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Old March 14th, 2006, 01:09 AM   #1
hkskyline
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London - Oyster Card Identity Theft

Oyster data use rises in crime clampdown
13 March 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Police hunting criminals are increasingly seeking information from electronically stored travel records, such as those created by users of the popular Oyster card in London.

Figures disclosed today show a huge leap in police requests to Transport for London, which operates the Oyster cards used to travel on buses, trains and the underground.

Just seven information requests were made by police in the whole of 2004, compared with 61 requests made in January this year alone.

Overall, police have requested to see journey information 243 times, and been given it 229 times, according to figures obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request, the Press Association reported.

Some civil liberties campaigners are opposed to systems such as Oyster, which is used by more than 5 million people, fearing the growth of a "Big Brother" surveillance society.

Today a Metropolitan police spokeswoman said requests to access Oyster information were a "straightforward investigative tool".

She said officers decided on a "case-by-case" basis whether they needed the information to help them trace an individual's movements.

A TfL spokesman said that with 5 million Oyster card users, 65 requests for information per month was a small proportion.

The spokesman said: "Transport for London complies fully with the Data Protection Act. Information on individual travel is kept for a maximum of eight weeks and is only used for customer service purposes, to check charges for particular journeys or for refund inquiries.

"A very few authorised individuals can access this data and there is no bulk disclosure of personal data to third parties for any commercial purposes. There is no bulk disclosure of personal data to any law enforcement agency. If information is disclosed, it is always done so in accordance with the Data Protection Act after a case-by-case evaluation.

"Police requests must be made under Association of Chief Police Officers guidance."

Introduced in 2003, Oyster cards rely on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology embedded in silicon chips and antennas which transmit information to a receiver, for example in a barrier at a tube station.

When hit by a radio signal, an electrical charge is generated in the card which is enough to transmit information. The technology was first used during the second world war in bugging devices.

Details of where the card has been swiped are kept on a database and could show someone's journey across London's transport network. But authorities could not, for example, locate someone with an Oyster card when it was away from a receiver.

Police use of travel records was highlighted recently in the hunt for those responsible for the death of the City lawyer Tom ap Rhys Pryce in January. The 31-year-old was stabbed to death just yards from his home in Willesden, north-west London, as he walked home from Kensal Green tube station.

The investigation focused on one particular man the day after the killing when he attempted to use the dead man's Oyster card at the same station.

Each card has a unique identification number and users can access details online of their travel over the previous eight weeks. Last month it emerged that people were using the information to track their partners' movements.

Oyster supporters, including London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, argue it is a cheaper and more efficient method of buying tickets.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 12:38 PM   #2
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"Some civil liberties campaigners are opposed to systems such as Oyster, which is used by more than 5 million people, fearing the growth of a "Big Brother" surveillance society"

What are they going to try and stop eye-witness statements next? Pathetic
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Old March 14th, 2006, 12:50 PM   #3
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Not at all, when you add in Biometric ID cards with 49 pieces of information, being recorded by cctv cameras 200 times in a day, supermarket loyalty cards, congestion charge traffic cameras, Biometric passports, rentention of email, text and phone records for up to 2 years and a host of other databases on TV licenses, DVLA... it adds up to an ever increasing surveillence society.

Even the government appointed Information Commissioner has said we are sleep walking into a surveillence society.

When you add all of that up with the restrictions on jury trials, 28 days dentention without charge, restrictions on free speech, they even want to bug MP's phones in the name of anti-terror, and more worringly the government now has the power to introduce and change law without parliamentary approval, it adds up to a government that is deeply authoritarian.

You have to understand the nature of our political system as well, with Parliament being a rubber stamp with the House of Commons dominated by the majority party, with MP's trying to curry favour with the Prime Minister to further their careers, with the use of the whip system to make sure MP's vote the 'right' way, with the far reaching Royal Prerogative powers and the use of the Official Secrets Act our system has no checks and balances in it at all. It gives the Prime Minister huge power and the Prime Minsiter effectively controls everything.

You only have to see that during Harold Wilson's government MI5 thought he was a KGB agent and we were very close to a military coup to realise that we are not as free and democratic as we all think we are.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 01:01 PM   #4
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yes but we are talking about the police using Oyster card data as evidence for criminal proceedings. It is an ideal source, or are we going to sit there and shrug just because no witnesses bother to turn up. Civil Liberties groups are just as bad as EH constantly barking up the wrong tree and boring people in the process, electronic data is inevitable, they should be watching out for real civil liberty abuses.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 02:51 PM   #5
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The government is relying on people thinking that. It doesn't have to be inevitable, for example the US govt isn't introducing biometric passports because of public opinion in the US, equally thats why they have so few CCTV cameras because of public hostility, we are just told its inevitable, and in reality its not. To say its inevitable says we are not masters of our own fate and we as citizens are pointless and worthless. By saying its inevitable you are proving my point that we are powerless and are walking to a surveillence society.

And the Police have an enviable reputation for never abusing their powers do they? Over 22'000 people have been arrested since 2001 under anti-terror laws, including an 80 year old for heckling Jack Straw. Another pensioner was arrested for reading the names of British war dead. Anti-terror laws are used to get around the paperwork for ordinary stop and search rules, and the police used them to stop protesters at an arms fair at ExCel. The Police don't lie about shooting an innocent man at Tube stations and they don't record the phone calls between the Prime Minister and the Police?

What has the Oyster card got to do with witnesses? It got to do with the Police and more worringly MI5 being able to trace our movements using CCTV, ID cards, Oyster cards, mobile phones, and they already log our internet use, text messages, phone calls by using computers at GCHQ. The government wants to allow MI5 to bug MP's phones? What possible reason is for them to do that?

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru, a significant portion of the Labour party, the House of Lords, civil liberty groups, and even the government appointed Information Commissioner all think we have an authoritarian government that is infringing on our liberties.

The civil liberty groups are suggesting that we shouldn't wait until our rights are abused, but that we should protect the ones we have already.

I am always shocked with the willingness and naiveity of people who think our government is benign and i am shocked with the indifference of our population when it comes to increasing government power.

You should read George Orwell's 1984 and you would be shocked with the similarities between the fantasy worlds in the book and modern day britain.

Just because something 'might' help the police doesn't mean it is a good thing to give them that power.

You shouldn't be that naive to think that this is all for our 'own' protection.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 03:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pricemazda
The government is relying on people thinking that. It doesn't have to be inevitable, for example the US govt isn't introducing biometric passports because of public opinion in the US, equally thats why they have so few CCTV cameras because of public hostility, we are just told its inevitable, and in reality its not. To say its inevitable says we are not masters of our own fate and we as citizens are pointless and worthless. By saying its inevitable you are proving my point that we are powerless and are walking to a surveillence society.

And the Police have an enviable reputation for never abusing their powers do they? Over 22'000 people have been arrested since 2001 under anti-terror laws, including an 80 year old for heckling Jack Straw. Another pensioner was arrested for reading the names of British war dead. Anti-terror laws are used to get around the paperwork for ordinary stop and search rules, and the police used them to stop protesters at an arms fair at ExCel. The Police don't lie about shooting an innocent man at Tube stations and they don't record the phone calls between the Prime Minister and the Police?

What has the Oyster card got to do with witnesses? It got to do with the Police and more worringly MI5 being able to trace our movements using CCTV, ID cards, Oyster cards, mobile phones, and they already log our internet use, text messages, phone calls by using computers at GCHQ. The government wants to allow MI5 to bug MP's phones? What possible reason is for them to do that?

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru, a significant portion of the Labour party, the House of Lords, civil liberty groups, and even the government appointed Information Commissioner all think we have an authoritarian government that is infringing on our liberties.

The civil liberty groups are suggesting that we shouldn't wait until our rights are abused, but that we should protect the ones we have already.

I am always shocked with the willingness and naiveity of people who think our government is benign and i am shocked with the indifference of our population when it comes to increasing government power.

You should read George Orwell's 1984 and you would be shocked with the similarities between the fantasy worlds in the book and modern day britain.

Just because something 'might' help the police doesn't mean it is a good thing to give them that power.

You shouldn't be that naive to think that this is all for our 'own' protection.
Which is why I'm planning to leave this country.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 03:38 PM   #7
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it isnt just about people wanting to spy on people, which is the only angle civil liberties groups seem to be able to comprehend, it is about finding out the truth. If there is a crime, you need to find out facts and if oyster cards can clear things up with minimal cost then it should be a welcomed tool. Why arent journalist investigations and everyday detective work considered civil rights abuses?! Its almost as if criminal behaviour is considered a game of cat and mouse where each side is given certain rules of conduct and handicaps, we should just aim to seek the truth plain and simple.

Of course civil rights groups should keep an eye on what and who is looking at what for what reason and there should be clarity in court and government but to bleat on the inevitable rise of advanced tools for things like detective work and forensics is just pointless.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 05:10 PM   #8
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well why don't we put CCTV cameras in the home, it would help police catch purportraters of domestic violence, or teenage parties with under age drinking.

Why don't we get rid of juries altogether, it would certainly help the police with convictions. Why don't we lower the burden of proof, guilty until proven innocent, that would make the police's life easier. My point is, there are very good reasons why we don't allow these things, to prevent abuse. The police have consistantly shown that they abuse the powers that they have got, whether anti-terror arrests, or tube shooters, Birmingham 6, and a host of people who have been aquitted because of police abuse of power.

We all break the law, most of us everyday when we drive. The technology is there for speed cameras to be used to catch people not wearing seatbelts or using their phone while driving.

Liberty takes precendence over police investigations. The police could catch criminals before which proves there isn't a burning need for any new method. Take ID cards, DNA tests are so sensitive now that they can only prove you were present at a crime scene at some point in time (not even on the time of murder), an DNA database wouldn't help in arresting people.

It is about spying on people when taken with the host of other recently introduced measures to 'protect us'. The point of civil liberty groups complaining about these things is because these measures allow the government and MI5 to have access to data on each and everyone of us. The police, crime, benefit fraud, immigration and terrorism are always used to justify what in reality is another power grab by the institutions of the British state.

Wake up and smell the coffee. The problem with these measures is that individually they may seem very sensible and therefore ok, but taken collectively they represent the biggest erosion of our rights in our history.

These are salami tactics, bit by bit our rights are eroded and we are so placid and naive that before we even notice we have fundementally changed the relationship between the citizen and the state. Unless we put a stop to it, in the future their will be more situations which 'require' more powers and more powers...

You should read up on the idea of english liberty, its what our whole system is based on and this government has road roughshed over it.

There is a programme on Thursday on BBC2 about how close we came to a military coup in the 70's because MI5 had decided that Harold Wilson our own Prime Minister was Soviet agent. MI5 keep files on over 100'000 people and want to bug MP's phones.

Never assume that these measures are always for the publically stated use, they often have a dual use and are always abused by the police.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 06:42 PM   #9
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I agree with a whole lot these things (especially free speech) pricemazda, but I don't think this is a civil rights issue really. What civil right would it be infringing? Right to privacy? You're in public. You still have the choice to travel anonymously - without an Oyster Card. You'll simply have to pay a bit more and go through more hassle.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 06:57 PM   #10
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I am not fundementally opposed to this particular measure, but its when you take them collectively that it all worries me.

Whether loyalty cards, RFID tagged products, mobile phones, CCTV, Oyster cards.... it seems everything we do is logged, classified and analysed.
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Old March 14th, 2006, 09:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaac Newell
Which is why I'm planning to leave this country.
And go where? Europe? Which countries dont already have compulsory ID cards there? The States? Well a lot of this biometric passport malark is a result of the states making it harder for people to visit the country without it. China, Hong Kong? Because communism doesnt have a history of infringing on civil liberties or privacy. Why not stay and make protest or write to your MP rather than take the complacent just get up and leave approach?

I am sick to the bones of this government with regard to our privacy and this anti-terror shit (I mean start a war, you should pay the price - not infringe on the rights of your own citizens because it's a more efficient way of doing things). I don't honestly know if the Conservatives are any better. They traditionally have a history of meddling with people who arent heterosexual or middle class - which really isnt in the philosophy of minimal government role in society. Am I the only one who would be happy to see Charles Clarke die of a heart attack? - that arrogant shit makes my blood boil. I sincerely hope the lords defeat the commons again over ID cards, but then just watch labour wip out the parliament act.

As for this oyster thing - by itself, it's really not a big deal when you consider how many journeys are made in a year. TfL vetted police applications and indeed refused some access to information. Yes it's worrying all this data is out there, but companies and organisations keep their own databases for their own use - it's not like government have access to it at will - and we do technically have the choice to refuse our data being kept in some instances. It's not like every single second of CCTV footage is monitored in the most minute details - more like train persons are viewing it and then focusing on things that are out of the ordinary or a threat to others in the vicinity.

...but as for the errosions of personal freedoms for absolutely no beneficial factor (I mean what do ID cards achieve at all?) by government... well, local elections are coming up. Find out your MPs opinion on the matter of ID cards etc if you feel very strongly about it and use it to make your vote.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 12:21 AM   #12
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That technology eventually will trace our every movement is an inevitably and should not be resisted IMO. One of the few things I care about more than freedoms is the advance of technology.

What is important is having strict rules on who, when and why that information is allowed to be accessed and pieced together

Handing over Oyster information to the police investigating specific suspects seems legitimate to me. Trawling through all of it with no crime in mind to look for dodgy behaviour would not IMO.

The data protection act has added red tape to lots of things but was essential and has to be built on as technology advances.

I actually don't think the government are too bad on this surveillance point (yet) and think the US's aversion to CCTV is silly.

The attack on juries, due process and the innocent till proven guilty principle and the eagerness to give more power to the police are different matters and as Ive said many times on this forum they are by a distance the things that I dislike the government most for.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 10:03 AM   #13
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I searched various threads to way back, and this thread seemed the most appropriate to deal with crimes on the London Underground.

http://www.londonnet.co.uk/news/2011...-stations.html

Tube Crime: Card Scammers Fill Their Boots at Unmanned Stations
- 'If you haven't got staff, you are giving a green light to the thieves,' warns Bob Crow
Tuesday, 1st March 2011

TUBE STATION credit card machines are under increasing attack from scammers, police have warned.

The Metropolitan Police's Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit says that over the last six weeks, there has been a sharp rise in the use of sophisticated equipment, known as a 'skimmer', which allows criminals to read PIN numbers.

"We urge tube users to stay on their guard to help prevent themselves being scammed," said Detective Chief Inspector Paul Barnard, head of the DCPCU.

"Officers from our specialist unit are working very closely with Transport for London and British Transport Police to ensure that these fraudsters will not benefit from their criminal activity," said Detective Chief Inspector Paul Barnard, head of the DCPCU.

The fact that the ticket machines, and often the stations, targeted by the skimmer scammers are unmanned lends weight to union fears that having fewer staff on stations will lead to a rise in crime on the Underground.

"The de-staffing of tube stations gives a green light to the criminal gangs and scammers as our members in the ticket halls know how to spot these rackets," said RMT leader Bob Crow.

"We warned that the tube job cuts would turn the underground into a criminals paradise and it's about time Boris Johnson took note and reversed his attack on staffing numbers."

Last week, Crow highlighted the rise in theft from track areas of the Underground, with copper cables a particular favourite of the criminals.

"On London Underground, the reduction in track inspection frequencies comes at high risk: huge costs to the taxpayers and massive disruption to services as the crime gangs seize their opportunity."
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