Concerns regarding the use of concessionary Oyster cards in the London area

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CrispyUK

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One also has to assume that the pensioner in question also objects to ever using a mobile phone, the internet, a bank card or ATM etc... :rolleyes:
And that they switch between a variety of disguises whilst travelling around London to prevent their movements being pieced together from CCTV footage (admittedly a bit more work than pulling up a journey history but if they’re a person of interest...)
 
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Djgr

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There's no 'right' to concessionary travel though, so people can choose to exercise their rights to privacy by either paying for travel on an unregistered card, or not travelling at all. If they want to take advantage of the free travel arrangement, then using a (potentially) trackable Oyster card is hardly a massive trade off, IMHO.

FYI, to clarify the tin-foil-hat reference someone else made earlier, you might find this article useful :)
Who on earth decides what is a right? If a society decides that it is a right then it's a right.
 

RitishBrail

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Who on earth decides what is a right? If a society decides that it is a right then it's a right.
That's not quite how it works. A right is something which is protected by law. We have a right to privacy in the UK because it is stipulated in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is (currently) incorporated into UK law by virtue of the 1998 Human Rights Act.

There's no provision in either the Human Rights Act or the ECHR (or any other British legislation) for 'a right to concessionary travel for pensioners', so it's not a "right" by law.
 
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AlbertBeale

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One also has to assume that the pensioner in question also objects to ever using a mobile phone, the internet, a bank card or ATM etc... :rolleyes:
The idea of such a pensioner not using a mobile phone, and - when using the internet - keeping well away from the likes of Google and Facebook, etc, is not at all far-fetched! Seems quite sensible to me... I know someone who that applies to, and who doesn't use ATMs.
 

AlbertBeale

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Perhaps English ones, but not Welsh, Scottish or Irish.
And I really do not understand this dislike of being tracked.

No one is treating anyone like a criminal!
But if their treatment - ie having their movements tracked if they want to go anywhere beyond walking distance of their home - is similar to that of a criminal who has to sear a tracking device, then it's not unreasonable for them to feel as though they're being treated (in that respect) in a way similar to the way some criminals are treated.

You might think there's nothing wrong with people's movements being tracked, but I don't think the analogy is unreasonable.
 

AlbertBeale

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That's not quite how it works. A right is something which is protected by law. We have a right to privacy in the UK because it is stipulated in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is (currently) incorporated into UK law by virtue of the 1998 Human Rights Act.

There's no provision in either the Human Rights Act or the ECHR (or any other British legislation) for 'a right to concessionary travel for pensioners', so it's not a "right" by law.
It's not an explicit right in the ECHR or domestic HRA sense - that's true of course; but it is a right accepted by local authorities all over the UK; and in the situation I'm referring to it's a right being granted only on condition you forgo another more general right (privacy).
 

MarlowDonkey

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The idea of such a pensioner not using a mobile phone, and - when using the internet - keeping well away from the likes of Google and Facebook, etc, is not at all far-fetched!
That gang of veterans who were accused of a jewellery raid. Weren't their movements traced as part of the prosecution because they used their concessionary cards to travel? Arguably anyone with criminal intent should take the precaution of travelling on anonymous Oyster cards.
 

AlbertBeale

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Who on earth decides what is a right? If a society decides that it is a right then it's a right.
Sometimes rights spring from an assertion based on an individual's conscience. To give an example - if I am a conscientious objector to ever taking up arms and killing someone, and live somewhere where there is military conscription, and I refuse to co-operate with the conscription system, I might consider my right to refuse is a fundamental aspect of my conscientious belief. But I might live in a society which does not - at that stage - accept the right to be a CO. I'm not then going to say, "OK - the view of the government, or the view of a majority, overrides my conscience and I'll no longer claim that right". I would suggest that what is or isn't "a right" isn't as simple as "what society decides" - though it's certainly the case that how easy it is to exercise a particular right can depend on the surrounding society. (COs have been imprisoned, and sometimes executed, for their assertion of their right to refuse to kill; indeed there are many countries in the world today with imprisoned COs.)
 
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Unfortunately, a number of Freedom Passes are used by people who are not entitled to them (ie.they are lent by or stolen from their owners) and, although TfL inspections are extremely rare, they continue to find passes being misused in this way. Doubtless it is only a tiny minority of freedom pass holders that permit their use by others, but data on usage of these cards helps build evidence for convictions, where TfL decides to prosecute. Given that they are nearly equivalent to an all-zones annual pass, they are valuable so the temptation is there.
 

Llanigraham

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But if their treatment - ie having their movements tracked if they want to go anywhere beyond walking distance of their home - is similar to that of a criminal who has to sear a tracking device, then it's not unreasonable for them to feel as though they're being treated (in that respect) in a way similar to the way some criminals are treated.

You might think there's nothing wrong with people's movements being tracked, but I don't think the analogy is unreasonable.
Quite frankly your "arguments" are becoming more preposterous.
I presume this imaginary pensioner gets their pension at the Post Office in cash, therefore they are tracked there.
Even in my little town they will be tracked in a couple of shops, even using cash. I presume they never drive, since they will be tracked if they do.
And if they use their WELSH bus pass they will be tracked.t
If they are so concerned about "tracking" then tough, they will have to put up with paying more.
 

matt_world2004

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That gang of veterans who were accused of a jewellery raid. Weren't their movements traced as part of the prosecution because they used their concessionary cards to travel? Arguably anyone with criminal intent should take the precaution of travelling on anonymous Oyster cards.
You get loads of people accused of committing crimes whose movements are tracked by non concessionary oyster, establish a travel pattern using the non registered oyster card and you can get the police to meet them at a station even if you don't know their identity
 

Bletchleyite

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The idea of such a pensioner not using a mobile phone, and - when using the internet - keeping well away from the likes of Google and Facebook, etc, is not at all far-fetched! Seems quite sensible to me... I know someone who that applies to, and who doesn't use ATMs.
If you make a choice like that you are choosing to shut yourself out of society. Your choice. If you make that choice, obtain an unregistered Oyster card and pay for your travel.

Doesn't use ATMs? Seriously? How does he get the cash to buy his tinfoil hat from the nearby shop? :D
 

matt_world2004

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Metropolitan police requests TfL's data 22,000 times over four years
This article is more than 7 years old
Number of requests to Transport for London for passengers' Oyster card data and other personal information up 15% since 2008


The Metropolitan police has requested Oyster card data relating to citizens and other personal information from Transport for London (TfL) more than 22,000 times since 2008, according to figures published by the capital's transport authority.

The force requested personal data TfL holds relating to citizens 5,295 times in 2008; 5,359 in 2009; 5,046 in 2010; and 6,258 in 2011, according to a response to a freedom of information request from Guardian Government Computing. The figures also show that the force has made 264 requests for such information this year so far.

TfL said that it could not provide a breakdown of the number of requests made by the Metropolitan police just for passengers' Oyster card data alone, but a spokesman for London's police force told Guardian Government Computing that the majority of requests were likely to be related to Oyster information. Other than Oyster data, personal information requested would include CCTV images and details of TfL staff, he said.

The transport authority said that it receives "many requests" for information pertaining to different crime types. Examples over the last four years include requests for Oyster data to assist with the police's investigations into offences such as theft, robbery, missing persons and sexual offences.

More than 40m Oyster cards have been issued since they were launched in 2003, with in excess of 3bn journeys on TfL's network made each year using the cards. The transport authority stores data for two months after a journey has been made with an Oyster card.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said that it was important that electronic methods of payment and identification do not no become "a massive surveillance exercise".

"The escalating use of this data by law enforcement agencies highlights the risk that these databases are increasingly being used by authorities instead of tried and tested methods," he said.

TfL is overhauling its ticketing system and is set to accept contactless payments on selected networks later this year. It has said that it would like to move away from travel information being stored on individual cards to a system where most travel data is stored in TfL's back office.
This is normal oyster cards, you are not being discriminated against because you have a freedom pass.
 
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CrispyUK

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Doesn't use ATMs? Seriously? How does he get the cash to buy his tinfoil hat from the nearby shop? :D
Using counter service at their local/trusted bank branch or Post Office, rather than a machine they’re not familiar/savvy enough with to know if it’s been tampered/modified and they’re worried about having their life’s savings drained by fraudsters. In an environment where they feel a bit safer and less likely to be mugged for their weekly pension money.
 

Clip

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If you're someone in London who wants to claim concessionary travel, you're only allowed to have it if you use a method of "payment" - ie an electronic Oyster card linked to you - which tracks your movements (information which, as a condition of having the concession, you have to allow TfL to collect, hold, and share with others). This has been described by an elderly and poor person (ie someone needing the concession in order to be able to use public transport) as feeling like, "If you're an old, poor Londoner, you need to wear an electronic bracelet - like a criminal - as a condition of being allowed out of your home." I don't think that's much of an exaggeration,
I have such a pass given to me by TfL through my partner who works for them and i have no issues about them tracking me - hell i have the extra stage further of being stopped every so often being stopped to present my card + photo to them - this is far worse than what an oldiewonk has to do and i feel no way about it as i get something free in exchange for having to show it once in a while. Bonus to me

Its not really any different to those who have to pay with oyster/contactless which is registered so why would an elderly person feel like a criminal ?
 

TrafficEng

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You can't get an unregistered concessionary card - that's the point I was making. People able to pay can go unregistered; old folks needing a free pass can't.
The Freedom Pass offers a far greater benefit to the holder than national bus passes. It costs a huge amount of money to run, and not all holders could be described as "old folks" who couldn't otherwise afford public transport. There is no means testing in the provision.

Those that pay for the concession want to know how much they are being used, where they are being used, what mode(s) of travel are involved and less obviously, when cards are never used. That data is gathered and analysed in anonymous form.

The pass is very valuable, so loss or theft is an issue. The issuers need to be able to identify and cancel passes which are no longer in the possession of the holder, especially if the holder is asking for a replacement. That would be impossible unless the pass is registered.

But against this, personal data is only meant to be collected if there's a reason to do so. And off the top of my head, I can't see why TfL would need to know what journeys a given pass holder had made. I can see that there is a need at issue to identify that the holder is entitled to a pass, but nothing beyond that. As I understand it, the pass is funded on a cross-London basis, so there's no need to produce a bill for each London Borough to pay for their residents' travel. And if the aim is to prevent use by someone other than the card holder then surely it's better to catch the abuser in possession of the card rather than showing that the authorised holder does not have it.
Eligibility for travel and the funding model is complicated. One pass includes statutory concessions that the boroughs fund, discretionary concessions that TfL and the boroughs fund and pass validity and who the payments go to depend on mode and operator.

Historically the costs were apportioned by London Councils agreeing a payment to London Transport/Transport for London, one to non-TfL bus operators, and one to the relevant organisation representing the national rail system. The amounts agreed were based on educated guesswork, including surveys of passholders to estimate individual levels of use.

The cost to boroughs of providing the Freedom Pass is huge - £343 million in 2019/20. Historically this cost was apportioned between them based on the total number of passes issued to residents of each borough - which not surprisingly caused conflict as it assumed all residents were making equal use of all elements of the public transport system.

Oysterisation (including registration) not only allowed per-mode costs to be calculated, it also allowed the usage of each mode by a particular borough's residents to be calculated.

The boroughs are in fact sent a bill for their resident's travel, albeit not directly charged. The boroughs have agreed a methodology for apportioning costs and each December a meeting of London Councils agrees the amount each borough will be billed. Appendix 1 on this link https://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/node/34832 shows the 'bill' for each borough for 2019/20. Notice, for example, that the costs of the Tramlink concession mainly fall on Croydon borough. Similarly the boroughs north of the river typically pay more for LUL services than those to the south.

Without registration of Freedom Passes that track individual use then this kind of analysis would be impossible. And I believe that if this fairer system of apportionment hadn't been introduced then the Freedom Pass scheme as it currently is would not exist.
 

TrafficEng

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But if their treatment - ie having their movements tracked if they want to go anywhere beyond walking distance of their home - is similar to that of a criminal who has to sear a tracking device, then it's not unreasonable for them to feel as though they're being treated (in that respect) in a way similar to the way some criminals are treated.

You might think there's nothing wrong with people's movements being tracked, but I don't think the analogy is unreasonable.
Out of interest, would you also argue that motorists should not be required to attach an unobscured tracking device (a number plate) to their vehicle which serves to assist the authorities in tracking their vehicle to determine whether or not the law is being broken (e.g. speeding) or contravened (e.g. bus lanes)? Are they not being treated as (potential) criminals being forced to 'wear' a visible identification mark?

[/DevilsAdvocate]
 

sprunt

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It's not an explicit right in the ECHR or domestic HRA sense - that's true of course; but it is a right accepted by local authorities all over the UK; and in the situation I'm referring to it's a right being granted only on condition you forgo another more general right (privacy).
It's a concession. That's why it's being described here as a conceessionary pass. Concessions aren't rights, and can have conditions attached.
 

DaveB10780

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It's a concession. That's why it's being described here as a conceessionary pass. Concessions aren't rights, and can have conditions attached.
What a laugh people moaning about given free travel over a vast area and getting bigger all the time. Some of us just get buses after 0930.
 

Llanigraham

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Over the counter with a book - Still a lot of old folk who use this method.
There are no Pension Books any more. They were made obselete in 2005, and all pensions are now either paid direct into a Bank/Building Society account or into a Post Office Card account.
 

TrafficEng

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There are no Pension Books any more. They were made obselete in 2005, and all pensions are now either paid direct into a Bank/Building Society account or into a Post Office Card account.
I assumed Clip meant people can withdraw cash over the counter (of a bank) using a (cheque) book, rather than obtaining money from a post Office with a pension book.

I don't think I've ever written a cheque for cash, but I remember it being quite common and I assume it is still possible, even if the bank staff are told to persuade customers to use the ATM instead.
 

AlbertBeale

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I assumed Clip meant people can withdraw cash over the counter (of a bank) using a (cheque) book, rather than obtaining money from a post Office with a pension book.

I don't think I've ever written a cheque for cash, but I remember it being quite common and I assume it is still possible, even if the bank staff are told to persuade customers to use the ATM instead.
Yes of course it's still possible. Your signature validates the cheque - and more reliably, in some ways, than a 4-digit number. (My signature, for instance, is probably difficult to imitate!) I don't suppose, if you go into your own branch of your own bank, they would have any grounds to refuse to cash a cheque (if there's sufficient money in your account).
 

AlbertBeale

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Out of interest, would you also argue that motorists should not be required to attach an unobscured tracking device (a number plate) to their vehicle which serves to assist the authorities in tracking their vehicle to determine whether or not the law is being broken (e.g. speeding) or contravened (e.g. bus lanes)? Are they not being treated as (potential) criminals being forced to 'wear' a visible identification mark?

[/DevilsAdvocate]
If this is a serious question, then no, of course not. Being allowed by society to take charge of a large and potentially lethal piece of machinery in a public space self-evidently (I would say) requires the ability to make checks on how that person uses that equipment. An individual citizen peacefully going about their private business, on foot, or cycling, or by using public transport, shouldn't be routinely monitored, which is what's happening with Oyster cards linked to the particular user.
 

Fawkes Cat

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An individual citizen peacefully going about their private business, on foot, or cycling, or by using public transport, shouldn't be routinely monitored, which is what's happening with Oyster cards linked to the particular user.
A bit of precision is probably appropriate here. I will accept that collecting this data allows the possibility of monitoring someone's movements, but I have not yet seen anything that suggests that their movements are being monitored - at all, let alone routinely.
 

krus_aragon

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Apparently there is so much data that it is unusable in any meaningful way.
That's one of the main arguments Tesco had against the idea of a Clubcard in the 1990s, until a private company showed them that they could just process 10% of the data and still gain useful insights into general customer shopping patterns.

And the complexity of tracking and analysing one arbitrary customer/passenger (if someone decided to do so) is trivial in comparison.
 

Clip

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There are no Pension Books any more. They were made obselete in 2005, and all pensions are now either paid direct into a Bank/Building Society account or into a Post Office Card account.
Who mentioned pensions? I do believe some of the building societys offer passbook accounts
 

AlbertBeale

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A bit of precision is probably appropriate here. I will accept that collecting this data allows the possibility of monitoring someone's movements, but I have not yet seen anything that suggests that their movements are being monitored - at all, let alone routinely.
Depends on definition of "monitoring" - it's routinely collected (isn't that monitoring?). It's of course not always made use of on an individual basis. But see https://www.theguardian.com/governm...b/09/met-police-oyster-card-data-requests-tfl as referenced above.
 
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