Privacy Concerns Raised With Connecticut’s $10 Million Electronic Tolling Study

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

“If Connecticut does not restrict how it shares toll information, state tolls could become an on-ramp for the federal government’s deportation machine,” the ACLU says.

Electronic tolling could enable Connecticut government or for-profit corporations to track driver speeds, locations and travel habits absent privacy protections, according to the state’s American Civil Liberties Union office.

Gov. Dannel Malloy issued an executive order on July 17 directing state agencies to conduct a $10 million comprehensive assessment of putting in place electronic tolling as a replacement for Connecticut gas tax revenues, which have declined as vehicles become more fuel efficient or entirely electric.

Malloy’s order makes no mention of privacy concerns, which the ACLU says is a major oversight.

“Thousands of detailed scans about your travel habits are kept in a state database, without rules for how the government secures or shares them,” said David McGuire, ACLU of Connecticut executive director, in a Wednesday blog. “If this toll study ignores privacy rights, this could be the reality in Connecticut.”

Typically electronic tolling relies on equipment that scan transponders attached to drivers’ windshields, deducting money from prepaid accounts linked to license plates. Cameras capture license plates of drivers not in the system, and the state mails them a bill.

Ensuring out-of-state drivers pay their fair share for the operation and maintenance of Connecticut highways was another reason Malloy cited for the study.

“After all, we need to be truthful with the people we were elected to represent—without transforming the way we fund our highways, we will be unable to pay for the large-scale construction and rehabilitation projects that our state needs to ensure continued safe travel while attracting businesses and growing our economy,” Malloy said in a statement.

Electronic tolls generally depend on automatic license plate readers, or LPRs, that may photograph a vehicle’s occupants. Connecticut government could then share those images with its partners, which the ACLU says raises Fourth Amendment concerns.

In the past, the Connecticut Capitol Area Police Association has partnered with LPR company Vigilant Solutions, which has a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement allowing the federal agency to access its full database of scans.

“This could allow ICE to find and follow immigrants by tracking cars registered to people who are undocumented or to their friends or family,” McGuire said. “If Connecticut does not restrict how it shares toll information, state tolls could become an on-ramp for the federal government’s deportation machine.”

A day after Malloy issued the order, ACLU of Connecticut sent a letter to Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker requesting a meeting to discuss privacy issues.

Neither Malloy’s office nor Redeker’s responded to requests for comment on their privacy stances.

There’s currently no deadline on the electronic tolling study, and there are no tolls on state roads.

ACLU of Connecticut is looking for the state to ban the sale or sharing of toll information with third parties, including federal agencies like ICE or the FBI. They also want rules that would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access the database—outside of emergencies like AMBER Alerts. People should be notified before their data is released in this way, McGuire said.

Connecticut has had the same 25-cents-per-gallon gas tax since 1997, though the state’s wholesale fuel tax rate was increased to 8.1 percent in 2013.

Electronic tolls will be considered on I-95, I-91, I-84, the Wilbur Cross Parkway, the Merritt Parkway, and other limited access highways identified by Redeker. The State Bond Commission cleared $10 million for the study Wednesday.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

NEXT STORY: Shoddy IT is Limiting FEMA's Ability to Respond to Disasters, IG Says

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.