Smarter public transit comes at the cost of rider anonymity

  • Date: 12/01/2023

Security experts were skeptical about the New York MTA’s switch to an OMNY tap-and-go system when it was first announced years ago. Then, in August, a 404 Media investigation revealed riders were right to be concerned. As it turned out, the ability to check trip history could be used by nearly anyone to follow specific riders' location patterns. MTA disabled the feature, but it pointed to a deeper problem that exists across modern public transit systems: they make it harder to opt out of having our sensitive data collected,

“You're building a better system, but you're also really stepping into a dangerous cybersecurity minefield,” said Brendan Saltaformaggio, associate professor specializing in cybersecurity at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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