Privacy Concerns Rise About Government's New Metrolinx Station Program
Some Metrolinx stations giving access to naming rights and some Halton residents have some concerns.
The Station Naming Rights Opportunity program is giving any interested ‘parties’ a chance to name a Metrolinx station at:
- Whitby GO Station
- Pickering GO Station
- Exhibition GO Station
- Clarkson GO Station
- Oakville GO Station
Some speculate that these parties are referring to corporate sponsors, bring up concerns of a specific part of the program.
According to the document outline of the policies of the program, sponsors may be offered several things in addition to naming rights.
This may include branding areas in parking lots and on platforms, the use of retail space at stations, and access to the regional transit agency’s email, website and social media channels.
A section of the benefits called data exchange is where most people are concerned, as it reads:
- Opportunities to develop shared learning opportunities with access to an engaged customer base for research.
- Potential for customer insight and data exchange, for this partnership and more broadly to support partner objectives.
- Potential to share aggregated and anonymized GO Transit ridership data (excluding PRESTO PII data) for research collaboration and customer mapping research.
This can be interpreted in many different ways, but some regard it as a significant privacy concern.
Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh is one of the concerned parties and has released an open letter urging Privacy Commissioner Brian Beamish to step in.
Ford's plan to sell off riders' data as part of a naming-rights offer for Metrolinx trains and stations is a major privacy concern, and the NDP will fight it.— Ontario NDP (@OntarioNDP) August 1, 2019
Deputy Leader @SaraSinghMPP has asked the Privacy Commissioner to step in. https://t.co/ClRdkhiEUg #onpoli
“Ontario families don’t want their data, or their children’s data, sold off to private corporations,” said Singh in the letter.
Metrolinx is currently scheduling one-on-one meetings and site visits with interested parties. Conflict of Interest forms and Non-Disclosure Agreements will be provided in advance and will be due on the meeting day. Additional information will be shared at the meeting with parties that sign and submit the documents.
Metrolinx says the proposals will be reviewed and considered based on the different factors.
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