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The scanning device, seen here, IDs people based on reflections of invisible beams of infrared light.  (Source: Vehicle Occupancy L)
Washington road contractors have some innovative and perhaps intrusive traffic control strategies.

Civil contractor Transurban doesn't want Washington D.C. drivers cheating its toll system -- so it is going to scan them

An expansion of a major Washington D.C. highway I-495, the Capital Beltway, is planned to start next year.  The highway loops around D.C. and crosses through Maryland and Virginia suburbs.

The expansion plans to bring privately operated toll lanes to the table as an alternative for commuters in rush hour traffic.  The big perk is that carpoolers will get to ride in these lanes for free under the current plan.

Enforcement though is a sticky issue; how to determine people from decoy dummies or large dogs riding in the passenger seat?  Rather than manually policing the area, the companies owning the project have proposed using technology that would scan drivers and passengers with bursts of infrared light that detect the reflectivity of human skin.

Ken Daley, a senior vice president of one of the two companies contracted for the project, says that the technology is so advanced that it can accurately ID a human face from an animal such as a pet.

Transurban has given no word on whether the devices might also be used for "national security" or other government purposes.

Washington D.C. drivers are not very happy about the proposal.  They are voicing their concerns to the government, raising uncertainty of whether the project will be approved.  Aside from the general discomfort with the idea of being watched, they fear the move could be used against them legally or monetarily.

Divorce courts could theoretically file for images of a route the husband or wife might have taken to see where they were really going to.  Employers could do the same if they suspected an employee of using their sick days for vacation.  Worse yet, insurance companies could use the information to ID drivers with long commutes and up their rates.

Ginger Goodin, an engineer at the Texas Transportation Institute, feels bad for the concerned commuters. "[Commuters] feel a sense of privacy in their vehicle, even though they may not really have it if you look at the legal cases,” said Goodin.  “[But] if they just can't stomach [scanning systems], then they have their choice, right next to it, to use the general-purpose lane."

The case is drawing attention as it may become an example by which other states choose their policies.  Maryland and Virginia both have planned expansions on their books. 

California and Colorado both have privately run toll roads that are currently free to carpoolers.  In California, police wait behind concrete blocks ready to jet out and pull over offenders.  In Colorado, they use a much simpler system which simply has drivers peel off into a separate lane mid-trip where they are visually checked to avoid payment.

The D.C. area contractors' moves will likely stir up a hornet nest of privacy concerns.  The issue is strikingly similar to the fears surrounding RFID implants and the prospect of mandatory chipping.  Last year Scott Silverman, Chairman of the Board of VeriChip Corporation, who make the only FDA approved RFID implant, proposed a solution to the problem of illegal immigration -- mandatory microchipping of guest workers and anyone found to be illegally dwelling in or trying to enter the U.S.  The previous day President Bush, whose former head of the Department of Health and Human Sciences Tommy Thompson is currently serving on Verichip's board, had called for "high-tech measures to solve the immigration problem."

There is significant pending and passed legislation that aims to protect constituents from unwanted intrusion and scanning.  As reported by DailyTech, California's state Senate recently passed a bill banning companies or anyone else from forcing a California citizen to be involuntarily microchipped.

These issues will not go away as technology becomes more and more entrenched in our day to day lives.  People will likely struggle with these complex moral issues as they ponder whether the benefits of increased safety are worth someone being able to watch them in their daily lives.

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Just for clarification
By ADDAvenger on 10/4/2007 9:53:37 AM , Rating: 3
I got that these things can tell the difference between a dog and a person, or even a dummy and a person, but I didn't see where it specifically said it can tell one person from another, though it's obviously implied. Am I just being dense in the morning, or are we really this alarmist?

RE: Just for clarification
By JasonMick on 10/4/2007 10:05:37 AM , Rating: 2
It depends on the accuracy of the imaging. You would have to consult with the makers of the scanning device and they would likely not want to divulge exact details about how it works.

My guess is that it can at least "trace" over and recognize the contour of a human face and record it.

If it couldn't it would be wayyy to easy to fool as someone could simply have a dummy in their passenger seat, put their hand over its face while they were driving. It would reflect off of "human skin". The only way it could tell a human face from a hand easily is if it was analyzing the image and it would be difficult to do this in real-time, so the image would likely need to be at least temporarily stored.

If this is the case it is easy to see what the concern is about.

If the government decided to "beef of security" by storing records of the passing drivers faces, it could inadvertently provide information that could be accessed to a broad range of unwelcome parties.

Also remember this information is not be read and or stored by the government, but rather private contractors, who could theoretically discretely release it with little fear of ramifications.

There is definitely a lot of troubling implications of this.

RE: Just for clarification
By jtemplin on 10/4/2007 10:14:13 AM , Rating: 2
Alternatively, one might consult the WashPost article... ; ) I'll spare people the trouble and post the meat of the article , as it pertains to facial recognition:

"To address privacy concerns, before the image is made available for enforcement, the software obscures people's faces with a green dot. The company encrypted some software to make it difficult for users to unlock the originals. Daley said his goal is a system that would connect a license plate to the number of passengers in the car without ever releasing an image of the occupants.

"The images we're capturing are not ideal for identifying the occupant anyway. It looks gray, and the facial features aren't particularly well defined," Ballantyne said."

"Tim Ballantyne, an executive with Vehicle Occupancy Ltd. Designers"

RE: Just for clarification
By JasonMick on 10/4/2007 10:36:52 AM , Rating: 2
Good spot. I was refering in a more general sense, but it makes sense that they would be actually taking and recording a facial image, as I mentioned.

Note that such a system could be modified on a corporate whim to unobscure the faces.

And even if didn't, all you would need would be a general body shape and size and the license plate to provide a partial ID of a person. Sort of like the descriptions that police put out and that they use to arrest people. This might still be admissable in legal situations.

RE: Just for clarification
By jtemplin on 10/4/2007 12:48:49 PM , Rating: 2
I completely agree. I wouldn't put too much faith in them to NOT decide to unobscure the faces either. I also agree with the notion that encroachments on privacy will occurr at a slow rate, as to be nearly imperceptible to me a conspiracy theorist ; )

RE: Just for clarification
By dever on 10/5/2007 1:45:12 PM , Rating: 2
I too am concerned for privacy, but this concerns me much less than government doing the same thing. This is a private company using it only for road policy inforcement. and users voluntarily pay to use this road (I am assuming there are alternatives in the market). If the government is using this type of technology, there are little to no barriers (except their own incompetence) to share this information with various agencies for unrelated matters.

Let's focus on restricting the government's access to this type of information and make sure we have the option to opt out.

There is the technology to keep this sort of intrusion from happening (window treatments and electronic counter-devices). The problem lies in government restrictions against their use.

RE: Just for clarification
By LogicallyGenius on 10/5/2007 4:28:59 PM , Rating: 2
Your GirlFriends Boobs will be watched by someone or pictures be posted on internet for a fee.

RE: Just for clarification
By NaughtyGeek on 10/4/2007 11:07:16 AM , Rating: 2
While in it's current form it's not a huge threat to privacy over current systems(video cameras looking at plates,) once the scanners are in place and active they can (and will) be upgraded at any point without anyone taking notice. That's the best way to get something like this in place and functional. Get people used to seeing it and just accepting it's there then, once people really don't see it any more, upgrade the system to do what you intended in the first place. Anyone who believes this stops at catching toll violators is foolish. Any major invasion of privacy has to be phased in slowly under the guise of something innocuous. I'll take bets that in 10 years time this company is getting paid by insurance companies for there collected data. Remember, driving is a "privilege" not a right.

RE: Just for clarification
By Grast on 10/4/2007 12:05:23 PM , Rating: 2

You are assuming that drivers have an expectation of privacy while driving. Privace laws in regards to operating a vehicle are extremely thin. Since driving a car is not a RIGHT, the government has been argueing for years that expectation of privacy on the road is not implied or expected. This is the reason traffic light cameras have not been considered unconstitutional due to unusualy search clause. The simply act of driving extremely reduces an American's right to live their life with little to none goverment involvement.

While I am not fearful of the government, I believe systems such as these will be deployed. The only question will be how much information is available to the public. Since these initial devices are being used by private agencies, the typical public access to the information does not apply.

If in the future, the states or federal goverment started using similar devices, we would have issues with simi-private information being released due to public information establishments.


RE: Just for clarification
By jtemplin on 10/4/2007 1:08:36 PM , Rating: 3
Re: expectations of privacy, please see Plain view doctrine (
However, with the limits of plain view being that it be observed during "lawful observation" in "plain view", there is left room for debate as to the extent of these practices.

One famous example of these limits can be found in the case of an Oregon(-ian?) man who was searched after police used thermal imaging to discover suspiciously high heat output from his home. This was used to obtain a warrant, whereby he was searched and found to be in posession of over 100 MJ plants. His case was appealed to the Supreme court, who ruled in his favor. The basic finding was that thermal imaging of Kyllo's home contstituted an unreasonable search.

Scalia noted that new technologies may potentially infringe on Fourth Amendment rights, but he says it best here, "The question we confront today is what limits there are upon this power of technology to shrink the realm of guaranteed privacy. To withdraw protection of this minimum expectation would be to permit police technology to erode the privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment."
(Full text:

I think that if the highest legal authority (and very highly respected intellectual authority) in the land is concerned that scanning technology may erode our 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, then perhaps we should too.

RE: Just for clarification
By NaughtyGeek on 10/4/2007 4:46:27 PM , Rating: 2
JTemplin, while your point is valid, unfortunately it doesn't currently apply to you when operating a motor vehicle. Under the current law, your within your rights to expect privacy in your home but not in the area within plain sight in a motor vehicle. Actually, I'm pretty sure if you have an MJ plant in your window (plain sight,) it is probable cause for a warrant to search the premises.

RE: Just for clarification
By jtemplin on 10/4/2007 10:55:22 PM , Rating: 2
While in your personal vehicle, you have a reduced expectation of privacy, but I wouldn't say these protections are SUSPENDED. I don't think you are actually trying to make this point, but one could certainly read your post this way since you said concerns about the Fourth amendment do not apply to operating a motor vehicle.

If the plant was in plain view inside the car, that would not contstitute a 4th Amendment protected search, according to the Scalia opinion in Kyllo. So you are quite right.

RE: Just for clarification
By adam00 on 10/4/2007 5:43:58 PM , Rating: 2

Be careful you have misread the meaning of Kyllo v US. The court's issue was not with scanning technology. It was whether the search was of an area where one would reasonably expect a minimum level of privacy.

It was the location not the method used. For example, if you are in the middle of a public park you have Zero reasonable expectation of privacy. Now, it doesn't matter if the govt uses a police officer in the bushes to watch you, an FBI agent uses a camera from 300 yards away or if the CIA uses a spy satellite in space to watch you.

Its not the technology that matters, it is location. You are in a public park... too bad, no privacy.

Now, in your car you have zero reasonable expectation of privacy of people looking through your windshield. Anyone, govt or otherwise can look in your window, so no privacy.

Lets take our hypothetical a little further... what if the technology could hear what you are saying in addition to seeing you. That might be a violation of the 4th ammendment. It would depend on whether or not you had a reasonable expectation of privacy. I would guess that you probably do - my reasoning based upon a reading of other famous 4th ammendment cases involving old style phone booths. But then again, it might turn on whether the windows were up or down. If the windows were down then you probably don't.

See how it all changes - it is location, not scanning tech.

Hope it helps,

RE: Just for clarification
By bbomb on 10/4/2007 9:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
Houses have windows as well so shouldn't that remove the expectation of privacy as anyone can see into them the same as a car?

RE: Just for clarification
By jtemplin on 10/4/2007 10:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
I have enough I won't be putting this in my own words and I just researched this, but I think this should explain your question about the difference between houses and automobiles:

SILVERMAN v. UNITED STATES, 365 U.S. 505 (1961)
The Fourth Amendment, and the personal rights which it secures, have a long history. At the very core stands the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion. Entick v. Carrington, 19 Howell's State Trials 1029, 1066; Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 626 -630. 4 This [365 U.S. 505, 512] Court has never held that a federal officer may without warrant and without consent physically entrench into a man's office or home, there secretly observe or listen, and relate at the man's subsequent criminal trial what was seen or heard.

RE: Just for clarification
By jtemplin on 10/5/2007 12:28:33 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with everything you said, except the part about me misreading =D
I just read the Opinion (I went mostly off past knowledge and a quick once over before) and it definitely seems as if the Opinion concerns the technology (the word appears 12 times).

This quote from the opinion is telling:
The question we confront today is what limits there are upon this power of technology to shrink the realm of guaranteed privacy.

This is a good question which certainly involves the role of technology in interpreting the Fourth Amendment. There were obviously no thermal imagers around at the time the Bill of Rights was ratified which makes things a bit murkier. They address this murkiness below:

We think that obtaining by sense-enhancing technology any information regarding the interior of the home that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical “intrusion into a constitutionally protected area,” Silverman, 365 U.S., at 512, constitutes a search–at least where (as here) the technology in question is not in general public use. This assures preservation of that degree of privacy against government that existed when the Fourth Amendment was adopted.

Following that quote, we have resolved that this is indeed a "search". Their logic follows from here to its eventual conclusion:
Where, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a “search” and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.
If the officer had obtained a warrant to use the thermal imager on Kyllo's house, this case would not have reached the Supreme Court. He however did not, which violates the procedure of antecedent justification. The officer needs to justify the logic of the search before the search is conducted in front of a magistrate, otherwise this situation
"bypasses the safeguards provided by an objective predetermination of probable cause, and substitutes instead the far less reliable procedure of an after-the-event justification for the . . . search, too likely to be subtly influenced by the familiar shortcomings of hindsight judgment." Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 96 .

Another good quote from Kyllo regarding technology and privacy:
The Government maintains, however, that the thermal imaging must be upheld because it detected “only heat radiating from the external surface of the house,” Brief for United States 26. The dissent makes this its leading point, see post, at 1, contending that there is a fundamental difference between what it calls “off-the-wall” observations and “through-the-wall surveillance.” But just as a thermal imager captures only heat emanating from a house, so also a powerful directional microphone picks up only sound emanating from a house—and a satellite capable of scanning from many miles away would pick up only visible light emanating from a house. We rejected such a mechanical interpretation of the Fourth Amendment in Katz, where the eavesdropping device picked up only sound waves that reached the exterior of the phone booth. Reversing that approach would leave the homeowner at the mercy of advancing technology–including imaging technology that could discern all human activity in the home. While the technology used in the present case was relatively crude, the rule we adopt must take account of more sophisticated systems that are already in use or in development.

I see your point that location can override the method used to conduct the search.
However, at some future time perhaps a MEG-like device, so sensitive it can accurately pick up the magnetic fields generated by the ionic currents in neurons and able to solve the inverse problem ( and able to filter out background noise etc, can accurately image the electrical activity of the brain. Now picture that this electrical activity can be compared to some known values, or whatever--this is supposed to be a stretch of the imagination, indicating a desire to say, get high. So I could be in a park thinking about smoking the joint in my pocket, while nearby a police officer uses this "mind reader" and searches me and finds said joint.
Now in this example, I think the court and society would agree that the contents of ones mind are reasonably expected by a person and society to be private, regardless of where the thought was conceived. This gets back to Katz where they stated that the Fourth Amendment is more concerned with people than place.

I guess it seemed like I was taking issue with these cameras in particular, but it simply reminded me of all these problems that come up with privacy and technology. I was really trying to get at the bigger issue of government intrustion on the Fourth Amendment, as the post I was replying to brought up. Hope I didn't miss anything..heh

RE: Just for clarification
By crystal clear on 10/4/07, Rating: 0
RE: Just for clarification
By Spivonious on 10/4/2007 10:17:36 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I did a research project in school about face recognition and it's a lot farther along than you'd think. Real-time face recognition is here and it's fairly accurate. I agree that a system that can accurately detect faces whizzing past at 70mph is pretty advanced but since the cars have to travel in pretty much a defined path it wouldn't be too hard to calibrate the system to only look in a certain area, thus speeding up detection considerably.

As to the privacy concerns, assuming the images are stored, this is no different than any other video camera, which they have at all toll booths to catch the license plate of non-payers. It's just a more high-tech way of doing that.

Part of life.
By fifolo on 10/4/2007 10:31:38 AM , Rating: 3
We are living in a police state, this is just how it is in these type of places.

RE: Part of life.
By mdogs444 on 10/4/2007 11:33:30 AM , Rating: 1
I would happily accept a "Police" state than a "Nanny" state.

RE: Part of life.
By Bioniccrackmonk on 10/4/2007 11:39:32 AM , Rating: 2
"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Bear in mind this quote is from the colonial era, and they didn't have half the problems the world faces today. I wonder what he would have said about our current state of affairs.

RE: Part of life.
By SirLucius on 10/4/2007 11:47:17 AM , Rating: 5
Haha, it would probably be along the lines of "F this, I'm gonna go find an island and start America 2. Who's with me?"

I'm sure most of the founding fathers are rolling in their graves at the state of affairs in general.

RE: Part of life.
By Bioniccrackmonk on 10/4/2007 1:36:56 PM , Rating: 2
"F this, I'm gonna go find an island and start America 2. Who's with me?"

LOL, funniest thing I read today. Count me in, I would love to live somewhere where common sense was the ruling body and all these frivalous lawsuits were handled by whiping the morons with rubber hoses. I spilled my coffee on me and it was hot, im sueing.

RE: Part of life.
By Bioniccrackmonk on 10/4/2007 11:33:35 AM , Rating: 2
Here's an idea, if you don't want to be subjected to this, then don't travel on those specific lanes. It is unfortunate that we live in a somewhat police state, but point the fingers at the people who feel they have a right to do what they want when they want because they are the reasons for all this.

RE: Part of life.
By Adonlude on 10/4/2007 6:03:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but the "if you dont like it, don't use it" argument is total BS and has been stricken down time and time again. Some examples:

This week AT&T caught flack for initially saying they would deny service to people talking against AT&T. AT&T is the only service available to them.

What if AMD goes bankrupt and Intel becomes the only CPU manufacturer and they decide to quadruple their CPU prices. Are the raised prices acceptable to you? If you dont like it dont use computers...

What if by the year 3000 our air is so polluted that the only breathable air is provided by private companies at a high price. Tough luck, if you dont like it stop breathing!

RE: Part of life.
By floffe on 10/4/2007 6:23:17 PM , Rating: 2
Except that in this case there is a clear and simple alternative (as pointed out in the article): use the middle, general lanes.

RE: Part of life.
By jtemplin on 10/4/2007 1:14:38 PM , Rating: 2
Police state eh?!

Anyone who has heard this term has to see this hilarious Daily Show bit done by the great Steven Colbert...

So what if you are scanned
By OrSin on 10/4/2007 9:51:52 AM , Rating: 1
I'm all for privatcity but uou go under camera all day in stores and everyone where else. If you dont want to get scanned then dont right in the free carpool lane. Its that simple. I live in DC and the traffic here is worst then NY. If can get to work 20 minutes fast and free but have to scanned while in my car then its fine. It now like they video taping everything you do while driving. It no worst then red light cameras to me.

RE: So what if you are scanned
By Vertigo101 on 10/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: So what if you are scanned
By wordsworm on 10/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: So what if you are scanned
By AmberClad on 10/4/2007 10:19:03 AM , Rating: 2
Last time I checked (this morning, I suppose?), there are still red light cameras around the DC area and the VA Abusive Driver law that many of us are up in arms about is still in effect. So if they really are determined to see this through, I doubt complaining/petitioning is going to have much effect.

As far as the privacy issue, and the data collected being used in court cases like divorce proceedings, isn't that already an issue with the SpeedPass lanes that record when a car goes through?

I guess I've become a little jaded, but this scanner doesn't seem measurably worse than the various other driving irritations that Beltway drivers have to deal with. So, I'm sort of with OrSin as far as my "meh" reaction to this.

RE: So what if you are scanned
By FITCamaro on 10/4/2007 10:26:06 AM , Rating: 3
I'm with you. If you don't want to get scanned, don't drive in the free lanes. These things are privately owned. And you have a choice on whether or not to use them. I love people who think they can tell someone what they can do with their private property.

Same as I love people who complain about cameras that take photos of red light runners saying they impede on someone's privacy. How? They take a picture of the person driving the car and the license plate. Not constantly either. Just when someone runs a red light. An illegal act that injures or kills thousands each year. But god forbid you get in trouble for doing something illegal. Think of how much lower insurance rates might be if people didn't run red lights since they know they'd almost definitely get caught.

RE: So what if you are scanned
By ebakke on 10/4/2007 5:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
I completely agree, except for one piece:

Think of how much lower insurance rates might be if people didn't run red lights since they know they'd almost definitely get caught.

If the insurance companies actually decreased rates because of this (or anything else)... well, that'd be awesome.

RE: So what if you are scanned
By Eris23007 on 10/4/2007 8:19:19 PM , Rating: 2
Insurance premiums are based on the actuarial equation, using extensive amounts of data primarily related to the probability of incurring a loss and the indemnity (how much you get) if you do experience a loss.

Insurance is a regulated industry and must issue "Actuarially Fair" premiums. If enough people didn't run red lights for this reason, the probability of loss would indeed go down, and as a consequence so would premiums (or in your words, rates).

Most insurance companies make money primarily from investing the money they hold, not from profits on the actual insurance rates - the whole idea is that total expected wealth with insurance should be equal to total expected wealth without insurance.

So, when you hear people noting that insurance is more expensive in some areas than others, its for two possible reasons:

1) higher probability of loss (I.E. more dangerous place)
2) greater regulatory requirements for coverage

Best example of the regulatory requirements for coverage is if one state only requires a driver to have $25K worth of liability insurance, while another state requires the same driver to have $50K in liability insurance, if the P(loss) is the same, the premiums will be twice as high in the state with the $50K liability requirement. This issue is a MAJOR driver in the health insurance industry - some states require orders of magnitude greater total coverage than do others.

(Taking a risk analysis class right now for my Master's in Systems Engineering)

RE: So what if you are scanned
By xsilver on 10/4/2007 10:31:20 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you somewhat are there are already cameras in many areas we go into today.


the companies owning the project have proposed using technology that would scan drivers and passengers with bursts of infrared light that detect the reflectivity of human skin.

I interpreted this part of the article though as meaning that the sensors were relying on the albedo of human skin so that a dog with hair or a blow up doll would have different albedo's and therefore trigger an alert.

The next paragraph in the article states that the technology is available to accurately ID scan human faces but didnt unnecessarily say thats what would be used?

If you had a hairless large dog or a dead pig carcass it may be able to fool the sensor though? lol

As a company though they might just err on the side of caution and not take photos and set the sensors such that you would not get a ticket unless you were obviously flouting the rules. They would not tell this to the public however just so citizens wouldnt try to test the limits of their system.

RE: So what if you are scanned
By JasonMick on 10/4/2007 11:02:26 AM , Rating: 2
"All blood is red, and all living humans have water in them, and we're reliant on those attributes,"

This is what the company says about their method. Apparently they use it to do some sort of surface scan, then they check this scan for
a) the presence of life
b) that the thing is actually a human face and not fido or your pig named fido.

Also, please note that this is quite different from traditional camera based systems that are owned by individuals, such as shop owners. Typically these are small systems in one area with 1-10 cameras. Unless people knew exactly where to look it would be hard to snoop on people.

Here we are talking about an organized system which is likely centrally stored at one location.

The only comparable examples would be government run citywide systems, like the London one, which was recently showed to do nothing to stop crime, while potentially harming privacy.

Private Security Cameras vs. Private/Government Camera networks...apples and oranges

By Rotkiv on 10/4/2007 10:42:56 AM , Rating: 2
I guess one could always block the beams using blinds or something like that.

RE: Well...
By Bioniccrackmonk on 10/4/2007 11:40:27 AM , Rating: 1
We've been jammed. Its raspberry. Only one man is brave enough to give me the raspberry, LONESTAR!!!!!

RE: Well...
By Eris23007 on 10/4/2007 8:21:46 PM , Rating: 2
Bummer I already posted, cuz I would totally rate you up!

Spaceballs FTW!

I'm already thinking about a workaround. :)
By Polynikes on 10/4/2007 11:46:37 AM , Rating: 2
Do crossing infrared beams conflict with each other? (I know little about them.) In other words, would an infrared device in your car disrupt the infrared beam(s) from the device in the article enough to confuse the "camera?"

I've got my venture capitalist on speed dial, so I REALLY need to know. ;)

By clovell on 10/4/2007 12:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know, but infrared wouldn't work too well in the rain.

Not all bad
By tjr508 on 10/4/2007 1:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
If it's a private road, then you can expect these things. As much as I believe it is nobody's business where I am going at any point of time and I am against all forms of databasing individual people (UK, Google, IRS etc.), I happen to like the idea about rasing insurance rates of those who drive more than others while saving normal people money. Of course, the accident record should be the most heavily weighted, followed by the traffic violation record. Those actuary types are actually pretty smart, and the more information they have, the more fairly they can distribute fees.

RE: Not all bad
By ebakke on 10/4/2007 5:36:43 PM , Rating: 2
Against all forms of databasing people...

If you had any idea how much of your life is stored in databases around the country/world, you'd be sick. Think of store purchases alone.

By PrinceGaz on 10/4/2007 1:59:14 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be surprised if some entrpeneur didn't start selling specially designed dummies that can be placed on the passenger seat and fool the cameras into thinking they are human. A suitable chemical coating, and if necessary, a small temperature-regulated heater powered from the cigarette-lighter, and you can use the lane for free.

RE: Dummies
By tjr508 on 10/4/2007 3:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Until you get caught and get a real criminal offense instead of just a traffic ticket...

By BVT on 10/4/2007 2:11:18 PM , Rating: 2
Infants and children sitting in the backseat cannot be seen in a lot of vehicles. For a scan to work accurately, there would be a minimum of 3 cameras needed to get all seats in most vehicles, one for the front and one on each side.

On top of that, you could not use the same cameras for full sized SUVs and small compacts because of the hight difference between the vehicles. While you could get away with using the same front camera, there is no way you could the side cameras for both types.

Another problem would be tinted windows. If you use good tint, the infrared light is great decreased.

It just will not work

By darkpaw on 10/4/2007 3:16:40 PM , Rating: 2
Infants were the first thing that came to mind for me too. My son is in a rear facing car seat in the back, he wouldn't show up on a camera unless it was facing in from behind.

Lets talk Chicago....
By crystal clear on 10/4/2007 11:55:07 AM , Rating: 1
What would you do if you were living in Chicago ?

Read this-

Big brother may be watching you in Chicago

Now they'll have to contend with "Operation Virtual Shield," developed by IBM and deployed in conjunction with Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Virtual Shield will capture, monitor, and "fully index" video from the Windy City's surveillance cameras. The software used to run the system will be able to recognize specific license plates, vehicle descriptions, and even patterns of behavior. If someone drops a briefcase on the El platform and it stays unattended for more than a minute, the system could alert the OEMC, which could then dispatch police officers to the scene.

RE: Lets talk Chicago....
By FITCamaro on 10/4/2007 1:37:17 PM , Rating: 2
Big Brother is watching you everywhere. I met him in college at 7am on a Monday morning. He was quite big. Then there were his friends. All had guns.

Lesson: Don't pick curious roommates.

Much ado about....
By clovell on 10/4/2007 12:00:24 PM , Rating: 3
Nothing. Courts already use tolls to help prove cases. Employers don't have free access to toll data, either. If they weren't in the carpool lane, riding for free, chances are, they'd be using an I-Pass, or something similar, that could track them just as easy.

This isn't new. From using E-bay to paying bills online, you're giving up some privacy in exchange for convenience - that's just how technology rolls. If you don't like it, then stop at the toll booth and pay cash and please, pretty please, take off the tinfoil hat.

A good start
By TheGreek on 10/4/2007 12:59:07 PM , Rating: 2
Combined with a policy of shooting lobbyists on sight perhaps this country could return to a point where "We the People...." starts to mean something again.

It is coming...
By TxJeepers on 10/4/2007 1:09:50 PM , Rating: 2
Just another component of what eventually become Skynet.

Too bad there are so many idiots out there, who never learned from their mommma's how to obey laws that we have to even consider crap like this.

I wonder
By Moishe on 10/4/2007 6:17:31 PM , Rating: 2
What kind of window tint would stop this... If you were to apply that to your license plate and to all the windows they would simply know that a car (make, type, etc) was there and now scan-able.

Think of it as the tinfoil hat for your car windows.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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