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Government Privacy Transportation United States

Big Brother Calls 'Shotgun' In Illinois 475

Reader kackle joins the army of free and accepted Slashdot submitters with this eyebrow-raising story: "I received a form 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 informs 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 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?"
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Big Brother Calls 'Shotgun' In Illinois

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  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skreems ( 598317 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @11:55AM (#37613258) Homepage
    Yeah! On the bus, the only cameras recording me are the 3 or 4 little black domes mounted on the ceiling!

  • Non-story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @11:56AM (#37613274) Journal

    The next abstract part:

    and an evaluation unit connected down-line of the camera that detects and counts the passengers of the vehicle in the image recording.

    Sounds like a company that makes toll devices, are patenting a toll device that can enforce HOV Tolls by detecting if you actually have more then one person in the vehicle . . . . imagine that.

    which informs them of a dead battery by sending a ticket in the mail.

    Nothing in that first page had *anything* to do with a battery, it had to do with their billing system and having invalid license plate data.

    This uninformed answer made me research the device.

    And come up with the completely wrong conclusion.

    Jesus christ I know /. isn't what it used to be, but seriously is this the Daily Mail now?

  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:18PM (#37613606) Journal

    When I approach a toll, I have to slide it open to allow the camera to image the picture of a fully occupied car I hold in front of the lens to get my discount. After the toll, I can slide it back closed.


    Still, an inward-viewing camera inside the car? Monitored by a State agency? The reason doesn't matter. It's still creepy and wrong.

  • Re:LOL .... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by readin ( 838620 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:19PM (#37613620)
    The Tea Party was an attempt to rise up. So the corporate news organizations did everything they could to paint them as racists - and on pretty flimsy evidence. Now Herman Cain is one of the Tea Party favorites. The Tea Party has some clear goals - limit the power of government - follow the Constitution - cut government spending (and thus government control of the economy). What are the goals of these Wall Street demonstrators? If they really are trying to put limits on government what makes you think the corporate news orgs (who can afford lobbyists) will allow it?
  • by batquux ( 323697 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:20PM (#37613640)

    What's the point, anyway? If the device is working, then the toll gets paid. If it's not, they aren't going to get an image from it.

  • Re:Non-story (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:51PM (#37614076)

    a toll device that can enforce HOV Tolls by detecting if you actually have more then one person in the vehicle . . . . imagine that.

    I am imagining it. And it's horrible. Think about this. As you drive down the road, they take a picture of you in your car using a camera in your car which is required to use the service. They send that to someone to check to see if you're breaking the rules.... That's a 1984 telescreen snooping on you.

    Now, of course, they only want to use it to enforce the commuter lanes. And as lame as it is, I'm going to invoke the slippery slope argument. If they can catch you for breaking one rule, you KNOW they're going to append the rules to bust drunks. Then video is going to be used as evidence in some horrible crash of a white male not paying attention as he slams into someone. It'll be contested. They'll win. And now you drive in a Panopticon.

    I'm all for people following the rules, but this is putting WAY too much trust in the toll road operators.

  • Child Porn Alert ! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @01:48PM (#37614842) Homepage Journal

    So, if my daughter is changing out of her sweats and into her cheerleader uniform in back seat (and we have tinted windows), and this device just happens to snap a photo at the right time...

    Someone needs to remind these iPass (can't Apple Sue?) people of the Penn. School Board people that were surreptitiously monitoring kids in their homes via laptop webcams.

    I fail to see how kids can be prosecuted as adults to "sexting" themselves to other's cell phones, but the government is OK with taking photos at random everywhere and yet, they fail to see the potential for creating tons of kiddie porn, which will, no doubt, get itself distributed somehow. So America, which wants to stamp out kiddie porn, the government is the biggest producer of... go figure.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein