Corporate espionage, lawsuits, public outcry - the dark side of private traffic enforcement
And that's not even where the big money is. The real filthy lucre is in speeding. Again, and even more than above, the numbers are gross. Red light cameras alone generate four billion dollars per year. Good old hand written speeding tickets net their locales ten billion dollars per year. Makes you wonder how city governments ever functioned before Henry Ford. Not as lavishly, that's for sure. But, where there's tons and tons of public money to be made, there's graft. And corruption. And most of all, greed.
Take the case of two private parking companies, Dallas-based Affiliated and Duncan Solutions of Milwaukee. According to a report from MSNBC's Red Tape Chronicles, Duncan is alleged to have been reading Affiliated's email. And not just reading their email, but setting up dummy accounts to quite literally trick Affiliated employees into sending Duncan emails before routing the pilfered messages back to Affiliated via special servers. And according to Affiliated, Duncan engaged in this practice for over two years. Duncan, not surprisingly, denies all wrong doing whatsoever and is anxious to prove it in court.
Not that Affiliated is so sweet and innocent. There were 89,840 complaints against Affiliated in Washington DC in 2005 – the first year they took over parking meter operations from the city. The complaints were up, by the way, from 3,652 the year before. it doesn't stop there. When an Affiliated contract for fifty red light cameras expired that same year, it was discovered that twenty seven of the cameras weren't working. Can you image two better companies to entrust with the collection of public money?
[Source: Red Tape Chronicles | Image: Serge Burton/Getty]
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