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Four privacy-related objections against Public Transport chip cards

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Argumentation courtesy of Stichting Meldpunt Misbruik Identificatieplicht ('Dutch Contact Point on Abuse of Mandatory Identification'):

(1) The application of a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)-chip makes the 'OV-chipkaart' (Public Transport chip card) vulnerable. Information on the card can be read by others at a distance, the card can be copied or manipulated, and the credit that’s on it can easily be stolen.

(2) Storing personal data for much too long affects people's personal freedom. There is absolutely no need for transport companies to continuously register exactly where someone is located, to make video images of every check-in and check-out and to store these data for an undetermined period of time.

(3) Because personalized chip cards are to be accommodated with a scan of the passport photo, cameras located at every public transport turnstile can be programmed in such a way that certain people or certain groups of people can be singled out. Associated law enforcement or commercial applications invade people's privacy. By means of the new system, public transport companies become an extension of police and law enforcement authorities and can earn money by commercially making use of personal information for marketing or advertisement purposes.

(4) Privacy will have to be paid for. Everyone who doesn’t want his travel behavior being documented or his passport being scanned and digitally saved in the administration of the transport company will be excluded by the system from subscription and will be financially disadvantaged in case he/she wants to protect his/her privacy. In this way, public transport companies that have the task to provide proper transport will start earning money from the privacy of their clients.