Today, travelling within many cities around the world comes at a cost: privacy.
Electronic ticketing systems are proliferating, but it’s not clear how much information they collect or what they do with it. Privacy International has written to 48 transport authorities and companies operating transport services across the world requesting this data.
The kinds of personal information held about users of London’s Oyster card (which is used to travel by tube, train and bus) include full name, address, telephone number, email address and password, as well as the encrypted bank details of customers who purchase Oyster products using a debit or credit card. The Oyster ticketing system also records the location, date and time whenever an Oyster card is used to validate a journey. Transport for London (TfL) are currently making changes that will see Oyster retain customers’ names and contact details for two years after a customer last uses their card or buys an Oyster product. Details of debit or credit cards used to buy Oyster products are retained for a maximum of 18 months.