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Big Brudder

One of the changes I've experienced since coming back from Arizona is the implementation of the <a href="http://www.ezlink.com.sg/">EzLink Card</a>. It is a proximity card used for public transportation. Unlike the previous farecard system that required the commuter to insert the card into a card reader, fares are paid by tapping the EzLink card on the card reader once when boarding the bus or train, and again when alighting. That puts an end to the guesswork commuters have to do regarding the appropriate fare to pay. For others, it also means one can no longer pay the minimal fare and get away with it.
The thing that concerns me regarding the Ezlink card is the fact that in order to obtain one, an identification card number (similar to the States' Social Security Number) is needed. This means that some form of tracking can be, and most probably is, taking place. It will not be hard to obtain information on an individual's movements around the island of Singapore. Whilst I don't indulge in any criminal activity worth tracking, I find the shroud of surveillance hanging over me discomforting, to say the least.
The Ezlink Card's possible function as a tracking device is not explicitly communicated to the people who use the public transportation system here in Singapore, but one can be sure such information is invaluable, either from an incriminating standpoint or a purely economical one. Just as traffic on the Internet is up for grabs to whoever is willing to pay, the physical movement of the general public is lucrative for marketing research purposes. Demographic data is fine by me, but narrowing it down to an individual detail level…scary.
I have not gotten an EzLink Card as of yet, in part due to cautiousness, but largely due to laziness. If there are enough of you out there as paranoid as I, we could organise a great EzLink Card exchange, and screw the system.
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