Record levels of police Oyster card data requests worrying, says Green Party

BUS, rail and tube travellers in the capital are more likely to have their personal data scrutinised by the Met Police than ever before, the Green Party has said.

The Greens say that figures they have obtained show that police requests for passenger data held by Transport for London have reached record levels this year.

In the 10 months to October 2010 police have already made 6,576 requests for such information, surpassing the previous record for an entire calendar year of 6,074 in 2008.

Around one in eight police requests have been refused by TfL so far this year.

Noel Lynch, the chairman of London Green Party, said: “The vast majority of these requests are for Oyster card data.

“While this information may have a role to play as an investigative tool in certain circumstances it is vital that there are rigorous safeguards to protect people’s privacy. This is increasingly important as police turn to this data in a record number of cases.

“It is reassuring to know that TfL only process requests from the police that are lawful and in accordance with the Data Protection Act, but there is clearly a risk that TfL could be overwhelmed with requests or otherwise pressured into handing over personal data without sufficient checks. It is concerning that TfL already have to reject about 1 in 8 police requests for this information.”