Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is Montgomery County Misusing Driving Records?

Montgomery County has been accused of looking into the traffic records of a critic of the speed camera program. In an alleged incident reported by TheNewsPaper, the county was reported to have responded to an email by a county resident with a letter which included specific details about that driver's speed camera violations, and the fact that he was a motorcyclist, even though none of those details were included in that letter. Ironically, both the original letter and the county's response referred to privacy concerns.

Should this raise concerns that speed cameras and the data regarding tickets might be used for purposes other than the one intended? One concern would be if this data might be released to insurance companies, even though the law specifically forbids speed camera tickets from being used to set insurance rates. Another concern was raised by a previous incident, reported by the Washington Post, where details of specific incidents were released to the media, including the names of police officers who had been issued speed camera tickets and an allegation that one of the officers had made an obscene gesture in one of the photos.

So does Montgomery County snoop on speed camera opponents? What, me worry?-)