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This New Report Confirms Everything You Suspected About E-ZPass

This New Report Confirms What You Suspected All Along About E-ZPass

Image source: flickr

Government agencies can track your every move by using the E-ZPass electronic toll collection devices that make driving on toll roads so much easier, the ACLU is alleging. To make matters worse, some cybersecurity experts say the devices could be easily hacked by thieves because the data is not encrypted.

Although E-ZPass has been around for a while, drivers always have had the option of using coins or bills to pay the toll. That is changing in Massachusetts, which is replacing all human toll connectors on the Massachusetts Turnpike with E-ZPass.

“The government is going to be able to track private citizens,” Massachusetts State Senator Robert Hedlund, a Republican, told the Boston Herald. “This is absolutely going to be a privacy issue for my constituents.”

E-ZPass readers are already being used to track vehicle movements in New York, the ACLU says. It discovered that dozens of E-ZPass readers had been set up all over New York City, far from toll booths, in order to track movement through the city.

“New documents obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union reveal that wireless E-ZPass tollbooth transponders are being read routinely throughout New York City to systematically collect location data about drivers,” an ACLU report said.

Learn How To Become Invisible In Today’s Surveillance State!

A privacy expert designed a device that “mooed” every time “it detected signals on the same frequency that E-ZPass readers use,” the ACLU report said.” It “mooed” throughout Manhattan, even though no toll booths were around.

An E-ZPass unit is a wireless device mounted inside a vehicle that an electronic toll reader “reads.” The signal tells a computer system that a car is driving on a toll road or in a toll lane. The system then bills the driver or owner of the car for driving on the turnpike or in the fast lanes. Most systems have monthly plans.

The ACLU used a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain more data on the readers in New York. The organization learned that New York City and the New York State Department of Transportation had set up 149 E-ZPass readers around the city in an attempt to determine traffic volumes. The ACLU also discovered that similar programs are in place in other parts of New York State.

The ACLU found that government officials tried to keep the readers secret and did not have privacy protections. There are no rules in place for how long the data can be stored or even what can be done with it, the ACLU said.

Privacy experts in Massachusetts are concerned that the same thing could happen in their state.

“They’re not using encryption, so unbeknownst to most E-ZPass users, the tag can be read from almost anywhere,” cybersecurity expert Gary Miliefsky told the Boston Herald. “Hackers could easily read your number from your car and make their own pass using your account number.”

Miliefsky says hackers could steal financial information or make fake E-Z passes that would enable crooks to drive free on the toll road by using someone else’s number. The unsuspecting motorist would then get the bill.

E-ZPass and similar systems are being used all over the country in an attempt to raise money by state highway departments. A similar system recently was installed on special lanes on Interstate 70 through Colorado’s mountains.

The best way not to be monitored through E-ZPass is to simply put the device in the glove compartment when you are not driving on the toll road, Miliefsky advised. The device can only be read when it is within sight of a reader.

What are your thoughts on using E-ZPass? Do you believe states are tracking drivers? Share your thoughts in the section below:

You’re Being Watched: 7 Sneaky Ways The Government Is Tracking Your Every Move. Read More Here.

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  1. Never had an EZ-Pass. Never will.
    I guess I’ll just have to go the long way around.
    They just did this in Northern Virginia on what used to be called the HOV lanes.
    The only exemption so far is motorcycles.

  2. Interesting article, not surprising. But your last sentence is incorrect. The device is RFID driven and must be placed inside the anti-magnetic sleeve it came in to not be read.

  3. Dah!!! Just don’t use one. How much time do you really save compared to how much info is shared??

  4. Federal prosecutors can pin a felony or three on pretty much anyone, anytime they need or want to, and people think there’s still privacy!?

    The complete perversion of the intent of law, and 911, were both basically implemented during the pre-drone era. Remember?
    Well momma look at ’em now!

    Wait until they start arming them..

  5. Rented a car from Hertz. Buried deep in the contract book it stated that it had a e-Z pass and that in addition to the toll fee you had to pay another processing charge which if I remember correctly was about $5 per use of the pass. Ended up paying almost $40 for simple toll way fees of about $9. Hertz, made the rest of the money. Scum. I found out when they charged my CC on the next cycle. No, way to opt out. Avoid Hertz car rental.

  6. Sorry to say, but we tested the E-ZPass in the glove box at a manned booth. We wanted to see if the scanner would pick up the signal and were prepared to pay cash if it didn’t. Although the device was in the glove box, the electronic sign read “E-Z Pass Paid”, so we slowly drove right thru. Next time maybe we will try wrapping it in tinfoil and stashing it under the seat.

  7. How is this a news story? NATURALLY the authorities can track you through a state-run system that records your movements! LOL! DUH!

  8. Remember the plastic bag your ezpass tag came in? It prevents it being read – because they don’t want them running up charges when rjey’re transported. Keep it and put the tag back in it. Order a replacement from expass, if you lost yours.

  9. We have an I-Pass because the Northwest tollway in Illinois charges double if you pay in cash. We had to send ours back recently to get a newer unit because ours had exceeded its life. We were told to wrap it in aluminum foil so we were not charged when the Postal service truck went through tolling places. So I wonder if your advice to just put it in the glove compartment is correct. According to the I-Pass people it would still be able to be detected and we would be charged, even if it was buried in a mail truck. We keep ours in the house when we are not traveling.

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