Whenever someone buys an employer-subsidized fare card through one of 2,000 companies or institutions, the employer has the right to see that person’s travel records. A boss could check to see, for example, whether someone is abusing a subsidy by reselling ORCA cards or find out if an employee called in sick but rode the bus to the mall or the beach…
Personal fare-card information is technically available to news media and other groups, as well, though it’s unclear how forthcoming ORCA would be in providing it.
Read the whole thing.
ORCA hasn’t been a particularly well-run project, and I suspect it’s partly because no one is really in charge. So it’s important that the mainstream media shine a spotlight on the issues here.
I’m not really a privacy absolutist, but there some basic policy decisions that could improve things while still maintaining some fraud-prevention features. For instance, ORCA could notify card holders when an outside party requests their records. Deleting records after a time would also be helpful, except as anonymized data for traffic analysis.