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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

And the next witness is........ an Oystercard

Oystercard walletSuspicious partners use Oystercard to track infidelities

Ian sent me a link to an article in Sunday's Independent, about how people were using Oystercard to track their partner's travel movements. "Oyster cards, the 'smart' little blue thing in London commuters' wallets that enable them to travel at will around the capital, have another, unexpected function. They could also be a one-way ticket to the divorce courts."

As your every journey is recorded on an Oystercard it seems a great way to spy on your partner if you are that way inclined. "The electronic lipstick-on-the-collar is revealed to anyone - the holder or their partner - who takes the card to a machine on the Underground or keys in its serial number on a website to get a read-out of every journey taken in the past 10 weeks.

One private investigator said:
'Oyster cards won't tell you that the bloke's been cheating on his wife, but it will show if he's been in one part of town when he's supposed to be somewhere else. It is an easy thing to confront your partner with. It doesn't look like you've been snooping around too much."

Personally I think it looks like you've been snooping around a lot. But I digress, returning to the article "Divorce lawyers said they were sceptical that Oyster cards would be used in divorce proceedings, but accepted that it could lead more people to realise their relationship was over.

"Lisa Fabian Lustigman
(top name), a family lawyer at city firm Withers LLP, said: 'I would never instruct a private investigator to try to track down someone's Oyster card records to prove adultery. I don't think it would be overwhelmingly helpful.'

"But it has already happened in Hong Kong, where a similar scheme was introduced eight years ago. Suspicious husbands and wives obtained print-outs of their spouse's travel card to use as evidence in divorce proceedings."

However, it looks like your Oystercard may become even more "useful", as through the article I learnt that Oystercard planners are trying to enable Oystercard holders to pay for their shopping in nearly 4,000 shops with their cards. "The records of where a person has shopped, as well as where they have travelled, will then be stored on the card." So then you'll not only be able to see where you might be cheated on, but what your partner is buying their lover too!


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