Thursday, December 29, 2005

Automated fare system upsets some in Boston

The ACLU is getting a bit hot and bothered about a new fare system about to be implemented by the Boston area transportation authority. Tokens are being phased out and replaced by debit-type fare cards. Riders can purchase a pre-loaded fare card that is discarded when used up, but others can opt for a reloadable pass that is connected to their bank account. The system will track where and when the cards are used (a sensible auditing function). The ACLU is concerned that riders who opt for this choice will be sacrificing privacy for convenience since their records will be available if the transit authority is served with a subpoena or a search warrant. It seems a little overblown, as long as consumers know they have the choice of an anonymous option and make the decision knowingly. See: T defends automated fare system against privacy concerns - The Boston Globe.

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