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Is your Car Spying on You?

Toll tags and electronic systems like EZ-Pass are a convenient way to pay a toll. You don’t need to fumble around looking for change, you don’t even need to stop; just proceed through the booth and the cost will automatically be taken from your account.

That’s the good news. The other side of that is that every time you pass through a toll, you are letting people know exactly where you are, and where you are headed.

Toll tags can be valuable to the state running them, including offering information on the flow of traffic. A computer can calculate how long it takes cars to go from one toll to the next, and turn that into traffic data.

Toll tag data is also used in divorce proceedings and criminal cases. (“You were traveling to Colorado to visit your grandmother, you say? Toll records indicate that you were driving through New York at the time of the crime!”)

Every state has different laws governing EZ-Pass data. For instance, in New Jersey toll records are only able to be accessed for court cases, and only by a court order. Records are kept indefinitely.

So, the next time you fly past a toll booth and laugh at all of those people who have to wait in line; think of who may be laughing last…