I know where you were last summer…

Remember a couple of days ago in my post about England using Closed Circuit Television to track its citizens where I said “I’ll make the prediction that one day in the near future a similar system will be proposed by our congress…” Well, I was right… and they are doing it through the Department of Transportation! And it’s WAY better than sticking cameras on poles all over the place.

The concept is called “Value Pricing“:

The Congress has mandated this program [Value Pricing Pilot Program]as an experimental program aimed at learning the potential of different value pricing approaches for reducing congestion. Value pricing, also known as congestion pricing or peak-period pricing, entails fees or tolls for road use which vary by level of vehicle demand on the facility.

Via News.com:

The U.S. Department of Transportation has been handing millions of dollars to state governments for GPS-tracking pilot projects designed to track vehicles wherever they go. So far, Washington state and Oregon have received fat federal checks to figure out how to levy these “mileage-based road user fees.”

So, the DOT wants to install GPS units in vehicles so they can charge “per use” fees on toll roads, similar to calling plans where they charge more during peak times (In this case the equivalent would be rush hour) and less during off-peak times. And here’s the kicker! It’s a little long so put down the sugar cookie and focus. My emphasis added:

The problem, though, is that no privacy protections exist. No restrictions prevent police from continually monitoring, without a court order, the whereabouts of every vehicle on the road.

No rule prohibits that massive database of GPS trails from being subpoenaed by curious divorce attorneys, or handed to insurance companies that might raise rates for someone who spent too much time at a neighborhood bar. No policy bans police from automatically sending out speeding tickets based on what the GPS data say.

The Fourth Amendment provides no protection. The U.S. Supreme Court said in two cases, U.S. v. Knotts and U.S. v. Karo, that Americans have no reasonable expectation of privacy when they’re driving on a public street. (News.com)

I always get a kick out of Supreme Court rulings that rip the Bill of Rights out of our pampered paws…

There you have it, a program (Costing $12M per year) mandated by Congress to implement tracking devices in vehicles to charge “per use” fees with the intent of reducing road congestion because it would be cheaper for consumers to utilize mass transportation systems. (DEEP BREATH). Drive safe! Keep your GPS a’tracking or the cops will come’a packin’!

  1. Point A) I’m sure that a method for removing these will be published soon after they come out in the mainstream.

    Point B) I’m sure that that document and method will immediately be illegalized.

    Point C) I’ve got no problem finding a way, and using it to remove such a device from my vehicle. Civil disobedience is justifiable.

    Point D) Merry christmas everyone!

  2. Your interpretation of the role of gps in traffic enforcement is mistaken. The location of any object is calculated triangulating three satellites (for x / y ), add a fourth satellite and you can calculate altitude. Modern gps Receivers are 12 channel (satellites). The location is calculated at the car. Unless the car agrees to send this gps data to the hovering cop, that data the car received is private. But The cop can very accurately use gps to clock himself against you. That is not an invasion; only the equivalent of trailing a car on the highway to guage speed.
    Use of gps to toll highway use requires the car to broadcast its location information to some other for management (DOT).