kackle writes: I received a from letter from the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority saying that my first-generation "IPASS" transponder needs to be replaced because the battery is old. I called them for clarification since the first-generation transponders obviously have user-replaceable batteries, and I wanted to keep this version because it beeps when a toll is paid. (This notifies drivers that their battery is still good, unlike the silent second-generation version which has informed them of a dead battery by sending a ticket in the mail.) The woman on the phone explained that they were replacing them just because the electronics are old. This uninformed answer made me research the device. I found that the manufacturer has recently filed a patent application for a new transponder that a has a camera in it-a camera pointed inward at the occupants. How long before they make it illegal to cover that camera with tape?
"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers."
-- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a
particularly vivid fantasy)