Commuters’ privacy is being clipped – excerpt

Bay Area officials are encouraging public transit commuters to adopt the Clipper card, which is accepted by every major Bay Area transit system. The cards are convenient and easy to use, so it’s not surprising that people are adopting them enthusiastically – there are more than 1 million active cards in circulation.
But those commuters may be surprised at how much their Clipper cards know about them. If you use a Clipper card, your every move on public transit can be stored for up to seven years – even after an account is closed
This is an ongoing privacy battle with technologies ranging from Google to FasTrak. Unfortunately, the technological devices that rely on privacy invasions seem to be proliferating faster than the legal challenges against them… (more)

Privacy Advocates Raise Concerns Over Clipper Card Data

San Francisco’s Unethical Parking Policies


I have received a citation for license plate ( ). The date of the citation is confusing; either April 13, 2012 or July 19, 2012 at 1:56 P.M. Either way, I was not in San Francisco on either date. A review of my FasTrak will confirm that I did not cross the bridge from Marin to San Francisco on either date. Furthermore, on July 19 at 1:56 P.M. I was at 24 Hour Fitness in Larkspur (the computerized records show this), and then had a business meeting at Starbucks, also in Larkspur. I can provide a witness, who took the meeting with me. The citation also indicates that I drive a black Porsche. I drive a 1999 beige Jeep. The body type is UT, not SU.

I do not believe this is a mere mistake. I believe the SFMTA is trying to raise funds through illegal and unethical practices. Every time I come to San Francisco I get a ticket I do not deserve. In 2010 I was parked a couple of blocks from sea level on a street with a rise so low that it, for all practical purposes, was not a rise; yet I was given a ticket for “failing” to curb my wheels on a hill. In 2011 I was parked near AT&T Park and was given a ticket for not having a front license plate, which has nothing to do with San Francisco (it is a state issue). It is my belief that since my car is in your system, you sent this “citation” in the hopes that I would not look it over closely and, figuring it was valid, would mail you a check. Instead, I have identified this ethical lapse and hereby first dispute the ticket, but also include this ethical lapse in my blog that gets 3,000 hits per day, and bring it to the attention of Matier & Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle.

I believe this is emblematic of “big government,” which San Francisco represents. Therefore, I choose not to come to San Francisco if I can help it. I will spend my money in a friendlier environment. That is just fine; I will go see the red hot A’s instead of the slumping Giants…


Our sentiments exactly. Why feed the MTA (Money Taking Agency) when you don’t have to?

Fastrak Tips

Since I first posted my experience with a Fastrak notice, I had a few responses, but this one describes the solution really well:

“I got forced into a FasTrak lane and decided to keep going. I got a fare evasion notice via mail. They stated that if I apply for a FasTrak account they would drop the charge and take it from my FasTrak bill.”

If you get a Fastrak notice, call the number at the top of the page, (Now it is 877-229-8655), and sign up for an account, or find out what mistakes their computer is making.

Fastrak digital system is flawed

A personal story

I am not ready to embrace the “smart” parking system in San Francisco since I just got proof that the Fastrak digital scanning system is flawed.

I received a $30 fine and a DELINQUENT TOLL EVASION VIOLATION notice from Fastrak in the mail. They claim this is the second warning they mailed me though I never got another notice by mail. Fastrak notices generally arrive by email. The notice states that if I don’t pay the balance due by the 26th, the fine goes up to $75.00 and UNPAID VIOLATIONS WILL BE SENT TO THE DMV.

Let me get this straight. Fastrak claims I failed to pay in spite of the following facts.:

  1. The Fastrak system identified my car as I drove through a scanner on the Bay Bridge.
  2. The Fastrak system connected me with my Fastrak account.
  3. Fastrak has the authority to withdraw money from my account through my credit card.
  4. According to my online statement as of last night there was a $17 credit in that account.

How can they claim that I failed to pay them the $5 when they have $17 of my money? I believe they are also authorized them to take $25 out of my credit card when the balance reaches zero. For me this is proof that I cannot trust the Fastrak digital tacking system. Why should I trust the SFMTA digital scanning system?

I just looked up complaints and found 55 listed with the Better Business Bureau. Complaint number is 877-229-8655 in case you need it.


I called the complaint number 877-229-8655 and explained that I checked with my account and there is money in the account, they have access to my credit card, etc. According to them my license plate was not listed on the account, even though I see it listed when I access my account online. Their computer seems to have backtracked two years and listed the Toyota that I sold when I got my Saturn. I was able to change the car on the phone and supposedly do not have to pay the penalty. I suggest that you warn people to check their Fastrak records if they have changed cars receive a similar notice in the mail.

NOTE: Since I put this notice out, I have had a few people get back to me with similar experiences.


Fastrak Tip from a respondent : I got a fare evasion notice via mail. They stated that if I apply for FasTrak they would drop the charge and take it from my FasTrak account.