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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    
June 7, 2010

For More Information, Contact:
Phil Yost (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO –Legislation authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) to protect the privacy of drivers using the FasTrak payment system for toll bridges and roads passed the State Senate last week. The bill, which passed 24-10, now heads to the State Assembly.

Senate Bill 1268 prohibits transportation agencies from selling or sharing personal data, requires them to purge the data when it is no longer needed, sets penalties for violations, and ensures that FasTrak subscribers are given notice of the privacy practices affecting them.

“There’s just no reason for a government agency to track the movements of Californians, let alone maintain that information in a database forever and ever,” said Simitian.

Simitian’s legislation ensures the privacy of the data that transportation agencies collect via FasTrak and other toll collection systems. FasTrak passes allow drivers to pay tolls electronically at bridges and on toll roads, creating a travel and billing record for each driver.

Less well known is the fact that they are read by traffic monitoring systems throughout the Bay Area and elsewhere in the state to measure traffic congestion. Cameras that photograph license plates are also used to ensure tollpayer compliance.

“The net result,” says Simitian, “is that relatively obscure transportation agencies have personal data and travel histories for well over a million Californians, with no real meaningful legal protection from misuse of or inappropriate access to the data.”

“The state’s interest is in collecting tolls. Period,” said Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California. “That’s all the data should be used for. I’m pleased to see the legislation provide this protection””

Currently, privacy protections for the data are set forth in the policies of the various transportation agencies. “Personal driving histories belong to people, not transportation agencies,” said Simitian. “State law, not merely agency policy, should protect the privacy of drivers.”

The bill has drawn significant opposition from transportation agencies around the state.

For more information on these bills, visit