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Driven Across the 14th Street Bridge Lately? DOT Wants to Know Where You Live

Driven Across the 14th Street Bridge Lately? DOT Wants to Know Where You Live

Old Oct 11, 07, 12:21 pm
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Exclamation Driven Across the 14th Street Bridge Lately? DOT Wants to Know Where You Live

More "Big Brother" -- I don't remember any of us being asked for our consent...

Part of the study involves recording the ZIP codes of drivers crossing the bridge this month by photographing license plates, said Jack van Dop, a senior technical specialist with the U.S. Department of Transportation, who is leading the study.
To be fair, it's not yet funded, but ...

Wonder what's happening to our vehicles at airport parking lots when we're not looking???

http://www.examiner.com/a-983114~Fed...et_Bridge.html

(Please move somewhere else if appropriate.)

Last edited by FliesWay2Much; Oct 11, 07 at 12:23 pm Reason: Forgot Link
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Old Oct 11, 07, 12:30 pm
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Already happened on I-35 in Texas.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
To be fair, it's not yet funded, but ...
What does funding have anything to do with with fairness? And furthermore, this test is still being underwritten by somehow. I doubt that anyone who's lifted so much as a finger to work on this "unfunded" project is doing so out of the goodness of their hearts, i.e. TANSTAAFL.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by essxjay View Post
What does funding have anything to do with with fairness? And furthermore, this test is still being underwritten by somehow. I doubt that anyone who's lifted so much as a finger to work on this "unfunded" project is doing so out of the goodness of their hearts, i.e. TANSTAAFL.
My "fairness" comment had to do with full disclosure of the article's contents, to avoid erroneously make people believe that this was going on (yet).

I did some further reading and found the study's home page (Federal Hwy Administration.) The study -- a generic one studying metro DC traffic problems -- has been fully funded for a year or more. It's part of a project to simplify all the ramps and approaches to the 14th Street Bridge. Data collection projects, such as the license plate photographing and data reduction, have not been funded.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 1:16 pm
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Dial back the paranoia a bit, ok.

This is not "big brother." This is, however, part of a long term set of projects to study the entire 14th St. Bridge system, which, as someone who lives within site of the bridges can tell you, is long overdue.

As for your consent, well, if you are diving your car in public then there is no expectation of privacy and hence no consent is needed. The police (or in this case the big bad Department of Transportation) have just as much right to observe things that happen in public as you do.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 1:25 pm
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Originally Posted by 303george View Post
As for your consent, well, if you are diving your car in public then there is no expectation of privacy and hence no consent is needed. The police (or in this case the big bad Department of Transportation) have just as much right to observe things that happen in public as you do.
Just because there isn't an expectation of privacy doesn't mean that our government should be tracking us.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by 303george View Post

As for your consent, well, if you are diving your car in public then there is no expectation of privacy and hence no consent is needed. The police (or in this case the big bad Department of Transportation) have just as much right to observe things that happen in public as you do.
Rights accrue to the people, not the police or any government agency.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 1:35 pm
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Originally Posted by 303george View Post
Dial back the paranoia a bit, ok.

This is not "big brother." This is, however, part of a long term set of projects to study the entire 14th St. Bridge system, which, as someone who lives within site of the bridges can tell you, is long overdue.

As for your consent, well, if you are diving your car in public then there is no expectation of privacy and hence no consent is needed. The police (or in this case the big bad Department of Transportation) have just as much right to observe things that happen in public as you do.
One guy's paranoia is another guy's concern for what we're allowing to happen to our country. DOT intends to create a system of records, which requires full before-the-fact disclosure under the Privacy Act.

Look at the link someone else provided to the Texas study. Their contractor actually sent surveys to individual people whose license plates they had photographed. The PA talking head said:

TxDOT spokeswoman Gaby Garcia said the information won't be shared or sold and will be disposed of in a secure fashion.
Yeah, right.

Having worked in government for over 30 years, I guess I have higher professional expectations than a lot of people for myself and anyone else earning a federal paycheck.

Conducting an anomymous traffic survey (i.e. the pneumatic tire counters) is one thing; photographing my license plate (or yours for that matter) and recording personal information obtained elsewhere crosses the line.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 2:07 pm
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
To be fair, it's not yet funded, but ...
Don't worry, they'll just build the cost into the tolls they plan to charge....

http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=30&sid=1265463

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Old Oct 11, 07, 3:56 pm
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They're only tracking the zip code. Such O/D data is very helpful in looking at driver patterns and need for more/less capacity. This data will probably only be aggregated and used in that way. I doubt anyone at DOT cares about where you personally live (they can still look it up).

In the end, I think the benefits of this outweigh the costs. Your license plate is there for a reason -- to identify your car.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 4:07 pm
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This may also be tied into getting uninsured motorists off the street.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 7:14 pm
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For anyone who's interested in a first-hand account of the Texas "traffic pattern surveys" that are being mailed out:

I commute a 90-mile round trip into Dallas every day via I-30 and received one of these surveys 1-2 weeks ago. I was fairly creeped out to find that my plate had been photographed, and that apparently the photo was used to run my plate, get my home address, and give my home address to a non-LEO, even though I was not being accused of running a red light, speeding, or any other violation that would cause my plates to be run.

That's bad enough, but then I'm asked:

for the address from which my trip began (why is street addy needed?),

what kind of place from which I was coming (multi-choice: home, work, school, medical, shopping, etc.),

if my trip began and ended on the same day,

the address at which my trip ended (again, why the street addy?),

what kind of place at which I ended (again, multi-choice: home, work, etc),

how many people were in my household (relevance, anyone?),

and something else which I can't remember but was equally irrelevant to the stated objective of analyzing traffic patterns.

I would think that tire counters placed before and after the towns radiating x number of miles out of Dallas during certain time frames would give an excellent indication of traffic patterns without getting into my business. I have a really hard time believing that such particular and personal information is required for any idiot to figure out that traffic will become more congested in the areas where new housing developments are going up.

I can't see that this is as innocuous as the Powers That Be say. And I certainly don't need my work addy sitting in a Big Brother file somewhere because I teach in a rough area of Dallas where drugs are bought and run out to the rich outer suburbs that I drive through!!!

celtia
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Old Oct 11, 07, 7:20 pm
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
Wonder what's happening to our vehicles at airport parking lots when we're not looking???
CLT records the license plate of all who enter their lots so if they can do it and charge only $3/day, i'm sure all you getting hosed on $10 a day are getting the same treatment. I don't know exactly what they use it for, but if you forget where you parked they can tell you and they reconcile your plate when you pay to exit.

They don't, however, man the booths after 1:30 am so if you leave after that time you don't have to pay and I have yet to receive a bill from the 2 times that happened to me. I guess they feel sorry for you arriving so late.
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