February 12, 2008
Drivers who use E-ZPass toll transponders are having their movements recorded even when driving on free public roads. New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine confirmed that the state’s department of transportation uses E-ZPass scanners to know when, for example, a motorist drives to the mall on Route 24 in the Short Hills area.
“This isn’t some kind of surveillance,” New Jersey DOT spokesman Erin Phalon told the Star-Ledger.
Instead, the official purpose of the program is counting traffic volume. The www.njcommuter.com website keeps track of traffic volume and accidents on important routes statewide. It is not clear whether the state has access to the identity of the motorists involved, because the New Jersey E-ZPass terms and conditions fail to disclose even the public tracking program.
“Nor are we liable for any third party act taken by reason of your use or display of the E-ZPass tag,” the terms and conditions state.
Toll transponder companies frequently hand over sensitive personal information regarding the movements of individual motorists in cases involving divorce and similar proceedings.