And the silicon chip inside her car gets switched to overload

Gov. Patrick doesn't just want to raise gas taxes - he wants to implant RFID chips inside car inspection stickers. Big intrusion on privacy or biggest intrusion on privacy?



    Free tagging: 


    "Doesn't the gas tax by

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    "Doesn't the gas tax by definition force heavy drivers to pay more?"

    No, it doesnt. Not in 2014 anyway when youre driving your new electric car that weighs more than a gas using car, and thus does more road damage.

    Ive been following the logic

    Ive been following the logic pattern for why heavy drivers even came up in conversation and cant figure it out. Even among the biggest weight extremes your driving in a large vehicle so it doesnt make that big of an impact...

    As for RFID chips that is just really not cool. I can understand the need for cameras in public locations, and I can even understand having something in my cell phone so responders can find me when I dial 911 (even though its on all the time their is no apparatus in place to track me all the time, only when needed.) This car rfid chip is different, essentially there will be a large system in place tracking us all the time, presumably with a staff and screens and lots of computers. While its to collect money at first at some point the government will request to use it for a few terrorist cases, then a few amber alert cases, felony murder cases, next thing you know it the staff is huge and they are tracking people with late parking fines or some hot shot decides to harrass an ex girlfriend, or political opponent.

    Its funny I normally don't

    Its funny I normally don't agree with Bob Barr but he made a good point with fast lane, just don't do it lol. Note to self take fast lane off of the windshield if I'm going to cheat on my wife...

    Barf, barf, barf

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    "E-ZPass is an E-ZPass to go directly to divorce court, because it's an easy way to show you took the off-ramp to adultery," said Jacalyn Barnett, a New York divorce lawyer who has used E-ZPass records a few times.

    Jacalyn Barnett is a graduate of the Gene Shalit School of Writing in Punny Hack, NJ.


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    no thanks, I'll move out of state before I let the government have the ability to track me everywhere I go.

    Good luck with that

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    You do know that you not only need an RFID reader to track a vehicle, but your front and back plates can be photographed anywhere at any time.

    Hope you are happy in whatever state you find that doesn't require you to have license plates. Want 20 wives with that?

    I don't like it

    While the idea of it scares me, it would scare me less if it only measured miles and not location. It's the tracking aspect that is more of an invasion of privacy than simply knowing a quantity of distance. But either way, it's a bit much. Besides, what if I had a few acres and drove around my own property all day?

    Patent pending

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    On the day this appears to be headed for reality, I will be patenting a pair of woven metal-lined stickers that you will apply on the inside and outside of your window surrounding the RFID chip in a Faraday cage. The weave will be thick enough to shield the chip from activating signals, but thin enough to be non-obvious.

    "0 miles again this year, huh? Well, see you next year!"

    You can patent tin-foil?

    Sorry, but this sort of reminds me of people putting tin foil in their hubcaps when radar guns debuted. (except that it could be more effective ...)

    Seriously, though, I am NOT my car! Do you think all of your movements can be tracked by where your car has been? You don't share a car with anybody else? Do you drive everywhere? Do you fear license plates too?

    I can honestly say that such a device would be a rather poor predictor of where any one of us in my household has been/gone in a given year.

    On the other hand, I'm having difficulty understanding why they have to get all high tech with the RFID chips - why can't the nozzlejockey read the damn mileage off your odometer when you take the vehicle in for inspection, and put it into a data base that can calculate yearly mileage???

    Your case not withstanding I

    Your case not withstanding I AM my car and my car is ME. I work in a situation where I currently can not take public transportation everywhere I go because its not fast enough and its not extensive enough so my car is always within 4 blocks of me unless I happen to take a trip into the more crowded parts of Boston or am jumping between different parts of the same city (red line to get from Kendall to Porter Square, green line when Im in that area) but at that point my Charlie Card kicks in, which Im sure already has some sort of tracker to it and since I pay with a credit card they know who I am too. I dont believe Ive been more then 2 miles from my car or a mass transit station/bus stop that I recently used for over a year. That pretty much means that if the Charlie Card can already track me, and if my car were tracking me someone could come up with a year long itinerary of everywhere Ive been within a few blocks/maybe a few miles.

    My case may be extreme, but Im sure if someone really wanted to they could break down where you go and figure out who was using the car based off of other factors like Charlie Card usage, you cant use both at the same exact moment in time.

    Do you park in garages?

    If so, somebody already knows where you are and go from video cameras and your license plate.

    I'm skeptical of the RFID, but I'm not so sure it would be all that precise in tracking movements. Every RFID needs an RFID signal to interact with it - otherwise, it's just a piece of fancy foil. I somehow doubt there will be RFID readers on every street - probably just the major roadways and intersections.

    All the same, it seems like a waste of money to install such a huge system - let alone maintain it. Gas taxes and mileage tracking through the inspection system seems more reasonable, with a better system of traffic counters to get the roadway travel data makes more sense.

    I do on occasion park in

    I do on occasion park in garages and have three garage passes to do so, but that is on my own accord and is not being forced upon me. They are also held by three different companies, and I have the option of finding a spot on the street if I wanted to spend the time and park an extra few blocks out. Garages are private property (even if run by a government) and can track me all they want with cameras and other devices, I dont have a problem with that. If someone were to want to figure out where Ive been they would have to get info from all the garages, then go to the governemnt, then check street cameras, then... then... then... I realize its possible but it goes from a fairly easy transaction to a huge case where it would be easier just to have a private eye follow me around lol.

    I can honestly say that such

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    I can honestly say that such a device would be a rather poor predictor of where any one of us in my household has been/gone in a given year.

    As a single woman living alone who drives most places, it would be a very good indicator of where I'd been, which is nobody's business.

    And yes! if they want to track mileage it would be less costly and just as effective to have the nozzlejockey (great word BTW!) record it at every inspection. No need for chips, except that some people may have a lot of out of state mileage, which would totally suck and be unfair if there were no way to charge only for miles driven in Mass.

    And yes! if they want to

    And yes! if they want to track mileage it would be less costly and just as effective to have the nozzlejockey (great word BTW!) record it at every inspection. No need for chips, except that some people may have a lot of out of state mileage, which would totally suck and be unfair if there were no way to charge only for miles driven in Mass./blockquote>

    Forget about MA drivers going out of state for a moment, what about the RI and NH commuters coming into the state every day, or people who happen to just be driving by. They get a free ride with no tolls and no gas tax...

    They already track your mileage

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    As part of the inspection they get take down the odometer reading. That is how insurance companies can verify "low mileage" discounts.

    Patrick is also considering

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    Patrick is also considering a new system that would charge drivers based on the miles they travel. Those trips would be measured by a chip installed in a vehicle inspection sticker. (

    Aside from the privacy issues, why should my economical, lighter weight, non-gas guzzler car be charged more than a heavier gas guzzler driving less mileage? That doesn't make any sense.

    I have also heard other versions of this story that would charge only for driving on highways, which I think would just force more traffic onto surface roads, making commuting more a nightmare and causing more burden of repair and upkeep onto local communities.

    I prefer a gas tax over this chip business or higher tolls. It seems more equitable, and if the price of gas is high enough, it will tend to cause some people to find more economical alternatives, whether that is driving less or switching to a more economical vehicle. When toll money from the Pike is used for the Big Dig, it unfairly penalizes drivers who may or may not ever use the Big Dig roads and tunnels. Why should the people using only I-93 every day get a free ride at expense of those using the Pike, the Tobin, and the Sumner/Callahan?

    Can we all just now admit it?

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    Electing Deval Patrick may not have been the
    best idea that the voters of the Commonwealth
    ever had?

    Somewhere, at a convenience store near you, Christy Mihos
    is laughing. And crying. At the same time.

    Welcome to Massachusetts

    Federal Law? US constitution? Case law on restraint of interstate trade? Never heard of it - so it doesn't apply to us.

    To be fair it's only on

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    To be fair it's only on business that operates regionally or in multiple states such as that regional tire company; and there's already precedent for this from internet purchases.

    With the internet if a business has any operation in a state that requires a sales tax, that business is required to collect the sales tax.

    Ma is trying to take this precedent and make B&M stores follow suit.

    It isn't the same as asking NH only businesses to collect the use tax. Those guys can say go screw and MA would have no jurisdiction.

    This could be a boom to NH MA border economy for it's local businesses.

    if you have Onstar...

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    You're already being tracked. whether or not you ever press the big Ostar button.

    and ... they already have the capability of tracking our mileage if they want. i go in to get an inspection in August. they put my mileage in the computer. i go back next august, they put my mileage in the computer. i'm sure a programmer can write something to do the math between appointments. the only time that it wouldn't work is if you get a new car in between inspections... and i'm sure at some point they could record the old car mileage and the new car mileage and come up with that math too.

    Drive out of state much?

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    If you think straight mileage would be something they could assign a state fee to, then I would begin working on a new play called "Birth of a Salesman". I'd base the main character on the 1 million new traveling salesmen who lived in the Commonwealth but drive all over the eastern seaboard for their least that's what they'd be telling all of the mileage inspectors trying to determine what percentage of the car's mileage was in-state vs. out-of-state.

    Carry a cell phone in your car?

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    You're already plenty trackable and non-private if you carry a powered-on cell phone in your car. You're publicly trackable via your license plate (and there are plenty of plate cameras out there). I'm not sold on the merits of this particular billing scheme, but the chip in the sticker is a whole lot of nothing.

    The difference is that no

    The difference is that no one is actively tracking you in any of those methods. They can, but they don't unless they have a warrant. With this method, everyone will be tracked, all the time. Once it is available in a database, do you think they won't use it for other things? One of the first uses of the Bush-era terrorism security laws was a financial fraud case in Las Vegas. No terrorism involved, just prosecutors getting clever with laws on the books. If they can do it, they will do it.

    Then write a clause into the

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    Then write a clause into the chip law saying that they can only be used for millage and nothing more.

    Bush laws were as vague as possible, exactly so they could apply in as many cases as needed.

    Simply bar the chip data from being used for any propose, even to find a kidnapper.

    That works until we get hit

    That works until we get hit by another terrorist attack and are told the only way to be safe is to follow all of these tracked cars. Its better to just not have the system in place, because honestly once you get it in place it will be used, its human nature.

    Bush league laws

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    George Bush didn't care about the CONSTITUTION...what makes you think some semi-explicit exception to a state law is going to phase anyone who wants to abuse the system?

    We don't track our citizens, Citizen. Any "tracking" that the current systems allow for are either voluntary (like paying your CharlieCard by credit card so that your subway use could be linked to you personally so easily) or limited in function (no matter what Law and Order tells you, they can't always just bring up a picture of your license plate from every video camera in the city on their mega-wall of monitors by asking Ted from IT).

    If we attached an RFID chip in your car windshield and transmitter/receivers in all of the street lights...then we're actually talking about tracking our citizens (behind the wheel).

    Won't Work

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    Weren't Social Security numbers supposed to only be used to track your Social Security benefits and taxation? Now you practically have to provide it when you order a combo at Wendy's.

    so what about the BTD camera SUVs?

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    The difference is that no one is actively tracking you in any of those methods. They can, but they don't unless they have a warrant. With this method, everyone will be tracked, all the time.



    BTD for a couple of years now has been doing Automatic Numberplate Recognition. Every time it recognizes a plate, it writes the coordinates, plate, and timestamp to a log. We have no idea where those log files are going. The technology used to cost $50k; now it's probably a tenth of that.

    Oh, and

    the difference

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    The difference is that one of these systems is entirely imaginary.

    If you really think the state could install and maintain a new network of rfid readers on every streetcorner, then you are nuts.

    The expense of pulling all that cable would be dwarfed by the new bureaucracy needed for O+M.

    Any public official suggesting such a thing should be voted out for waste.

    Did everyone in the country

    Did everyone in the country get broadband at the same time? If I recall some of us are still waiting for Verizon Fios, it may be ten years or more before they fully wire us up for FIOS. Some communities now have free wifi available. It did not happen overnight, we have been working to this point for decades, and a good portion of the investment was from a core group in the military and a core group in the universities. Highways have a similar story, as do streets in general (the way we know them now.) I grew up on a street that was only actually paved a few years before I was born and I didnt like in New Hampshire...

    Fios != broadband

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    Not exclusively, at any rate. I've managed to lead a full and rewarding online life despite living in the city of Boston :-).

    It was ruined for me when I

    It was ruined for me when I visited a friend in Woburn/Waltham (it was a W city) and he had the whole set up with tv and broadband from Verizon. I pay about the same amount he does, maybe a little more, and he can do more with his set up. I use a cable provider, which has been known to slow down during peak demand due to overusage due to multiple people taking bandwith from the same trunk source in my area.