Your ORCA card probably contains a lot more publicly accesible information than you think.
Crosscut is out today with a story about the ORCA (One Regional Card for All) card, a pass that allows Seattle area public transit riders to get around town. Information like your 10 most recent trips and five transactions are stored on the card, and there’s even a Seattle-based developer who made an app to view the data.
FareBot allows Android users to simply put their NFC-equipped smartphones next to an ORCA card and within seconds, all that information comes up on the phone. I just tried it out, and it works like a charm.
It certainly raises privacy issues with how the data is used and by whom. While the app only brings up recent trips, ORCA actually has information on every trip taken since the program’s inception in 2009.
There’s also the issue of who exactly can access that information. Crosscut reports that 60 companies who issue ORCA cards to employees have asked Sound Transit, the administrative agency for ORCA, for detailed card use information of their workers.
Read more in the Crosscut piece by Matt Fikse-Verkerk.