This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: “People right to be wary of TransLink’s privacy promises “
This week’s topic: Is the ability to track your movements through the Compass Card an invasion of privacy?
In an age when increasingly invasive technology is exposing people’s personal information, it’s no surprise that privacy issues are getting so much attention. However, in the race by service providers to provide the latest innovations, I think we are overlooking the bigger picture of privacy and data collection.
TransLink has recently faced questions about its involvement in a traffic-flow map project that provides real-time data from cell phone signals — using GPS technology — to provide information to drivers.
By law, TransLink should have commissioned a privacy-impact assessment for the project, but chose not to after determining the data they collected was anonymous.
Enter the new Compass Card. TransLink expects the public to take their word it when assuring commuters the information stored by the new card is secure as well.
TransLink states that none of your information is stored on the regular cards — it’s held in a secure data format elsewhere. Loading a Compass Card with cash and not registering it will maintain your anonymity. However, if you use debit or credit card to load it, and/or register that card for balance protection as well, your personal information is now linked to that card.
At that point, your movements could be tracked as you tap in and out of the system — and could be open to requests by law enforcement…
READ the rest of this weeks column and vote for this weeks winner here: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/08/25/people-right-to-be-wary-of-translinks-privacy-promises
*** You can find additional information on the privacy issues Australia has encountered, along with other Translink info, at the following links