Friday, May 19, 2006

Why does the TTC want my driver's licence number?

As the Tory transit tax credit draws near, I'm looking into getting a metropass. So I took one of the application forms from the subway car and read it en route to my stop. In addition to a (marked voluntary) section on my existing commuting habits and whether I have a car, there's a section which is not marked voluntary asking for my driver's licence number and my date of birth.

Now, this form is used for student and senior passes so in theory it could be linked to that but you can order multiple passes with one form so that's a no. The idea of a transit authority looking for a licence they are in theory supposed to replace at least in part bugged me so I decided to read the accompanying fine print.

The metropass is paid for with pre-authorised payment with penalties of $25 for having insufficient funds. However it seems the TTC also conducts credit checks:
12... (continues) The customer hereby consents to the TTC conducting credit checks and other financial verification directly and indirectly without further notice to the customer, as it deems fit.
This bugged me a bit but if the payment is after the pass is sent I guess I could see the point. This bit bugged me a lot more:
13. The customer consents to the use and disclosure to third parties by the TTC of information relating to his or her name, phone number, address and TTC metropass serial number for the purposes of verification that the customer is a Metropass Discount Plan holder and for the purpose of the customer being provided with third party value added product information and for the purpose of research for the product evaluation and improvements.
Excuse me? Where's the box I tick where I don't want the TTC having me participate in any business with third parties or have survey companies calling me? Not here. I'm not a tin foil hat privacy nut but I'm disappointed by this - not enough to give up my tax break, yet, but if I'm bombarded by third party crap I'm going to be very annoyed. If the TTC actually did call regarding improvements to metropass I wouldn't actually mind talking to them but I want the right to opt out if I want to and I don't seem to have an option to.

As for the driver's licence number, this seems to be the equivalent in Ontario of the much abused Social Security number in the U.S. Perhaps there's a need for a separate identification system for commercial transactions but I think government ID numbers of this kind should not be in corporate databases.
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