KableNet reports that:
Data fears for Oyster card
29 September 2003
The UK's data protection watchdog is worried about London's travel smart card scheme
The UK Information Commissioner Richard Thomas has warned London's transport authority that it must tell passengers using the new Oyster smart cards, how personal information held about them is stored and used.
Thomas, who enforces and oversees the Data Protection Act, has written to Transport for London (TfL) expressing concerns about the length of time that it will hold information about passengers and how this could be used to track the movements of individuals
Thomas, who enforces and oversees the Data Protection Act, has written to Transport for London (TfL) expressing concerns about the length of time that it will hold information about passengers and how this could be used to track the movements of individuals.
A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner told Government Computing News on 26 September 2003: "They need to make it clear to people, as part of the fare processing element of the Data Protection Act, what personal data will be collected, how long it will be retained for and what use it will be put to."
It is interesting to see that it is not just us who are alarmed at the potential privacy abuses of what should be just an improvement to London's public transport infrastructure.
If you take a look at Transport for London's Data Protection Register entry, you may wonder why exactly do they need to store such a large amount of your Personal Data like:
- Personal Details
- Family, Lifestyle and Social Circumstances
- Education and Training Details
- Racial or Ethnic Origin
- Political Opinions
- Religious or Other Beliefs Of A Similar Nature
- Trade Union Membership
- Physical or Mental Health or Condition
- Sexual Life
What exactly have these extremely sensitive Personal Data categories got to do with travelling on the Tube or on a Bus or paying the Congestion Charge ?
Transport for London are, according to their Data Protection Register entry, apparently willing to hand over or sell this Personal Data to:
- Traders in personal data
- Private Investigators
- The media