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Privacy Concerns Over Oyster Data

25 September 2003

BBC News reports today Transport for London's response to privacy concerns expressed by civil rights campaign group Liberty over data collected through the Oyster smartcard ticketing system.

Mark Littlewood, campaign director for Liberty, raises concerns that data could be used for other than its original intended purpose, stressing the importance of users being fully informed of how data is used and having an opt-out.

Speaking in an interview, John Monk, design authority for the Oyster Project, comments that data collected is to "improve the journey planning process", although acknowledges that data could be used by other agencies. He comments: "The fact that the card belongs to a given person is irrelevant, to some degree, until we try to provide customer service for that passenger."

Mr Monk adds: "The information has to be retained to allow tracking across the system, to tie the journeys made on an individual travelcard together....People who don't trust the technology can still come on board, and when they feel comfortable, they can register and get all the extra benefits that will bring."

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