The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Washington Metro cards collect data on riders, track trips 

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is being critical of the information that is collected by Washington DC transit authorities by means of a new SmarTrip card:

Cards let Metro collect data on riders, track trips - The Washington Times: Metropolitan - May 17, 2005:

"... According to documents obtained by EPIC through the Freedom of Information Act, the SmarTrip card can record a Metro passenger's time of arrival in the Metro system, the passenger's destination and the amount of time the passenger spends traveling from point to point.

It even records the gate through which a passenger leaves the station.

But transit officials say they have addressed the privacy issues with a policy expected to be passed by the Metro board at its monthly meeting Thursday.

According to the new policy, personal SmarTrip information may be released by Metro only in what are called 'limited instances' - the request must be made by the registered user of the SmarTrip card, there must be a court order, or the request must come from law enforcement when the information is required in the course of an investigation in which time is of the essence.

'Basically, it means nobody can get an individual's SmarTrip data,' said Lisa Farbstein, a Metro spokeswoman. 'The policy is being established as a way to regulate and safeguard individual data.'..."

Hmm. Doesn't really mean "nobody" can get an individual's data. And having a policy does not necessarily mean the info is protected.

Usually, the first rule of privacy is to only collect the information that is reasonably necessary for the service to be provided. The article does not say why having that sort of detail is reasonably necessary in the first place.


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