Red Light Camera Exec Busted For Online "Sockpuppeteering"
An executive from American Traffic Solutions, a purveyor of red light cameras, has been suspended after being exposed for posing as an area resident in 43 comments on red light camera-related stories at the Everett Herald. The Herald reported last Friday
Some readers have suggested “W Howard” has been posting comments as part of a marketing campaign run by American Traffic Solutions, Inc. The Scottsdale-based company contracts to provide enforcement camera services in Lynnwood and Seattle. It had inked a similar deal in Mukilteo last year, then [ anti-camera activist Tim] Eyman pushed for a public vote. Upshot: no cameras in Mukilteo, and a spreading movement around Washington that has growing numbers of people asking questions about enforcement camera technology.
Heraldnet.com requires that people who wish to post comments supply us with a live email address at the time they create their user account. “W Howard” gave an address at American Traffic Solutions. It is one used by Bill Kroske, vice president of business development at ATS. Somebody techie here ran down the internet protocol address that’s being used for “W Howard’s” posts. The electronic trail led straight back to Kroske’s company in Scottsdale.
Kroske pitched Mukilteo on the cameras. He recently was in Bellingham, suggesting a similar arrangement. He’s been the public face of American Traffic Solutions in arranging camera contracts in Washington.
ATS spokesman Charley Territo (whom TTAC readers may remember from his days as spokesman for the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers and TTAC guest editorialist) tells the Spokane Spokesman-Review (where, it turns out, Kroske had left nine pro-camera comments) that his co-worker had expressed his uncontrollable pro-camera passions “the wrong way” by not identifying himself and posing as a local resident. Ya think? [Hit the jump for a full statement from ATS President James Tuton].
Meanwhile, are there any TTAC commenters who have something they need to get off their chests?
ATS President James Tuton tells the Herald
I wanted to take an opportunity to clarify the position of ATS regarding the alleged recent actions of one of our employees. We appreciate this issue being brought to our attention and want to be clear: we do not encourage or condone the kind of behavior your investigation seems to have uncovered. ATS is disappointed and embarrassed by these actions. Such a lack of disclosure violates not only ATS company policy, but also our core values. While we share in the commenter’s passion for red light safety cameras, we also recognize the importance of honest engagement. The employee in question has been suspended indefinitely pending further investigation. Furthermore, we are taking steps to make sure all of our employees know that this type of activity is unacceptable.
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