Opal is Unsafe

On the 15th of this month, Transport for New South Wales issued a media release in the wake of revelations that they will disclose personal information about the users of the Opal ticketing system to the police without due process.  That release did more harm to Transport for New South Wales' case that it did help.

From the release;

When customers sign up to Opal, the Privacy Policy is written in plain English to make it clear that Transport for NSW may disclose information under certain strict rules.

This is invalid. The "certain strict rules" don't matter unless they are the specific strict rules that everybody reasonably expects when it comes to police delving into our private lives; those rules are that police require a warrant.

It has been globally held for decades and decades that because police have the ability to demand our information, take our possessions or make us do things, that there needs to be a formalised process around it to make sure that it isn't abused.  That process is warrants.  If police believe they need to exercise their power, then they need to convince a process of judicial oversight that the exercising of that power is not abusive.  This isn't the best test of whether police are doing the right thing, it's the only acceptable test.  

Customers can be assured Transport for NSW may only disclose information to a law enforcement agency that is necessary for law enforcement purpose

We can not be assured of this at all, because the sole valid measure of assurance that information disclosed to police is necessary, is that police were able to secure a warrant to demand its disclosure.  In no other circumstance can we be assured.

Protecting people’s privacy is very important but...

I'm not racist but, I don't mean to be rude but, I hear what you're saying but...

if in some situations Police need this data to help solve crime and protect the public then there is a responsibility to provide it.

If in some situations Police need this data to help solve crime and protect the public then there will never be a problem in them securing a warrant.  If a police officer is doing it because they have a recreational interest in people's activities, or are stalking an ex-partner, then they will be unable to secure a warrant because they will be unable to convince a magistrate that they need a warrant.  Transport for New South Wales' responsibility is the opposite of what they've stated in the release.  It is their responsibility to not provide the information unless due process is followed.  Anything else is violation of a moral right to privacy and a reprehensible abuse of the role of custodian of personal data.