Oklahoma Spy Cams-Never Say Die!

Kaye Beach

Posted Nov 15, 2010

Edited 12:24 pm

Oct 21, 2010 TOLLSROADSnews reports;

Most of north America’s tollers have agreed to participate in developing a hub to clear license plate tolls – a key step to improving the reach of all-electronic tolling (AET). At least 37 toll operators including the biggest – MTA B&T, NY Thruway, New Jersey Turnpike, Illinois Tollway, 407ETR, Florida’s Turnpike, Pennsylvania Turnpike, Harris County Toll, North Texas Toll, Ohio Turnpike, Oklahoma Turnpike, Bay Area Toll – are cooperating to develop a “License Plate Interoperability Hub”

Oklahoman’s may remember that Gov. Henry tried to implement a plan to place ALPR Automatic License Plate Readers, in 200 fixed locations ostensibly for the purpose of catching motorists driving without insurance and to help fill the gaps in the state budget.

Back in January of 2010 I wrote;

“Soon after queries were made to Governor Henry regarding license plate scanning devices some very interesting information came to light that seems to give more of the “big picture” on why these devices are so important to the state.

The Alliance for Toll Interoperability is a fairly new organization comprised of representatives of the transportation industry from several states.  David Machamer, the Director of Toll Operations for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is  the board of trustees Chairman of ATI.  This organization has come up with an interoperable toll charging plan that requires the use of ALPR (Automatic License Plate Readers) in order to be workable.

The plan also includes other schemes for tracking motorists and charging for various roadway usage fees through electronic registration tags (RFID) as well as cellular and satellite technology. . .

I asked;

Why ALPR?  Why Now?

NEWS ARTCLEFlorida, E-ZPass exchanging toll camera data to test license plate based tolls
Fri, 2009-08-07

The pilot program to exchange camera based data between toll areas is being conducted under the auspices of the Alliance for Toll Interoperability (ATI) and the I-95 Coalition.

ATI Initiatives

The ATI anticipated a great variety of ID tech for vehicles as being standard issue on vehicles in the near future but they needed a way to be able to identify vehicles so that they could implement their charging scheme NOW!

The answer?

ALPR-Automatic License Plate Readers.  You may be familiar with these devices as “spy cams”

BACKGROUND: All-electronic or cashless tolling depends mainly on transponders (also known as electronic ‘tags’ or ‘passes’) that can be read by an overhead RF (radio frequency) ‘reader’ for motorists enrolled in a local or grouped plan such as E-ZPass, TxTag, SunPass (Florida) or FasTrak (California).

But those vehicles without transponders or with transponders that cannot be read by local radio frequency readers have their license plates photographed.

The challenge is to get accurate names and addresses of the vehicle owners from the license plate images, and to bill, and collect on them – the task to be assigned to the hub operator or operators.

From TOLLROADSnews 2010-10-21

This grand scheme owes a lot to Oklahoma’s own David Machamer, the Director of Toll Operations for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority who has played a leading role in the development of this unbelievable human tracking and charging scheme.

When Governor Henry’s spy cam plan was revealed to the public, I knew that insurance verification was just the tip of the iceberg.  I wrote then;

Why do we need ALPR???

Uninsured motorists?  Sure but here is where the real money is!  This is why these devices are so important to the state. With interoperability and ubiquitous cameras, our government can charge us every time our wheels roll if they want.

The system will also be great for all sorts of fines and fees.  Really anything that can be attached to your motor vehicle records could be collected through the ALPR system.  Rather like the “deadbeat dad” DMV SSN racket.  In some states they already use these things to collect back taxes.  What are you going to do?  Walk?  No.  This is why state motor vehicle agencies never have a problem with debt.  No pay-no drive.  No work, no visits, no R and R.  We have to have our vehicles!

The new organization is called ATI-the Alliance for Toll Interoperability.  David Machamer, the Director of Toll Operations for the Oklahoma Toll Authority is on the board of trustees. The Chairman of the ATI.

Back in August 2010 Oklahoma residents began to breathe a little easier thinking that the spy cam plan had petered out;

Henry’s Highway ‘Spy’ Cam Plan Runs Out Of Gas

But the Spy Cam plan is nowhere near out of gas.  In fact, it hasn’t even taken a detour.

Will our new Governor pick up where Henry left off?  Where do the new “sticker tags” fit in the ATI’s plans?

As with so many other projects (like Real ID) our government has decided to impose upon us, this one too continues on despite the hue and cry of the taxpayers.

ALPR is an amazingly flexible technology.  Besides giving the state many new revenue streams it also allow big brother to keep an eye on us wherever we go, with whomever we travel, doing whatever it is we do.  This data will stream into your local Fusion Center to be combined with all of the other data being collected on you to be shared, errors and all like a bad disease.

“One of the major benefits of ALPR is the collection of data that allows for investigative purposes; this benefit is being seen with equal or even greater interest than the identification of known vehicles of interest.”

Automated License Plate Recognition Investment Justification and Purchasing Guide Federal Signal Corporation Published: August 2008

ATI July 2010 Board Meeting Board of Directors Meeting

Among the items discussed was;

The ATI’s Violation Enforcement Reciprocity initiative, legislation and drafting of legislation for the states to use to create/enforce the ATI’s Violation Enforcement Reciprocity initiative, how Alliance states were going about creating interoperability so that the information of travelers can be shared which will allow the states to charge drivers no matter which state they reside in.  For example North Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner is working on making these changes by way of an MOU.

An MOU is a memorandum of understanding, an informal written agreement and the DMV commissioner is an unelected position, yet this is how decisions and policy that will have an enormous effect on the people is being implemented!

The ATI board explains that “North Carolina and Virginia DMV

Commissioners are legislatively able to enter into these types of agreements without a legislative mandate.”

Isn’t that handy?  The people and their representatives in those two states apparently have no say in the matter.

It is not a new manner of charging for tolls that bothers me so much.  It is the fact that spy cameras are going to be the method of charging and that the data collected for this purpose will be kept and used for a number of other purposes such as intelligence gathering.  Another issue that is clear from reading the ATI documents is that the charging will not likely be limited to simply tolling.  Mileage and usage taxes based on zones and time of day, video enabled ticketing and a vast array of other creative revenue enhancement are part and parcel of the ALPR scamera plan.

Buckle up freedom lovers.  It is going to be a bumpy ride.

My collection of notes (soon to be updated again!) Oklahoma ALPR, Turnpike, Alliance for Toll Interoperability

Automatic License Plate Recognition and the ATI in Oklahoma-a write up from early 2010


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