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License Plate Readers Only the Beginning

Using RFID technology, law enforcement and state agencies would be able to track the whereabouts of literally every registered vehicle in the state at any given moment.

As town officials mull the pros and cons of buying (which are already in use in other Fairfield County towns), the Connecticut state legislature is reportedly mulling an even more “Big Brother-ish” proposal: Putting RFID tags into license plates.

Using RFID technology, law enforcement and state agencies would be able to track the whereabouts of literally every registered vehicle in the state at any given moment. What’s more, officials would be able to access historical data showing where every vehicle has been, starting from when the RFID chips installed.

According to a report in The Newspaper.com, the state Senate Transportation Committee last Wednesday voted unanimously to support Senate Bill 288 (see attached PDF), which was introduced in the legislature following aggressive lobbying by representatives of the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) industry.

But, just like the proposal to install license plate readers in police squad cars, the proposal has raised the eyebrows of some lawmakers who are concerned about the impact on privacy.

“Implanting the chips on license plates would enable real-time monitoring of all vehicles by positioning tracking stations at key points throughout the state,” the report states. “The main interest behind the bill is to generate automated ticket for drivers whose vehicle registration, emissions or insurance certification may have lapsed for a day or two.”

According to the report, former astronaut Paul Scully-Power, who first brought the idea to the attention of CT lawmakers, “stands to profit significantly should the technology be adapted at the state level, as he is the former CEO of Mikoh Corporation and SensorConnect Inc., both of which sell RFID solutions.”

Scully-Power reportedly testified (see attached PDF) that, providing the technology is adopted and utilized, the state could collect up to $29,619,500 per year in fines and fees compared to the current annual average of about $594,000.

Meanwhile a similar, federal law requiring states to install RFID tags into new driver’s licenses for the same purpose (under the REAL ID Act of 2005) has reportedly come under sharp fire by some Michigan lawmakers.

According to another report in The Newspaper.com, US Representative Justin Amash earlier this month wrote Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urging her to undo her 2009 regulatory mandate that states install RFID chips in new "enhanced" licenses, saying the chips “would give public and private entities an unprecedented ability to track Americans.”

Greenhill March 19, 2012 at 08:36 PM
The true intent is too expand on the RFID information outside of motor vehicle registration. The State is stating it will be used for identifying vehicles not in compliance with registration but the Scully-Power proposal clearly shows they recommend expanding the use of this information to find other violations such as speeding. Don't let your local representative "soft-sell" this as a one dimensional enforcement tool it is far more than that and goes too far in my opinion.
heavens sake March 19, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Your wife will now know your every move . So will Uncle Sam, Gov. Malloy and any nerd handy with a computer. Your only a number after all. One click and no secrets, no privacy and no you.
Ty Webb March 19, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Mrs Webb is more than welcome to know where I go at any given time. It's really none of anyosne else's business though. Are we really convinced they need to know where everyone is at all times in case we commit a crime or have lapsed insurance or registration?? Seriously? We are snookered into martial law by PARKING TICKETS? These people need to be fired for even suggesting it.
S Tadik March 20, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Another nanny state invention which makes no sense. First, it only tracks license plate whereabouts, not cars. Second, I question the fact that it would survive a session in the toaser oven.
Mary Anne March 20, 2012 at 03:54 AM
I also think it is more than what they say. Def don't like this idea.
Neele Stichnoth March 20, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Bottom line, NC residents need to make it clear to our Town Council that we do not want the plate reading unit presented by the PD at the last meeting. Something tells me we can find a better use for that $20,000.
Mansour Abdullah October 02, 2013 at 02:48 AM
they already now where u r because this chip is in your driver licence any way but using it in your car it will protect your car form begin stolen and can not be used by someone else except the government and the government is our family any way so they can know where we are and what is the problem if we are good people

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