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Dori: State wants to track your location via electronic license plates

Rep. Mark Harmsworth (R-Mill Creek) at the KIRO Radio studios. Matt Pitman/MyNorthwest

We’ve been telling you for 19 years now, ever since we first broke the story, that the state government wants to toll every road in the region. The goal is to turn every road into a toll road, but to do that, they have to find a way to track every one of our vehicles somehow.

In a new idea proposed to the state Legislature, we would all have to buy electronic license plates, which 44th Legislative District Rep. Mark Harmsworth (R-Mill Creek) described as “kind of like a Kindle.” These plates would send data to the government, including the location of our cars at all times.

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“I have some serious privacy concerns here about tracking cars,” Harmsworth said.

Drivers would have to pay for these invasive data trackers. Harmsworth said that electronic license plates would cost about $300 each — a lot more than your current pieces of metal — plus a fee of $7 to $12 per month.

How do you like that blockbuster bit of news there? You would have to rent a license plate that’s like a Kindle, and they would not only be able to track where you are, but that license plate would always be interacting with the state. You’d have to pay $300 for the plate, and, like a Netflix subscription, you’d have to pay a monthly fee to the state. And it’s all so your license plate can talk to state data collections.

“The state is grabbing more money, it wants to know more about what you’re doing, more about your driving behavior, and I just don’t think that’s acceptable,” Harmsworth said.

We would be insane if we allowed this to happen. I will stay on top of it, because I’ve told you — making sure that the state does not turn every road into a toll road is one of the missions of my career.

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