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TFL admits it may use WiFi to track passenger movements in 'real-time'

Hina Pandya photo
Hina PandyaLondon, UK
TFL admits it may use WiFi to track passenger movements in 'real-time'
Your personal movements could be being tracked in 'real-time' on the TFL network, it may actually pick up exactly where you are when you're there. Not great if you value privacy one of the pinnacles of democracy.

In November last year, here on we warned you about the TFL programme saying that they were collecting WiFI/MAC data from mobile phones to monitor your journey, and movements around the Tube network.

What is MAC data? Click here.

TFL insisted they were not tracking browsing data and only using the MAC data, but now the Evening Standard have reported that they could also use the data gathered to sell advertising ‘with prices dependent on the length of time travellers spend on platforms.’

One of the other aims in collecting data was to reduce overcrowding, learning from the 54 stations monitored, there are 18 different routes between Kings Cross St Pancras and Waterloo, and that "40% of customers are not using one of the two fastest routes".

TFL has finally admitted exactly what we here at, warned about that their systems could be used to track passenger movements in real time- exactly what MAC data allows, infringing privacy, which campaigners are concerned about.

Let me guess, 'you've nothing to hide' you're not worried.

If you're one of the masses who keep thinking you've nothing to hide, have a think about it, you might be OK with your family, or maybe your friends tracking where you are from their mobile, but are you happy for TFL to do it and use that to make money and always know where you are, when you are there. You probably wouldn't want your boss to do it, or even your friends, why are you OK with the Tube doing it?

Its critical the public are fully aware of what's being done and how to opt out.

Big Brother Watch said ‘Analysing movements of people via their device may provide unique analytical benefits but is still a process of tracking and monitoring as the go about their daily business.” He also said it was critical that the public are fully aware of what’s being done ‘when, how and why’ and can opt out.

It seems to me their simple poster describing collection of WiFi in 5 lines on the Tube is insufficient.

The poster 'detailing' what privacy they would infringe.

The Deputy Mayor of Transport, Val Shawcross, however seems oblivious to the infringement of people’s privacy and is instead ‘delighted’ that the trial has been a success, and ‘determined’ to ‘keep using the latest technology’.

Being a born and bred Londoner, let me help.

Kings Cross St Pancras to Waterloo: Metropolitan line to Baker Street- Jubilee to Waterloo, or Northern Line and change branch at Euston, to Waterloo.

Now there's no more need to faff, and no more need for TFL to keep collecting data.

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