Re: A Pass on Privacy?


>> Anyone making long drives this summer will notice a new dimension to >> contemporary inequality: a widening gap between the users of automatic >> toll-paying devices and those who pay cash. The E-ZPass system, as it >> is called on the East Coast, seemed like idle gadgetry when it was >> introduced a decade ago. Drivers who acquired the passes had to nose >> their way across traffic to reach specially equipped tollbooths -- and >> slow to a crawl while the machinery worked its magic. But now the >> sensors are sophisticated enough for you to whiz past them. As more >> lanes are dedicated to E-ZPass, lines lengthen for the saps paying >> cash. >> E-ZPass is one of many innovations that give you the option of trading >> a bit of privacy for a load of convenience. You can get deep discounts >> by ordering your books from or joining a supermarket >> 'club.' In return, you surrender information about your purchasing >> habits. Some people see a bait-and-switch here. Over time, the data >> you are required to hand over become more and more personal, and such >> handovers cease to be optional. Neato data gathering is making society >> less free and less human. The people who issue such warnings -- >> whether you call them paranoids or libertarians -- are among those you >> see stuck in the rippling heat, 73 cars away from the ''Cash Only'' >> sign at the Tappan Zee Bridge. > Of course when they pry too deeply you can always lie. I do it > regularly with store discount cards, etc. They can have my name, I > don't care about that. But address, phone number, email, etc. if > required will ALWAYS be fudged. > Of course EZ-Pass is linked to a credit or debit card so it would be > trivial to dig for information that way. > And for those of a technical bent, it would be easy to run a bootleg > EZ-Pass. It is after all and RFID device and you could read numbers > all day long and then have your computer equipped RFID device send > random numbers to the sensors. > Interestingly the city of Providence is putting in parking kiosks. You > can either insert cash or purchase a ProvPas. It's a mag-stripe based > system. The card has the amount deposited for the account written on > the magnetic stripe. But cards are just purchased for cash so one with > a reader-writer could definitely have some fun with the system.

That's what crooks thought they could do with the metrocard system used in the Washington DC subway system.


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: What happened with the crooks and the metrocard system in the Washington, DC subway? Feel like telling us the story? PAT]
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Dale Farmer
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