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Thread: STM Phasing In Smart Cards for 2008

  1. #1

    Thumbs down STM Phasing In Smart Cards for 2008

    http://www.stm.info/English/info/smartcard2008-QA.htm

    You buy a Smart Card (actually a credit-card sized RFID transmitter), fill it with value at metro station vending machines (using cash or credit cards), and then wave it in front of a RFID reader at the subway turnstile or bus fare box.

    It looks like the Montreal Metro will be getting this system in 2008. You have probably already seen the new turnstiles at station entrances.

    Too many benefits, including:

    a) getting rid of those paper weekly passes which are too fragile, imho
    b) allowing credit card use to pay for metro fares
    c) all the other benefits such as convenience, security, and reliability

    If you want to see a preview of how such a system would work, go to Washington, DC and use the DC metro, which has had a very similar system for the past few years.

  2. #2
    I'll wait to see them in action before passing judgment. Since the passes will not be linked to a person, then I'm not too worried, but in general I can't say I'm fond of RFID. I'll spare you the diatribe about surveillance, privacy, human rights, freedom, etc.
    Amantes sunt amentes.

  3. #3
    All this money spent on the new system that could have been used to just have more metros and buses on the line so we don't wait forever between them. How much you want to bet which of the two choices would be the priority for most people who use the montreal transit system!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mack
    All this money spent on the new system that could have been used to just have more metros and buses on the line so we don't wait forever between them. How much you want to bet which of the two choices would be the priority for most people who use the montreal transit system!
    Yes the cards might be smart but the boneheads who run the system certainly are not.

  5. #5
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    Agrippa, these devices are active at VERY CLOSE proximity only, maximum of about 1 foot for very sensitives (and expensives) detectors. Most work at maximum 2-3 inches. Risks for their usage in surveillance and other privacy issues are minimal, if not inexistant since basically, in order to detect where you are with that card, the detector needs to be extremely close to you and, in a crowd, a human would need to get so close to you to get the detector to "see" you, the detector becomes useless since the human is already there. As far as tracking where you take the subway/bus, no big deal, a human can do the same! Even then, the card is less risky because the card doesn't know where you get out of the transit system!

  6. #6

    Welcome to the machine

    Quote Originally Posted by metoo4
    Agrippa, these devices are active at VERY CLOSE proximity only, maximum of about 1 foot for very sensitives (and expensives) detectors. Most work at maximum 2-3 inches.
    The STM ones in particular yes; I assume they are passive, and won't panic about them. The active RFID have a much broader range (500m according to wiki). Those are the ones I'm worried about.
    Last edited by Agrippa; 02-06-2008 at 08:41 PM.
    Amantes sunt amentes.

  7. #7
    If you buy your smart card with your credit or debit card, it can be linked
    to you, and they can know where you have traveled, proximity or not.

  8. #8
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    BlackJack69, please explain?

    The RIFD card doesn't hold ANY information, only a code. Same as magnetic cards used in hotels, it doesn't contain any credit card information. The only thing somebody could know is you pre-paid your transit movements with your credit card, not where you've been with the RFID card.

    Agrippa, the active RFID tags are radio transmitters: as you said, different animals. But then why bother using such device to track somebody when a cell phone broadcast a traceable signal who can be picked-up by more than a a simple cell tower? A portable receiver designed for detecting cell activity can trace a cell phone even if there's no cell towers present and most everybody now own a cell phone, making them traceable. Even more, lots of cell phone have a build-in GPS who transmit the phone's position over the cell network, requiring only a little attention by somebody who want to listen to that signal...
    Last edited by metoo4; 02-05-2008 at 10:02 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by metoo4
    The RIFD card doesn't hold ANY information, only a code.
    Same as magnetic cards used in hotels, it doesn't contain any credit card
    information. The only thing somebody could know is you pre-paid your transit
    movements with your credit card, not where you've been with the RFID card.
    That code is thus linked to your credit card, and to you.
    Then, every time you go through a gate or get on a bus, you can be tracked.
    For example, I usually go from point A to B in the morning, and B to A in the
    evening, except for the times I stop by point C, which is on a different bus line,
    when I visit a lovely lady. With my transit information,
    someone could know my frequency.

  10. #10
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    BlackJack, no need for a card or any kind of tracking device to get that info. All that's required is to look at you going in-out of the subway/bus.

    Are you carrying a cell phone? Now that's easy tracking! You will likely not turn your cell off. Or if you indeed turn it off, that's traceable too! Why did you turn it off?

    Cell phone tracking is even more reliable than RFID tags since you could elect to pay cash when you board the subway/bus from your "point C", making you invisible to the system. Remember, you only swipe going in, not going out!

    Point is, nothing stops you from using cash ot ticket for your "illicit" transit if you're worried being tracked.

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