The civil rights organisation, Liberty, has raised concerns about privacy implications of Transport for London’s Oyster smart card scheme. The cards allow journeys and season-tickets to be paid for in advance and can be easily swiped over ticket-gates without being put into the machine. However, they also have an individual ID number and record the contact details of the owner and all of the journeys he or she has made. Although London Transport has said that the information about journeys made will be stored for planning purposes only, Liberty remains unconvinced, fearing the onslaught of “function creep.” According to its campaigns director, Mark Littlewood: “All too often we have seen data collected for one apparent purpose, only for it to end up being used for something entirely different.” In fact, John Monk, of the Oyster Project has admitted that the information could be used as evidence in criminal trials.

The IPKat will keep a watching brief on this story. If the information genuinely is only used anonymously for planning purposes, its collection and retention is unobjectionable. There may be more serious concerns it is used for other purposes but in that case there will be Data Protection Act implications.

Invade an oyster’s privacy here or here
Grow your own oysters here
Have fun eating oysters here

A WORD IN YOUR SHELL-LIKE <strong>A WORD IN YOUR SHELL-LIKE</strong> Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, September 29, 2003 Rating: 5

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