Security and Safety

Metrolinx sharing smart card data without warrant despite concerns

Posted on February 8, 2019

Rights groups feel it is important that a public transit system doesn’t become a system of “mass surveillance.”
Metrolinx
Rights groups feel it is important that a public transit system doesn’t become a system of “mass surveillance.”
Metrolinx

TORONTO — The Star reports that law enforcement officers are increasingly seeking access to personal information stored on transit riders’ smart cards, with requests for the data spiking by 47% in 2018 compared to the year before.

While Metrolinx, the agency that controls the Presto smart card, only obliged to a minority of the requests, in 22 instances related to law enforcement investigations or suspected offenses the agency divulged card users’ information without requiring a warrant or court order — a practice that has troubled rights groups since it was first exposed by The Star two years ago.

The rights groups feel it is important that a public transit system doesn’t become a system of “mass surveillance.” Meanwhile, a Metrolinx official said in a statement to The Star that the agency “appropriately balances the commitment to protecting the privacy of Presto card users and maintaining the safety and security of the transit system and its passengers.” For the full story, click here.

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