Quite calm today: TfL says continue
TRANSPORT FOR LONDON (TfL) announced that it plans to start using personal phone tube data to improve service since July this year.
TfL will do so by tracking MAC addresses – a unique identifier on every WiFi-connected device – to get an idea of where people are at that time. This could be used to inform people about busy times at stations and can even be used to improve the flow of passengers at individual stations.
Nothing so far as to whether it will be used to put people who do not take backpacks on crowded cars back to death but hope.
Data collection will begin on Monday, July 8, and will initially serve to alert passengers of delays and overcrowding. In the long run, passengers can even be provided with information on how another train will be occupied, allowing them to decide whether to stay.
Third-party applications that connect to TfL data will benefit from it – in other words, Google Maps may seem a little smarter when they know when to place a bus instead.
TfL will be able to use this data to find out which parts of the network are facing an influx of grumpy passengers. Or rather, which pieces are most affected by the influx of grumpy passengers. This will help operators to prioritize infrastructure investments to theoretically make the customers a little less grumpy.
And there is the possibility of advertising. It is not targeted – or at least it is not how TfL creates it – but can show advertisers where they would get the most for their dollar.
"The ability to reliably prove this should improve commercial revenue, which can then be reinvested back into the transport network," the press release said.
While TfL has clearly stated that all this data will not be shared with anyone and will be depersonalized, there is no way to unsubscribe. Since data is tracked through a MAC address, the only way to stop tracking is to turn off WiFi or enable airport mode.
But then you would lose access to the fun game in which you are trying to log in and view your WhatsApp messages between stops. Nobody wants it. µ