The tech that gives government IT managers heartburn

The tech that gives government IT managers heartburn

IT pervades almost every aspect of government, but that doesn’t mean that agencies embrace it all with open arms. Several states, for example, have dug in on certain technologies -- usually those where privacy concerns are significant -- to the point that the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has nominated them for its annual Luddite Awards.

The technologies causing heartburn for government  included:

Automatic license plate readers

Many jurisdictions across the country believe license plate readers help identify stolen cars from in and outside a given city, as well as track vehicles during Amber alerts and kidnappings. However, privacy advocates believe the databases full of images from scanners across the country are an invasion of privacy into citizens who have not been suspected of a crime.  ITIF calls out several states -- naming Montana, Massachusetts and Vermont in particular -- for moving to "stop or significantly limit the technology."

RFID tags in driver’s licenses

While some of the federal government’s trusted traveler programs use radio frequency ID tags in their identification cards, many states have balked at incorporating the chip that can identify the user from a distance into driver’s licenses. RFID cards do speed border crossings because they can be read at a distance, but privacy advocates warn that the technology could be used to link a person’s background to the card, giving government officials information they might not otherwise have. Additionally, the technology has been found to be vulnerable to skimming, where the card’s data is intercepted by hackers.  

Red light cameras

Some states and cities have been quick to adopt red light cameras systems in an effort to prevent traffic accidents and generate money by ticketing violators. However, critics say that setup and maintenance can be expensive and that the cameras can actually increase accidents as a result of people trying to not get ticketed.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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