Friday, December 19, 2014


From a drawer in a little alcove hidden from the telescreen, Winston pulls out a small diary he recently purchased. He found the diary in a secondhand store in the proletarian district, where the very poor live relatively unimpeded by Party monitoring. The proles, as they are called, are so impoverished and insignificant that the Party does not consider them a threat to its power. Winston begins to write in his diary, although he realizes that this constitutes an act of rebellion against the Party. He describes the films he watched the night before. He thinks about his lust and hatred for a dark-haired girl who works in the Fiction Department at the Ministry of Truth, and about an important Inner Party member named O’Brien—a man he is sure is an enemy of the Party. Winston remembers the moment before that day’s Two Minutes Hate, an assembly during which Party orators whip the populace into a frenzy of hatred against the enemies of Oceania. Just before the Hate began, Winston knew he hated Big Brother, and saw the same loathing in O’Brien’s eyes.

Winston looks down and realizes that he has written “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER”over and over again in his diary. He has committed thoughtcrime—the most unpardonable crime—and he knows that the Thought Police will seize him sooner or later. Just then, there is a knock at the door.-  1984

Warning to motorists: Don't speed in the toll lanes. E-Z Pass is watching.

Several states, including New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania, say they monitor speeds through the fast pass toll lanes and will suspend your E-Z Pass for multiple speeding violations.

In all, five of the 15 E-Z Pass states have some kind of rules on the books for breaking the speed limit in the convenience lanes.

"You can lose your E-Z Pass privileges if you speed through E-Z Pass lanes," says Dan Weiller, director of communications for the New York State Thruway Authority. "You get a couple of warnings. We don't have the power to give a ticket, but we do have to power to revoke your E-Z Pass, which we will."

He and tolling officials in several other states say the issue is the safety of human toll collectors. "At most toll barriers, we have a mix of E-Z Pass lanes and standard toll lanes," Weiller says.

On Maryland toll roads, drivers' speed is monitored in the free-flowing toll lanes, which have a 30 mph speed limit, says Becky Freeberger, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transportation Authority. "If we clock you at 12 mph more than that, we will send you a warning, saying slow down," she says. "It's not a ticket." If a driver gets a second such notice within six months, their E-Z Pass account can be suspended for up to 60 days. [Full]

In the grand scheme of things this is but a pimple, but illustrative of how government will use any technology available to track the citizenry.  It's prompted me to write this comprehensive paper on how to take yourself out of the loop now— before you, like Winston Smith, find a rat cage around your head.

Chapter One

  1. Never connect to the internet ...


DougM said...

Room 101
Cheer up, we won't all fit in there.
(What? Well, yeah, reckon they could have as many Room 101s as they wanted … especially if they built 'em on-line.)

Ed "FishStyx" Hamilton said...

Not to worry, Rodger.
I don't think many of US will be "hanging alone".
We are and are IN good company.

LindaF said...

Not to be pro-tyranny, but there are workers in the other booths, and they do pass through the lanes. Also, speeding can lead to problems when you try to merge out the other side, from 5-6 lanes into 2. Haven't personally seen accidents, but a few near-misses.

Rodger the Real King of France said...

Linda F, I agree there may be that problem, and I don't discount it. However, police state measures are always introduced as being benevolent. The state will take our freedom, and we will thank them every incremental step. Especially true of late.

Are we becoming a police state? Five things that have civil liberties advocates nervous

Anonymous said...

In Pennsylvania most EZ Pass toll booths have radar and and a sign that tells you how fast you're going through them. The speed limit is 5 mph which is ignored by absolutely everybody, even cops and PennDOT vehicles. Most go 20 or 30 but some go even faster. 5MPH is silly but it's really frikkin' dangerous to go much more than 15. Frankly, I'm surprised they _haven't_ been sending people tickets for screaming through toll booths. It's a well-marked legal speed limit and if speed cams are legal they would have every right to do so. They could generate thousands a day at every booth.

I do not see this as a Big Brother thing, not nearly so much as the fact that they DO record every time you get on and off and the time. Those records have been used in criminal and civil cases.

It has been discussed to use math to send people tickets simply by knowing the minimum time it takes to get from one booth to another going the speed limit. Any less and you did in fact speed, there's no defense. It's airtight and requires no new hardware, only a few lines of code. They haven't done it because they know if they did 90% of EZ-Pass users would cancel instantly. The data they generate is too valuable for non-evil reasons like real time monitoring of traffic flow.

Also every now and then someone suggests making use of EZ-Pass mandatory to use any tool roads and eliminate cash toll completely. That goes over like a lead balloon because some people absolutely refuse to use it on privacy grounds and even people that do still want the option of not. That won't happen anytime soon, everyone but the worst statists hate the idea. But the fact that it is proposed at all means someone thinks it's a good idea and they must be watched.

You Marylanders- drive around the Baltimore beltway with a radar detector some time and notice it goes off at most underpasses. When it does, look for a box about a foot square on the bridge beams over the road facing traffic. That's radar monitoring the overall traffic speed. It can't pick out individual cars. Yet.

Anonymous said...

Most of those same people that object to EZ-Pass for privacy reasons carry cellphones that can be tracked everywhere and even better. Frankly, I don't mind either. Should I ever feel the need I can hide my phone and EZ-Pass on a truck (or better, a vehicle similar to mine if one is available) before it gets on the turnpike and go the other way.


Anonymous said...

Todays' Trivia...
Clear sports-board tape placed over an auto tag is transparent but, curiously, defeats traffic cameras.

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