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Tracking DC Drivers
The District of Columbia’s Department of Motor Vehicles plans to install computer chips in drivers licenses that could allow the city to track persons throughout the region’s transit system. A DMV official acknowledged that the SmarTrip chip provides “Metro and the government with a system to follow users...” but stated that the DMV “has no intention to track [a] person’s movements on the Metro system.”

The Chairman of the City Council described the chips as “yet another opportunity to reduce vehicular traffic in the downtown area.” An official with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) stated that the city is “setting up an infrastructure where the government can track you all the time.”

An official with another watchdog NGO, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, explained, “If you’re paying your fare with it, they’re going to have the ability to know by name who entered each Metro station at what time and who exited a Metro station at what time. That can be used by the government to track your comings and goings. It’s an absolutely awful idea.”

Winston appreciates the importance of mass transit. Tracking people when they use the Metro system, however, may make drivers more likely to stay in the cars.

See news article

See EPIC website

See Privacy Rights Clearinghouse website

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