EzPass Maker’s Latest Privacy-Intrusion Patent

We all agreed to a certain amount of tracking when we signed up for EZ-Pass service.  This service allows us to pass along toll roads without having to stop or even slow down in some areas.  The RFID technology embedded in the E-Z Pass transceiver provides the information necessary for E-Z Pass to bill our account and pay the government.

We’ve talked about problems with tracking using OnStar before, and they’ve decided to not be quite so intrusive to the benefit of all their current (and even former) subscribers.  Their ability to track and shut down GM vechicles, however, still remains.

In a bit of a twist for E-Z Pass, they’ve recently filed a patent for an RFID device which includes both forward and rear-facing cameras.  These cameras would be used to take pictures of the occupants of the vehicle along with pictures of the surroundings.  The reason?

It appears that Kapsch wants to be able to help States monitor their High-Occupancy-Vehicle (HOV) lanes.  They’re looking to use the technology in their new E-Z Pass transponders, combine it with facial recognition technology in an effort to be able to automatically identify and fine HOV-lane violators.

Remember that the existing E-Z Pass technology could readily be used to monitor our speed (and in fact is in New York State) and that information could be used to automatically issue “Speeding” tickets, additional transit tolls based upon time-of-day and much more.

Just because they filed the patent, doesn’t mean that we’ll have cameras on our E-Z Pass devices any time soon, but the prospect definitely raises some real concerns.

Kapsch signed a 10 year contract to provide transponders for 22 toll systems in the United States, and their transponders can be found in 41 countries and 64 million cars worldwide.

Maybe having your picture taken by your E-Z Pass will make you some sort of world-wide celebrity?