Governor Mary Fallin Directs Oklahoma Highway Patrol to
Delay Use of Credit Card Reading Devices
Governor Wants Policy Developed for Using Electronic Card Readers
OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today directed her Cabinet secretary of safety and security to delay the use of devices that read the magnetic strips on credit, debit and gift cards as well as any other card that has financial information on them.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has had the Electronic Recovery and Access to Data readers for about a month. The agency purchased 20 card readers, with 16 assigned to troopers. None of the devices have been used to help seize any funds.
The readers are intended to apprehend those involved in identity theft or other illegal activities involving monetary transactions. The readers allow troopers to read the back of the strip on a card or other item, such as a hotel room card, to see if it matches the information on the front.
Secretary of Safety and Security Michael Thompson, who also serves as commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, said that before troopers may use the readers, they must have reasonable suspicion to believe a crime has occurred. Troopers typically would not use the devices unless a motorist was stopped traveling with dozens of cards.
Some groups and lawmakers have raised concerns that the devices could be misused and raised suspicions that troopers were scanning everyone’s information.
“The Department of Public Safety needs to formulate a clear policy for using this new technology,” said Fallin. “It can be a viable tool for law enforcement only if authorities are able to ensure Oklahoma motorists and others driving through our state that it will be used appropriately.”
More than 25 states use the card-reading devices. Their use has been upheld by courts.
“The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has enjoyed the trust of Oklahoma motorists for decades,’’ Fallin said. “Taking time to develop policy for the use of these devices and to educate the public will help calm the fears of the motoring public.”