The California state legislature passed a bill to protect travelers’ sensitive information from being loosed on the information superhighway. But it still awaits the approval of the Governor. And as Oklahoma and other state’s have witnessed, it ain’t over till the champagne swilling CEO of the SIA belches.
Aug. 31, 2010—California has been issuing RFID transponders for electronic toll collection since 1993. . .
Currently, more than 2 million drivers across the state carry FasTrak transponders in their vehicles, in order to bypass long lines at tollbooths (the system deducts a toll from a user’s account each time an RFID reader mounted at a toll booth reads the tag of that person’s car). And the San Joaquin Hills and Foothill/Eastern agencies are just two of many transportation organizations that use the tags for electronic toll collection.
No current California laws govern how such agencies are to handle the personally identifiable data linked to each FasTrak account, but the state’s legislature recently passed a bill, known as SB 1268, that sets down minimal requirements to ensure that a driver’s private data is protected.
California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, now has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill into law.
Simitian says he penned the bill so that the agencies that collect FasTrak data—which include the California Department of Transportation, the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), the TCA and any other entity operating a toll bridge, toll lane or toll highway within the state, or any entity under contract with any of the above entities—would be required to follow consistent rules that lay out a minimum requirement for how long FasTrak transaction data can be stored on the various agencies’ computer systems.
In 2008, Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have required parental consent for RFID enabled school ID cards. The bill would also have required schools to “inform parents about the use of the technology, how it works and the school’s plans for protecting students’ privacy in order to comply with privacy laws.”
“There were no [technological] limits called for in the bill, just consent.” remarked California State Senator Joseph Simitian, who authored the bill.
Now guess what???
California school district institutes electronic tracking system for preschool students
The Contra Costa County School District has become the first in the state to implement an electronic tracking system for its students. Preschoolers in Richmond are now required to wear what resembles a basketball jersey that is implanted with a radio frequency transmitter.
Article about the parental notification bill and it’s termination by the Terminator
Here is a portion of a letter written in support of SB 1268 by the Consumer Federation of California:
Since the inception of FasTrak in the late 1990’s, California has witnessed a growing trend of attorneys, law enforcement agencies, and other entities requesting and obtaining data on FasTrak subscribers and their travel patterns – often simply by presenting the transit agencies with a subpoena. Additionally, subscribers are often not informed that their data is being handed over to a third-party by the various transit entities in these situations.
SB 1268 puts in place a number of protections for personally identifiable information of electronic toll collection subscribers, including, but not limited to: travel pattern data, address, telephone number, bank account information, and credit card information.
The bill would restrict transportation agencies from handing over subscriber information unless a law enforcement agency provides a search warrant, or, in cases in which the delay required in seeking a search warrant would result in an imminent danger to the health or safety of a member of the public, a written statement by the law enforcement agency explaining the nature of the situation. In addition, it would provide that in each instance where a subscriber’s personally identifiable information is handed over to a law enforcement agency, the subscriber him or herself must be notified within a reasonable timeframe.
Subscriber privacy has further been put in jeopardy due to storage of subscriber information, including travel pattern data and toll transactions, for indefinite periods of time by transportation agencies.
The stored data include information on accounts that have closed and tickets that have been resolved for years. This creates data-rich files on all subscribers, which could then be accessed by third-parties without the permission of the subscriber. SB 1268 would remedy this unnecessary amassing of subscriber data by creating clear guidelines for data retention and data destruction.
Some problems people are reporting with Fas Trak (in addition to Big Brother keeping “Trak” of everywhere you go!)
Bay Area FasTrak will make incorrect claims against an account, cancel the account and fail to provide accurate notification, thereby causing excessive fines and an inordinate amount of trouble resolving the issues with teh DMV
FasTrak has provided me false information, failed to respond to my requests for proof and charged me for “violations” that I have no recolection of committing. FasTrak has also denied me access to any records of previous phone calls, all records of previou violations, simply stating that “it is in the system as a violation”. FasTrak has also put a DMV hold on my car until I pay them the disputed amount, thereby forcing me to pay a disputed amount without providing any proof or reasoning behind their claims.
I’ve recieved multiple false toll crossing violations, several of which I have reciepts proving that I paid. I recently recieved my DMV registration renewal, and they added over $200 onto the renewal cost for these false tickets; also a collection agency sent me a notice for a false violation saying that they would take my income tax return.
similar to others who have posted on this injustice, i have 2 vehicles that have the fastrak transponder. when our balance was depleted, we opted to pay in cash and placed the transponders in their mylar bags to prevent scanning when driving over the bridge. to our shock, we received 7k+ charges in tolls & violations spanning approx. 6 mos. use. when i contacted BATA to dispute, i was referred to the collection agency. BATA said their system is infallible so all the charges are legitimate. i’ve had to file PNO for both vehicles and very quickly losing hope in finding a solution or resolving this matter. please add me to the list of complainants if/when this issue goes to court.
Uh oh. Looks like CA has these people over a barrel. As Simpson Garfinkle noted years ago in his accurately (albeit rather offensively) noted in his article “Nobody !#*%’s with the DMV”, they have THE power.
Most businesses and state agencies have a problem with outstanding debt. Bounced checks, IOUs, stolen credit cards – it all adds up. Some organizations write off anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of their debts as “uncollectable.”
Most agencies, that is, except for the DMV.
“We don’t have debt,” says Lewis, who oversees all of the Massachusetts Registry’s computer and information systems. Last year, the Massachusetts Registry collected more than US$660 million in fees and fines; less than $600,000 came back as bounced checks – a whopping 0.1 percent.
“How can you afford to stiff us?” Lewis asks rhetorically. “Whatever it is you have, we’ll take it. We’ll pull your driver’s license. We’ll take your title. We just don’t have bad debt.” Lewis pauses a moment to consider his words, then shrugs, his point made: At the Massachusetts Registry, “we walk a very fine line with incredible power over people.”
The Security Industry Association-SIA, seems to be the “decider” when it come to how the states regulate the use of RFID technologies.
Numerous examples of this group that exists to further the financial interests of technology manufacturers has intervened in state legislation designed to protect the privacy interests of residents.
Richard Chace , the author of these letters to state legislators and governors is the CEO of the SIA.
Will the SIA to deliver the kiss of death to California’s SB 1268?
SIA’s letter to Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006 asking for a veto on SB 768
The SIA and Oklahoma legislation 2010
Here’s a little story about Fat Cat Industry Lobbyists and how they are calling the shots in our state capitols.
(use the arrows on the bottom bar to advance through the power point presentation)