Hardware hacker learns his E-ZPass is being read all over NYC, not just at toll booths




I can only assume that Bloomberg enjoys watching the little ants scurry around the streets from his towering command lair.


I wonder if it extends through the other EZ-Pass states. I’m in Boston and finally broke down to get one because I travel for work a ton.


How come his simcity doesn’t require origin?


Oh, Mayor Bloomberg’s SimCity phones home to the mothership even more than EA’s does, it’s just that the Mayor is the mothership. Media empire, police force with CIA-trained spooks, Lawful Evil alignment that would raise the hair on the back of your neck, he’s got it all.


If you read the article it is mentioned that other states do not, but this is being confirmed with the light-up cow device.


Something like 15 years ago, I read a paper by someone at NYDOT. They added a bunch of readers (usually as part of a bridge) to get a handle on traffic congestion. Just match hits, and you know which roads are plugged.

At the time they did take pains to anonymise the ids, but they have had decades to fix that.


thank you for this article, confirming my decision to not get an EZ pass… or a smart phone! i’m sure i’m carrying some other trackable item on my person, but at least not those two obvious targets…


Stop the ride, I want to get off.

This has been a shitty year for technology in general. Ever since the Snowden leaks it seems like every day there’s some new justification for completely unplugging.

Tech was supposed to make life awesome, dammit. Not whatever this is.


My parents keep their EZPass in a static-proof bag in their glove compartment when they’re not actually going through a toll.

Motivation: Rumors that there were people who scanned the codes for theft purposes.


All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to lay on the couch and watch “Breaking Bad”.


Oh, I’m sitting here awaiting the birth of a grandchild. On a freakin’ google hangout. And Step-Mommy-Dearest just demanding vid of my daughter??!! Gyah.

Makes me think of old sci-fi. Much of this was predicted, and we all thought the tech would be great. And now here we are, and all the Big Brother stories came right along with all the cool tech.


Little Brother, anyone?

Where are the Xnet and the jammers when we need them?


I thought this is how realtime traffic data are generated. In the SF Bay Area, FasTrak is certainly used that way. They provide a special bag you can keep your tag in, if you want to opt out. That is spelled out in the user agreement:

You agree that the Toll Tag may be read to provide anonymous traffic
flow data to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s ‘511’
project, a real time traffic information service.


Where your DVR or set-top box reports back what you’re watching. Le sigh and frown


Would a static-proof bag do the trick, or is an RFID-proof bag needed?


I would assume it’s something like this. A known issue with the EZ-Pass is false reads. The company in fact recommended for a long time storing them in the non-static bags they ship them in to prevent erroneous toll charges while near one of their sensors (and to prevent cloning of the ID signal).


Apparently the static proof bag is enough. If memory serves the company actually recommended doing this (at least quietly, after there was a problem) to prevent false toll charges when driving near rather than through a toll plaza.


Actually, I think I believe the story about the data helping traffic engineers. If EZPass was all about invading privacy, it’s a terrible failure. I’m willing to bet only a small fraction of drug dealers, NSA leakers, and Wall Street occupiers actually uses EZPass. I sure don’t. In fact, the only class that uses it a lot are… freight haulers? Who else?


Commuters are another prime category. Anyone else who hits a toll highway on a regular basis.

Yes, the standard static-proof bag is enough to block a normal EZPass transponder ping. Simply putting it in your glove box MAY be enough, depending on how much metal there is in the car; they want it on the top of the windshield specifically so the signal won’t be blocked.

Personally, I’m glad of anything that improves traffic management data. Less adverse impact from road closures, better decisions of where to invest in road improvements, and the routing algorithms on some websites (and on many GPS units, including my own) use current road speed measurements when picking best routes.

If you folks want to opt out, fine. For myself, I’m willing to accept that I’m too boring for anyone to care about.