New Mass. Pike gantries could track vehicles, raising privacy concerns

Transportation officials confirmed the all electronic tolling devices installed along the Mass. Pike are able to pinpoint specific cars and alert law enforcement.
Transportation officials confirmed the all electronic tolling devices installed along the Mass. Pike are able to pinpoint specific cars and alert law enforcement.
Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

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New electronic tolling gantries on the Massachusetts Turnpike will be able to notify law enforcement when a specific vehicle passes through the structure, according to The Boston Globe .

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The Globe reports that the electronic tolling system will include a “hot list” feature that is capable of sending a notification to law enforcement when a vehicle with a specific license plate or transponder passes underneath the structure. For example, the system could be used to track a vehicle involved in a child abduction when an Amber Alert is activated.

But the technology is also raising eyebrows among privacy advocates and public officials who say the technology could be used to spy on everyday motorists.

“There’s a real possibility for abuse and misuse with this kind of technology,” Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, told the Globe.

The gantries are also capable of recording a vehicle’s speed when it passes through one of the structures, raising the possibility that the state could use the technology to nab speeders, though officials have said there are no plans to do so.

Read the full Globe story here.