ORCA card raises privacy issues

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by TIM ROBINSON / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on December 18, 2009 at 9:10 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 18 at 9:13 AM

SEATTLE - Using an ORCA card might mean your employer could get some information about you, according to a report by The Seattle Times.

ORCA, which stands for One Regional Card for All, is used on light rail and virtually all other modes of public transportation in the Puget Sound region. The Times report raises questions over privacy of employees whose employers have helped them buy ORCA cards.

When you scan that card, digital information is stored. What might be eye opening is that your employer may be able to access that information.

An employer may have a program to help you pay for an ORCA card, a subsidy. That means, in effect, that the employer is the owner of the card and can then possibly get specific information tied to a specific card.

The public agency that issues the cards, Sound Transit, they don't pry into riders' personal information. But a quick look at the Orca card privacy statement - a very long statement - the fine print does talk about the agency possibly providing private info to employers.

Whether or not you believe this is a personal information infringement or not, paper transfers for transit will be eliminated by all transit agencies on January 1, so the ORCA card is probably the best way to go.
 

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