When one of the six million I-Pass users in Illinois faces divorce, their private and personal information is put at risk. Unfortunately, the transponders that track the movement of vehicles and conveniently take out the toll money when drivers drive on toll roads also record personal information, and that information is readily available to anyone who has a warrant, court order, or subpoena. This includes an ex-spouse in a divorce, raising privacy concerns for divorcing spouses.
Getting Information from an I-Pass Is Fairly Easy
The Illinois Tollway provides the information collected from I-Pass transponders to anyone who has a court order or other qualifying legal document. While I-Pass data is commonly used in law enforcement situations, it can also be a problem for those who are facing divorce.
In one 2019 report, a woman indicated her ex obtained a subpoena to request her personal information and transponder records from the Illinois Tollway. Through this request, the ex was able to get the woman’s new cell phone number, credit card information, and email address. He then used this information to bypass a restraining order put on him by the courts, making the separation even more difficult. Cases like this have caused privacy concerns for people facing divorce, and many divorce lawyers warn their clients about the large amount of information readily available through this legal loophole.
Not all cases are as dubious as this one. Sometimes divorce lawyers will use the data to prove things like a job that is not disclosed in the divorce proceedings or an affair that would terminate alimony requirements. Still, privacy concerns need to be addressed, especially when facing a divorce. All freeway driving activity and any data supplied to the Illinois Tollway for the I-Pass can become part of the divorce proceedings.
More Protections Needed for Privacy
The Illinois Tollway is working with lawmakers to determine what can be done to protect I-Pass users from these privacy concerns. The Illinois Tollway is required by law to comply with subpoenas, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the request. Until changes are made, people facing divorce should be cautious about their use of the I-Pass because it could become public information as the divorce proceedings progress.