TransLink shared Compass Card users’ info with cops 111 times last year

Users tap their Compass and PRESTO cards to enter a vehicle, and the data is tracked by the transit agency. Global News

Civil liberties advocates are raising a red flag after an investigation by The Tyee found that TransLink often shares passenger information with police when they request it.

TransLink routinely shares data about riders who use the Compass Card payment system — including where they travel — with police, The Tyee learned through a Freedom of Information request.

Police requested information 147 times in 2016; TransLink honoured the request 111 times — for an approximately 76 per cent success rate.

WATCH: A look at the Compass Card system

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The sharing of rider information raises questions about accountability, said Micheal Vonn, policy director for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA).

“We want police to have information for their investigations but the normal course of what we do as citizens — the deal is we go to a court, we get authorization and we know it’s on the up-and-up,” she said.

READ MORE: One million Compass Cards now in use: TransLink

TransLink said information is often shared with police in emergencies.

“Information is generally requested in cases of missing persons,” Compass operations director Mark Langmead said.

“We have cases of people that are vulnerable or whose safety and security is in jeopardy and we cooperate with police agencies in locating those people.”

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