In a letter to the editor, our Technology for Liberty director Kade Crockford pushed back against a Boston Herald editorial criticizing the concerns of privacy advocates regarding electronic tolling.

Open to electronic tolls

The huge amount of media interest in electronic tolling and the privacy issues it raises point to the fact that the ACLU is far from the only entity concerned about how the state will handle the sensitive information it collects about motorists (“Open roads, open minds,” Aug. 24). But the Herald’s editorial did not make it clear: We don’t oppose the shift to a more efficient system by the state’s Department of Transportation. We simply want to make sure adequate privacy protections are part of the overhaul.

That means: Only collect what you need, secure the information with encryption, limit internal access, require police to get a warrant except in emergencies and delete data as soon as possible. 

If the Herald is concerned about foreign hackers, the paper should agree with these basic principles. Encrypted information frustrates hackers; the records are even less useful if they have been purged from servers.

We can have new technology and privacy, too. We just need good policy and law to require it.

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Additional coverage of electronic tolling featuring the ACLU of Massachusetts: