A new charge on your phone bill

A new charge on your phone bill

Summary: IntelliOne of Atlanta has developed a system that monitors traffic speeds and spots jams as they occur. It works by repeatedly sampling the locations of nearby cell phones and calculating the distance between measurements--this gives it an overall traffic speed, which it can report to authorities or traffic information providers.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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IntelliOne of Atlanta has developed a system that monitors traffic speeds and spots jams as they occur. It works by repeatedly sampling the locations of nearby cell phones and calculating the distance between measurements--this gives it an overall traffic speed, which it can report to authorities or traffic information providers.

So what?

To its credit, IntelliOne goes out of its way to address the staggeringly obvious privacy concerns--its system doesn't actually collect enough information to identify the phone's owner. (Whew!) But the point is that it could. With a few lean years of federal highway funding and a drop in toll collections, the temptation to identify speeders by number and put fines on their phone bills might be irresistible. And as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said about a similar (in spirit) system he was thinking of installing in taxis, "We all want the laws enforced. And when we have technology [that] can let us enforce the law and save us money in doing so, what's the argument against that?" What, indeed?

Topic: Mobility

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18 comments
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  • That wouldn't work for catching speeders

    How would they know if I were speeding while driving my car, or was a passenger in someone elses car that was speeding. They couldn't not unless the signal were sent by the car itself.
    jfp
    • Same way as red light cams!

      If you are the registered owner of the vehicle, and the owner of the cell phone, they COULD conclude you are the driver and send you the ticket! Many states do this with red light cams, and you must go to court to testify under oath that you weren't driving at the time to get out of the ticket.

      Frankly, in the future they will have the technology for your car to KNOW the speed limit and refuse to go faster! Heaven help you if you need to get to a hospital in a hurry! (People will have to keep old junker cars for emergencies. ;) )
      bmgoodman
      • Who wants to bet it'll flop...

        Either A) people won't buy the phones or B) turn it off when they get in their cars.
        ju1ce
      • Butt ...

        What if you are a passenger in a speeding taxi or train?

        Amtrak gets the ticket? Or...?
        shineon4me
  • Ok, I'm a passenger...

    ...and the driver is speeding, but I get the ticket? Not enforceable because it can't prove who is in the driver's seat.
    KTHernandez
    • Owner of the vehicle

      But they could match the owner of the cell phone to the owner of the vehicle. Similar to what they do with photo radar. If you're not both the driver and the owner, you don't get the ticket.
      ITguy5678
    • Owner of the vehicle

      But they could match the owner of the cell phone to the owner of the vehicle. Similar to what they do with photo radar. If you're not both the driver and the owner, you don't get the ticket.
      ITguy5678
      • How would "they" identify the vehicle?

        How would they identify which vehicle was the one speeding. What if you own two cars? It is not your personal cell phone number that you have to worry about. "Big Brother" will require all car manufacturers to install cell phone/gps/ "On Star" type units in all cars...Now you get the ticket in the mail just like with the red light camera and photoradar units.
        ericashby@...
    • does it matter?

      In this day and age, the rider should also be resopnsible for hte speed of the car! Share and share alike - the cost of gas and the cost of speeding tickets. Everybody pays!
      Quantum Rift
    • RE: A new charge on your phone bill

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  • Won't work.

    It will not work unless they can prove the cell phone owner was also driving the speeding vehicle.
    thomasp3@...
  • cellphones and speeding

    You'd be identified as a possible speeder. Then, since we all know there are a gazillion cameras photographing us each day, the next available camera on your projected route would get your picture and licence plate number. Or it could just 'poll' the black box in your car. Or, if you're a convicted drunk driver it could have your breath sample available to prove you were driving since you had to breath into the unlock device to start the car....ad nauseum...
    Quantum Rift
  • double charge

    would they also charge you for driving to endanger seeing as your speeding & talking at that same time?Cell phones save lifes,but they also take them too
    stanj.miranda@...
  • The concept will be rejected, unless ...

    The government says that it is means to "stop terrorism" (don't ask me how, but that doesn't stop the Feds) or that its "for the children." Either catchphrase seems to turn otherwise rational adults into lemmings, clamoring to surrender their privacy or rights en masse.
    bkshort@...
  • sounds a lot like....

    Australia. In Australia they use cameras to catch people who run red lights. The camera takes a picture of the cars license plate and the registered owner gets the ticket in the mail. It doesn't matter who is driving. It makes you think twice before lending your car out to someone.

    So is that what this country is resorting to? Are we now going to hold anyone responsible just because we can't identify the guilty party with 100% accuracy? Sounds like guilt by association. And what if there are five cell phones in the same car? Do they all get the ticket? Talk about a SERIOUS money maker for the government!!!
    marilynw@...
  • paranoid!

    it occurs to me, when people start using vague paranoid terms like 'they' coupled w/ theoretical terms like 'if', 'could', 'maybe' and 'might', that is really needed to take a valium and a nap. the simple solution to this is not to worry about your technology or the government or anyone who could be called 'they', but simply not to speed. also, just because your phone is on, the towers can find you, you don't have to be talking. this is how the trffic scenerios are plotted, based on volume in an area, and how long it takes to get to the next tower, not actual speed, because if you're not talking, your phone only sends a signal intermittently, you can't be 'clocked' w/ accuracy. maybe someday, but also, someday, you won't need to actually drive your car and speeding won't be one of your options.
    inertman@...
  • Anyone Who Considers History

    Can predict the future.
    They (see inertman@... post above), the government or whatever corporation is in control (Microsoft is a prime example) will limit one freedom at the time, slowly slowly, so that not many people will notice, until one day you wake up and realize, hey, I don't have any freedoms.
    Wheather it be seat belts, speed limits, safety inspections, license plates, or cell phones, or _______(fill in the blanks), you have no freedom. Exactly like they (see inertman@... post above, again) tell you when you enlist in military service...... "You have no rights, anything we allow you to do is a priviledge".
    Ole Man
  • Speeders? Technically not possible with most phones.

    Only phones equipped with GPS could accurately track the location and speed of whatever vehicle it is in. Triangulation via towers is not accurate enough to determine your exact location; the accuracy can be anywhere from 1 mi sq to about 40 mi sq, depending on coverage density.

    Thus, in an area of sufficient coverage, a system tracking cell phones could be useful to identify traffic patterns, but not good enough to give a definitive speed at an exact location, which is required of a ticket.

    Sure, tracking a trip from start to finish could give enough information to say the average speed for a given trip is between x and y MPH, but AFAIK, current laws don't allow for writing such a broad spectum ticket.

    OTOH, if you [i]do[/i] have a GPS enabled cell phone, [i]AND[/i] you can be placed as the driver of said vehicle (traffic cams?), you could be SOL.
    D-cat