to 10 years . . .

Indeed, the makers of the technology boast that the e-plates can furnish access control, automated tolling, asset tracking, traffic-flow monitoring and vehicle crime and “non-compliance.”

Dude, I’ve got your “non-compliance” right here!

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8 Comments

  1. Do I have to post this again?!

    They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security. -Benjamin Franklin

    Hmm, I’m thinking we need to curb this crap soon. I personally have a problem with this. Besides the apparent use to give speeding tickets (not that I’ve ever speeded…*ahem*), this is getting out of hand. I think its time the citizens got to vote on this stuff before the government decides to just force it on everyone.

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. -Thomas Jefferson

    I have sworn upon the alter of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. -Thomas Jefferson (My personal favorite)

    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. -Thomas Jefferson (My second personal favorite)

    When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe. -Thomas Jefferson

    Need I continue?

    Comment by Andrew P. — August 12, 2005 @ 3:51 pm

  2. I wonder if RFID blocking will become as popular as radar detectors. I also wonder if using it will be considered interference with government property.

    By the way, what’s the problem with the I-Pass? Aside from the deposit, I think they’re great!

    Comment by Mark — August 12, 2005 @ 4:00 pm

  3. They track when you get on and off the highway, your average speed, and one day will probably be used to provide a convenient way to give tickets to motorists who happen to go over the speed limit.

    Not to mention the fact that the Illinois government forced everyone to go to I-Pass by increasing the toll for those who don’t have I-Pass. Plus, it was a way to bail out of the debt the state’s been in via the $10 deposit and $40 balance requirements to sign up. IMHO, I-Pass is just another scam perpetrated by corrupt democrats. Of course, I’m sure a Republican governor would have done the same thing. The problem is, if you’re really poor, you can’t buy the I-Pass, and then, on top of that, have to pay twice as much in tolls. What happened to that social contract we supposedly have with the government?

    Realize Gov. Ryan had a proposal to increase 40 cent tolls to 70 cents and phase out the tollways by 2007 (or was it 2012?). Unfortunately, people were more pissed about the truck scandal than about getting rid of tollways, so…now we have this tollway system that requires RFID and tracking everywhere we go or you’re forced to pay twice as much as anyone else. I ask you, is that fair? I think not. Looks like its gonna be a while before we get rid of the temporary tollway system once and for all.

    The state government is starting to piss me off like the way the feds handled the Enron scandal. Because of the new GAP rules, my Employee Stock Purchase Plan is now @ a 5% discount, rather than 15% discount. Which means, approx. 10,000 people screwed everyone in other companies. Let me make it clear: 15% is a far better return than most people get in a year.

    In a corp. of 350,000+ employees, that’s a huge deal, especially if a large number of those employees buy stock at a discount. The fact that 10,000 employees (a minority) got screwed on their pension/401K plans only pisses me off to know that they caused me to lose a very easy way to make 15% a year on a part of my investments. Of course, there were approx. 50000 investors in Enron, but come on, this country has 290+ Million people…something is seriously wrong here.

    Sure, I’m a greedy jerk, but give it a rest. The majority should not suffer penalties because of a minority. How does this really protect me? Oh, does this mean I don’t buy stock in my 401K? Of course not, because the discount only applied to up to 10% of my salary in stock purchases outside of the 401K plan.

    Does this mean that I’ll steer clear of investing in my company? No way. Over the past 100+ years, this company has increased its revenue exponentially (at a slowing rate, mind you) every 13 years.

    🙂 Aren’t you glad I like to tangent….

    Comment by Andrew P. — August 12, 2005 @ 5:11 pm

  4. I’m in general agreement with Andrew here, but here’s a couple of Saturday morning nitpicks:

    The problem is, if you’re really poor, you can’t buy the I-Pass, and then, on top of that, have to pay twice as much in tolls.

    Well, my response to that would be that if you’re really poor, you should stay off the tollways, or at least not cruise them so much that an IPass is worth it. Driving in general is an expensive activity.

    It actually makes financial sense for Illinois to encourage the use of IPasses, since they cut down on the need to have expensive, high-maintenance change counting machines, and even more expensive and high-maintenance toll booth workers. This saves much taxpayer money in the long run, not to mention allows people to get through the tollbooths faster.

    As for giving tickets based on your estimated speed, I believe this was tried on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (or was it New Jersey?) a few years back. The way it works there, you get a ticket when you start, and then pay at the end. They’d see how long it took you, and if you got there too fast, here’s your speeding fine. I believe they had to can the program because even though they could prove that your car had been speeding, they couldn’t prove that you were driving it at the time.

    The privacy implications that Andrew brings up are quite real, though. I really would like to see Illinois offer some form of anonymous IPass refill program to relieve those. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why they insist on registering IPass owners at all, or treat it as a “violation” if you use your IPass in someone else’s car. The toll got paid, Rod, so say “thank you” and @#%! off.

    Comment by Toly — August 13, 2005 @ 8:16 am

  5. As for the RFID tags, I wonder what a few hundred volts across a license plate would do to them. I can foresee quite a nice little black-market business, “sterilizing” license plates.

    Comment by Toly — August 13, 2005 @ 8:18 am

  6. I don’t understand why they insist on registering IPass owners at all, or treat it as a “violation” if you use your IPass in someone else’s car.

    I think they do this so that a person doesn’t start using their personal I-Pass in a commercial truck, as trucks cost more to go through the tolls. Remember, its based on axles.

    Before I had my own I-Pass, I borrowed a friend of mine’s I-Pass for a bit and had no tickets doled out to me (and neither did he). I doubt that they’re going to enforce this unless there’s suspected violation involving money. Another reason is…let’s say there’s a crime that happens and you’re a suspect. If you were driving through a toll around XYZ time, and the crime happened at about the same time, then this may be used as evidence that you couldn’t have been the perpetrator; however, this may be easily thrown out, as there’s no verifiable proof that you actually had the I-Pass on your car….

    Of course, the privacy implications do outweigh the convenience. Yes, I could see how this is going to save a bunch of money, but if you’ve been around long enough in this area (or have relatives who were around before the tollways…), you’d know that the tollway was a temporary solution to pay for the highway. Well, that temporary solution that started in the 60s, became a permanent solution that has never gone away. That’s the negative effect of having citizens with short-term memories, and politicians that only serve for so many years then move on to bigger and better offices… no accountability for the broken promises that we have bought into (hmm, like the lottery).

    I love the government. They’re the only organization that can consistently get away with things and don’t really have any accountability.

    And by the time the scam is realized different people are in charge, and place the blame on their predecessors.

    :o)

    Comment by Andrew P. — August 15, 2005 @ 9:59 am

  7. Another reason is…let’s say there’s a crime that happens and you’re a suspect. If you were driving through a toll around XYZ time, and the crime happened at about the same time, then this may be used as evidence that you couldn’t have been the perpetrator; however, this may be easily thrown out, as there’s no verifiable proof that you actually had the I-Pass on your car….

    Oh, crap. There went my alibi!

    Innocent until proven guilty!!!

    Comment by Troy — August 15, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

  8. Well, my response to that would be that if you’re really poor, you should stay off the tollways, or at least not cruise them so much that an IPass is worth it. Driving in general is an expensive activity.

    Last I checked most working class folks actually have to commute to work. And, from personal experience, poor people are sometimes forced to take jobs that are miles and miles farther away than they’d like, and are forced to use one of our fabulous tollways.

    The irony is that everytime your balance falls below $10, it auto-renews back to $40. So, the state essentially gets free money they can draw interest on…not to mention the ‘$10 deposit’ that we’ll all get back once we return our I-passes…. it would be really nice to see how much actual money they have on hand from this scam. I’m sure they won’t balance the budget anytime soon.

    The government’s lack of fiscal responsibility is a sad commentary on the state of our society.

    Comment by Andrew P. — August 16, 2005 @ 10:57 am


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