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Yet more people have fallen foul of the Oyster Card data vomit.

Specialist riot officers have been accused of claiming overtime when their Oyster Card showed they were actually commuting home.”

Huffington Post

While I’m not supporting the fraudulent claiming of overtime, I do suspect that those officers will have worked many more hours, over the course of their careers, than they ever claimed, but regardless several of them do appear to have been skiving off of work.  Shame on them.

What’s more disturbing is the proportionality of accessing that data for what is essentially an employment matter.  I say essentially,  because police constables are not employees and are not covered by much of the legislation that governs employee/employer relationships.  That last sentence not withstanding it does seem to be a heavy handed investigative method when you consider that there exist many other avenues by which the evidence of clocking off late could have been obtained.

And clocking off is what this is about.  Not murder or terrorism.  It’s the same thing as someone who persistently arrives late for work.  Downloading that tardy employees entire travel history just isn’t proportionate.  In fact it’s outright bizarre.

It seems Transport for London are busy collecting every scrap of data on their customers as they can and then happily handing it over to anyone in a uniform on the flimsiest of pretexts.  It gets even more worrying when you consider the breadth of their empire which includes buses, trains and roads.  The amount of data they must be collecting on a daily basis is staggering.

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In light of how much data they collect and share this logo now seems somewhat sinister….

I spent several hours trying to find any record of Transport for London’s policy on data collection and retention, but could find none.  No where on the Oyster card website could I find any mention of how our data is collected and used.  While there are lots of mentions on transparency and a neat api for querying some of their massive data hoard, there is scant mention of how they collect and store our travel records and certainly no warning that every journey you make is logged and stored and available to third parties long after you have travelled.

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