Thursday, October 09, 2003

Raw Oyster

Just ordered online my "oystercard" to get me around London's tubes without the need for a scrawny cardboard ticket. One of the mandatory fields in the registration process is your photocard number ... why is that I wonder? I don't think TFL have digitised mine and doubtless the photo is somewhere in the station where I orginally got the card (in 1989 - same photo, same me, worse clothes). More worryingly, it doesn't matter what number you enter there? How do I know? Because I made one up to see what it did, and it carried on fine. So why ask for it? Still, happy to have a card although I'm sure I'll miss looking at the cardboard one and seeing when it expires. Sometimes there's no substitute for simplicity. Now I'll have to check my email for a reminder that TFL send me to say it needs renewing. The real killer is what else can I do with one, once I've got it? Could I use it as my chip and pin card for purchases? Could pay as you go mobile users use it as a top up card? Could it be the ID card that so many people are expecting to loom large soon? Could it be my library card? Could it be my online government token? Enormous potential ... would you want TFL knowing all that stuff though and what assurances would you want that they didn't really know and that even if they did, they wouldn't misuse it?

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