On Wed, 27 Aug 2008 07:10:51 -0400

> Bill Frantz writes, in part:
> -+--------------------------
>  | In the San Francisco Bay Area, they are using the transponder codes
>  | to measure how fast traffic is moving from place to place. They
>  | post the times to various destinations on the electric signs when
>  | there are no Amber alerts or other more important things to
>  | display. It is quite convenient, and they promise they don't use it
>  | to track people's trips.
>  |
> Look for general tracking to appear everywhere.
> Fast declining gasoline tax revenues will be
> replaced with per-mile usage fees, i.e., every
> major road becomes a toll road.  Most likely
> first in will be California and/or Oregon.
> The relationship to this list may then be thin
> excepting that the collection and handling of
> such data remains of substantial interest.  Of
> course, everyone who carries a cell phone has
> already decided that convenience trumps security,
> at least the kind of security that says "they
> can't misuse what they ain't got."
There's a limit to how far they can go with that, because of the fear
of people abandoning the transponders.  For example -- they absolutely
will not use it for automated speeding tickets on, say, the NJ
Turnpike, because if they did people would stop using their EZPasses.
Given what a high percentage of drivers use them, especially at rush
hour, they make a significant improvement in throughput and safety at
toll plazas.  On congested roads, throughput is *extremely* important.

As for usage-based driving -- the first question is the political will
to do so.  In NYC, there's been tremendous resistance to things like
tolls over the East River bridges or congestion charges for driving
into much of Manhattan during the business day -- the Mayor tried very
hard, but was unable to push it through the state legislature.  That
said, I've seen some papers on how use of these transponders has
desensitized people towards the actual tolls they pay, and hence to
toll increases.

Finally, the transponders may not matter much longer; OCR on license
plates is getting that good.  As has already been mentioned, the 407
ETR road in Toronto already relies on this to some extent; it won't be
too much longer before the human assist is all but unneeded.

                --Steve Bellovin, http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb

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